CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUP SERIES: Jim Campbell OEM Panel Transcript

JIM CAMPBELL, VICE PRESIDENT, PERFORMANCE AND MOTORSPORTS FOR GENERAL MOTORS MET WITH THE MEDIA WITH LEADERS FROM FORD AND TOYOTA TO DISCUSS A NUMBER OF TOPICS BEFORE THE START OF THE 2024 NASCAR SEASON.

Regarding the outlook for the 2024 NASCAR race season.

“We look forward to this weekend in a big way, and looking back at 2023, it was a good season but obviously there are certainly more goals that we want to accomplish in 2024.  We won fifty percent of the races across Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series, we had the manufacturer’s championships in those series as well, but we got to the Championship Race in Phoenix and didn’t bring home the championship. Obviously, the goal this year is to have good momentum this year and qualify the Chevrolet teams into the playoffs and get to Phoenix and go for a different outcome. Manufacturer and Driver Championships are always a goal and always go hand in hand. Excited about this year, excited to be in Daytona because here we have had 99 wins across all the national series. So, the next win here will be 100 and it will be a special one. All the teams are trying to get that 100th win for Chevrolet and obviously a win for themselves in either Truck, Xfinity or Cup. So, looking forward to the season and it’s great to be here.”

Regarding the future of hydrogen and hybrid technology development for street vehicles and potentially in motorsport? 

“I would just say for GM, on the propulsion side, you really have to prepare for all lanes. Internal combustion and we do have a long-time development program in hydrogen fuel cells and we are partnering with Honda on that. Obviously around the world in our portfolio we do have hybrids and PHEV, so you have to be ready for all the combinations for the production side of the business, depending on what the consumers want and also for the compliance for the countries that you compete in. And we compete all over the world. So, we are developing all of those. As far as hydrogen, we have been in development for about a decade and a half and have a good partnership with Honda on that. So we will see where that goes as far as in market applications in the showroom and we will take that on down the road for the performance application.”

Do you know whether you will replace the Camaro for next year since its going out of production and what is your timeline to decide on a new body style?

“We are not making any announcements today, but we did say that Camaro is ending production. We are selling Camaros all through this year and actually some may remain in next year as well.  And as Scott Bell, who heads up our Chevrolet dealers said, this is not the end of the Camaro story.  But we have nothing to announce today.”

Did General Motors/Cadillac find F1’s statement about your ability insulting or anything like that? And second part, you can build an engine in F1 by 2026, but can’t because of the regulations?

“Just on the last part of your question, when you register to be a power unit, there is a deadline to do that, and for us it was last June for 2028. If you wanted to develop an engine sooner, then you would have had to register the previous year for that. So, it’s simply a regulation.  

In terms of our application with Andretti (Autosport), we feel great about our application. The FIA studied it against other applicants and then gave our application a vote of confidence and approval. So obviously the FOM made their statement, and we have asked for a follow up meeting with FOM and so we will work through that. We do believe between Andretti and Cadillac that we have got the capability of fielding a competitive entry. We are not saying that it is easy, but we do between our two organizations have examples in our history of where we have been successful in other motorsports categories and that is true of Cadillac and Andretti. With that said, our joint teams are continuing to develop our car at pace. So, that is where we are at.”

You weren’t insulted at all that they didn’t think you could do it?

“As I said, we believe in the application we submitted and in that application we articulated the abilities of both Andretti as a race team, and Cadillac as a manufacturing and engineering entity. So, we feel confident in the application and are asking for a meeting with FOM.”

Can you speak about the significance of the potential of reaching 100 NASCAR national wins here at Daytona and what that means for your company?

“Yeah, I mean it is significant because across the three series we are at 99 and this is such a special venue to race at and whether you win in Truck, Xfinity or Cup, it’s a special moment. It’s a great way to start the season and to do that one of the teams could get their first win of the season and our 100th.  So it’s a special celebration and we do look for those key milestone victories as a way to rally and motivate our internal team as well as our partner teams.”

Regarding keeping the Camaro gives Chevy a competitive advantage given that Toyota and Ford have new bodies in the sport. Do you think that an advantage will even be a thing?

“Well, we will see here this weekend. Hopefully this weekend, if not this weekend, soon. The one thing that NASCAR has done in the ruleset is they keep us in a pretty tight box and keep the competition tight. Basically, in downforce and drag, they have parameters that you are required to stay within. And so our car is within that box as are the other two OEMs. It’s going to be tight. You can see out there in the Duels how tight that is going to be. The one thing that we do have because our body is the same as last year, is just continuity and momentum in development in preparation and simulation versus the time that we have had to switch to a new body, we spent a lot of time in that switchover. That is a positive, but you can see how tight it is out there and that is mainly because of the rule settings that NASCAR has on downforce and drag requirements.”

You won half the races, won the manufacturer championship, but didn’t win the driver championships. Does that make the season a yea or nay for you guys?

“You know, it’s a bit of both. You are excited about winning 18 of the 36 in the Cup Series and the Manufacturer’s Championship and what that means and what that takes. Then you are completely motivated when you leave Phoenix to prepare and go back and win the Driver’s Championship. This season, the Manufacturer and Driver’s Championship are goals that we put forth every season and every series.  We didn’t get all the way there and it motivates us more at the end of that race in Phoenix and when you go to the banquet. You see who is getting celebrated and you get motivated. That is part of the excitement of racing is to come back the next season and go for it. And that is what we are doing.”

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