May 2016 – Indianapolis, IN: Chevrolet and 16-time NHRA champion John Force, along with his drag racing daughters Courtney and Brittany introduced the all-new 2016 Camaro SS Funny Car.
The new Funny Car body is the first based on the sixth-generation Camaro SS. Force’s teammates Courtney Force and Robert Hight will introduce new Camaro SS Funny Cars later this season.
The team conducted computational analysis and scale-model wind tunnel testing to help give the new body the airflow management qualities necessary to deliver the downforce required for the 10,000-horsepower supercharged race car, as it accelerates from 0 to 330 mph in less than 4 seconds – and in only 1,000 feet.
Among the unique aerodynamic elements is a new, integrated front splitter, which helps direct more air over the body to increase downforce. The design also incorporates new, dual blow-out – or “burst” – panels, safety devices that relieve underbody pressure to help keep the body on the chassis in the event of an engine failure.
Additionally, the new body, which is lighter than John Force Racing’s previous Camaro Funny Car bodies, carries the distinctive styling signatures of the 2016 Camaro SS’s front- and rear-end designs. Camaro’s legacy in drag racing dates back to its 1967 introduction, when longtime Chevy racers such as Dave Strickler and Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, pushed the new pony car up through the Super Stock ranks. Jenkins would go on to pioneer the new Pro Stock class, giving the Camaro its first win there in 1970.
Enterprising racers and dealers used Chevrolet’s “COPO” special order system to create high-performance Camaro models intended for one thing only: winning on the drag strip. That included the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL-1, powered by an all-aluminum 427 originally developed for the Can-Am road-racing series.
Camaro Funny Cars also began appearing on strips shortly after its introduction, shaking up the burgeoning class with Chevy power. Bruce Larson and Dick Harrell were leaders, pushing their blown fuel “floppers” into the 7-second range. Texan Lee Shephard would lead Camaro into the 1980s, with four consecutive Pro Stock titles – performance enabled by the groundbreaking Big Block engines developed by his partners David Reher and Buddy Morrison.
More recently, Camaro has become a fixture of the Pro and Sportsman ranks. Behind the Pro tree, John Force Racing has returned Camaro to the Funny Car class, while Camaro drivers have dominated the Pro Stock field – including two consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015.