EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Chevrolet revealed the 2018 COPO Camaro today at Hot Wheels headquarters in conjunction with the announcement of the 2018 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition.
The COPO Camaro features an exclusive Supercrush exterior color and a Hot Wheels appearance package that will be offered with the latest edition of Chevrolet’s factory-built drag racer. An all-new, high-revving 302 Gen V Small Block is also available.
Today’s announcement coincides with the early opening of the registration system for a chance to be chosen to purchase a 2018 COPO Camaro.
“The introduction of a new COPO Camaro is always exciting and the new engine and Hot Wheels package expand choices for customers,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Chevrolet has supported Camaro drag racers for more than 50 years and the historic COPO Camaro program continues to offer them more ways to win.”
Those interested in purchasing one of the 69 2018 COPO Camaro race cars can register at chevrolet.com/performance/copo-registration. An independent third party will randomly select purchasers from the pool of interested customers.
The new 302 racing engine is based on the LT1 engine offered in the 2018 Camaro SS, but built for drag racing with unique components. Its displacement derives from a shorter-stroke crankshaft than the production engine that enables exceptional high-rpm capability.
COPO Camaro customers can also select a naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L) or supercharged 350 (5.7L) racing engine. The supercharged 350 enables mid-8-second quarter-mile times at nearly 160 mph. All COPO Camaro engines are backed by an SFI-approved ATI TH400 three-speed automatic transmission.
As with the previous editions, 2018 COPO Camaro models are designed for NHRA’s Stock Eliminator classes. They are fitted with racing chassis and suspension components, including a unique solid rear axle system in place of a regular-production Camaro’s independent rear axle.
Driving the COPO legacy
During the 2017 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals — NHRA’s largest event — more than 25 percent of the Stock Eliminator field was composed of COPO Camaro race cars, with many claiming class wins. Stephen Bell and Brett Candies won their respective Super Stock classes, while COPO Camaro competitors Jim Boburka, Victor Cagnazzi, Jeff Taylor and Daren Poole-Adams won their respective Stock Eliminator classes.
David Barton won the Factory Showdown at the U.S. Nationals and went on to win the 2017 championship after the final race in St. Louis.
Enthusiasts can follow updates on the 2018 COPO Camaro program at TheBlock.com.
The 2018 COPO Camaro joins approximately 20 additional Chevrolet models next week at the SEMA Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Follow the action at ChevySEMA.com, #CHEVYSEMA, @ChevroletPerformance on Instagram and Chevrolet Performance on Facebook.
FAST FACT: Illinois dealer Fred Gibb initiated the ZL-1 COPO Camaro program in 1969. He ordered 50 cars with the all-aluminum ZL-1 engine and other dealers followed suit, bringing the production total to 69. Chevrolet has honored those original, special-order models by building only 69 COPO Camaro race cars each year since the program re-started in 2012.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.