CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Toyota unveiled a remodeled Camry it will race next season, and the street version was the designated pace car for the Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Toyota is the first manufacturer to move to an updated version of its race car. It closely resembles the 2015 Camry consumers can purchase. Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota in 2013 all unveiled race cars that resembled the showroom vehicles.
The boldest change to the NASCAR version of the 2015 Camry is an aggressive front end and grill area, which looks exactly like its production counterpart. The new Camry also boasts an all new, sleek hood and nose, along with a new tail of the car. A distinct change in the quarter windows also adds to the sleeker look.
"Definitely the 2015 Camry race car has benefited from a cosmetic standpoint from the stance that the 2015 production Camry is perfect — the front end, the aggressive, wide-mouth look is just perfect for this race car," said Andy Graves, vice president of chassis engineering & Toyota NASCAR program manager.
"Because of that, it really makes it look another level of detail closer to the production car. As soon as we saw the photos from Toyota and (design group) Calty of what the '15 production car was going to look like, we were ecstatic because we knew it was really going to look great on the race track."
A recent ban on individual team testing means Toyota has limited to time to get the car on track before its debut at Daytona in February. The automaker has tests scheduled in the coming month for Phoenix, Fontana and Charlotte.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing currently field five combined Toyota entries. It will expand to six next season when JGR adds Carl Edwards to its lineup.