Ford recently unveiled a brand new body they will use in the Cup Series in 2024. Bob Pockrass also reported that Toyota will have a new body as well for 2024, but Chevy will stick with the same Camaro body. This raised some eyebrows, and one question is, will Chevy fall behind in 2024 without a new body?
A Look at Chevy’s Recent Performance Compared to Ford and Toyota This Season
Since NASCAR went to the current three manufacturers in 2013, Chevy, Ford, and Toyota, Chevrolet has won 6 of the 11 manufacturer’s Championships, compared to 4 for Toyota and 2 for Ford. During that time, Chevy had 5 driver’s Championships compared to three for Toyota and three for Ford.
Chevy has a handle on the Cup Series, and they have for quite some time. Their win in the Manufacturers Championship in 2023 was their third in a row along with 18 race wins compared to 10 for Toyota and 8 for Ford.
Chevrolet had a good season, but they did miss out on the Driver’s Championship despite having two drivers in the final four. It’s been a good year for Chevrolet overall, but they have not been completely dominant. The gap could be closed by a body change for Ford, but, how much would Chevrolet counteracting hurt them from a competition standpoint?
Why No New Body Could Hurt Chevrolet
The new Ford body is the first radical change to a manufacturer’s car body since the introduction of the Next-Gen car. After two years, teams and manufacturers understand how the Next-Gen car works better than they used to, so, these changes could be massive advantages from a competition standpoint.
Toyota has yet to unveil its new body, but, they could have the same advantages as well. What they have is a car that is built based on two years with the Next-Gen car. Chevrolet will not have that.
They will still have the 2022 Chevrolet body from the original Next-Gen car. What teams and manufacturers thought would work in 2022 may be outrun by what teams have found out through two years of the car. With Toyota joining Ford in adding new bodies, it also means that two different manufacturers could jump Chevy.
The gap is not that wide either as is proven by the 2023 Driver’s Championship. Every manufacturer was represented, so, while Chevy may have had a slight advantage, Ford and Toyota were not far behind. However, there is reason for Chevy to pause and not implement a new body in 2024.
What Could Give Chevrolet Pause About Trying a New Body?
First off, from a business standpoint, the timing would be strange. Pockrass noted how Chevy is determining what to do once the Camaro exits production. 2024 will be the last year of the Camaro, so Chevy might as well get one last year out of it in NASCAR before promoting a new car.
From a competition standpoint, Chevy did not have great success the last time they introduced a new car. In 2018, Chevy had their worst season in the Cup Series in years when they introduced the Camaro.
Chevy won only four races and finished third (last) in the Manufacturers Championship with no drivers in the Championship 4. The new Camaro was reworked for 2019, and it eventually won Driver’s Championships in 2020 and 2021 with a Manufacturer’s Championship in 2021 as well.
Just because Ford and Toyota have new bodies does not mean they will be fast right out of the gate. It will take time for them to get their arms around the car and what makes it work. Chevy is going to take time, and they may learn from some of the mistakes that Ford or Toyota make with new bodies.
It could go either way for Chevy. What will happen in 2024 with the new Ford and Toyota bodies?