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Chevy Hopes New Facility Will Bring Speed

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, February 15 2020

Chevrolet is building a technology center in North Carolina. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – During Richard Petty’s illustrious career, the seven-time NASCAR champion won in cars produced by three different manufacturers, but he said Saturday that Chevrolet’s current program was probably the best overall.

The 82-year-old team owner cites the new technology center General Motors is building in Concord, N.C., as one of the key reasons. 

The 75,000-square-foot facility will be located less than 10 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway off Interstate 85. It will focus on transferring knowledge and resources from the racing programs to core vehicle engineering. The goal for the Charlotte Technical Center is to eventually house future technology and engineering development capabilities. Initially, it will feature Driver-in-the-Loop simulators, vehicle simulation, aero development and other practices designed to advance racing and production capabilities. The facility is expected to open by mid-2020. 

Ford and Toyota already have technology centers for their racing programs in the Concord area. 

“Right now they’re working out of a bunch of different places,” Petty said about Chevrolet. “All the engineering will be done in one place (with the new building). It will be close to all the racers and stuff.

            “I think they’re totally, totally committed to racing. We want to be right along in there with somebody that’s as dedicated to racing as we are.”

Petty believes Chevrolet “missed the ball” last year. 

This year they corrected a lot of these mistakes,” Petty said. “We hope they corrected it enough that we’re going to be competitive everywhere we go.  I think from that standpoint, Chevrolet and all the Chevrolet people are really looking forward to making up for what we did last year.”

Chevrolet entered the Daytona 500 weekend with 786 victories since 1949, more than any other manufacturer. The Chevrolet NASCAR Cup owners attending Saturday’s press conference at Daytona International Speedway represented more than 47 percent of those victories.

This year Chevrolet introduced a new Camaro in the Cup Series, which will be replaced next year by NASCAR’S next generation car currently under development. A new engine also has been developed. Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports for Chevrolet, said introducing all of those items within a 24-month period wasn’t difficult. 

In the auto business, that’s what we do,” Campbell said. “Chevy has 18 vehicles that we sell in our showroom, and we’re constantly doing more than one thing at a time. The team has done a really good job for preparing for both the new 2020 entry, working on the next gen. The engine work was already done. Right now we’re in implementation phase.”

Unlike Ford and Toyota which each has one engine supplier in NASCAR, Chevrolet has two – Hendrick Motorsports and ECR Engines – and interestingly, they work together. 

We work together to develop a part with GM,” Rick Hendrick explained. “We’re not up in Charlotte doing one and he’s (Richard Childress) doing something else.  Our teams work together to come up with a product.  We might assemble it in different areas, but we work together with GM to come up with components.”

Childress notes that if there is an engine issue, “we share it together and we work together to fix it right away.”

“That’s one of the key things that we have going for us,” Childress said. 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, February 15 2020
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