John Force to debut state of the art Camaro Funny Car this weekend at Topeka

(Photo: Chevy Racing)
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John Force has a brand new body.

No, he hasn’t morphed into the $6 Million Dollar Man, nor has the 67-year-old been working out more than usual.

Rather, Force will have a brand new body on his Funny Car for this weekend’s NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas.

Force will debut a high tech, state of the art 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car at Topeka, it was announced Tuesday morning at a press conference in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Chevrolet and 16-time NHRA champion John Force unveil the all-new 2016 Camaro SS Funny Car Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Brownsburg, Indiana. The new Funny Car body is the first based on the sixth-generation Camaro SS. Force will race the new Funny Car this weekend at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kansas. Force’s teammates Courtney Force and Robert Hight will introduce new Camaro SS Funny Cars later this season. (Photo by Eric Meyer for Chevy Racing)
Here’s the new Chevrolet Camaro body that John Force unveiled Tuesday.

What makes this new body – which is the first based upon the sixth-generation Camaro SS – so special is it is aero-optimized for greater downforce and stability.

The record-holding 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion will be the first driver on his team to have the new body. Daughter and teammate Courtney Force and son-in-law and John Force Racing president Robert Hight will also have similar bodies, but those won’t debut until later this season.

“I started my career in a Chevrolet and I couldn’t be more excited to put this new Camaro SS Funny Car on the track,” John Force said in a media release. “With all the assistance from Chevrolet, it not only looks great, it’s designed to perform better than anything we’ve had before, with a shape that should help us get down the track quicker and with greater stability.”

The new body went through extensive computational analysis and wind tunnel testing to help give it significantly improved airflow.

The Funny Car body sits atop a motor and chassis capable of reaching 10,000 horsepower and to accelerate from 0 up to 330 mph in less than four seconds on a 1,000-foot dragstrip.

Borrowing a page of sorts from NASCAR, the new Camaro Funny Car body has a new front splitter designed to move air over and around it to keep the vehicle glued to the track with added downforce.

It also has two new “burst” (also known as “blow-out”) panels that “relieve underbody pressure to help keep the body on the chassis in the event of an engine failure/explosion.

“The 2016 Camaro has been a great success in the showroom and Chevrolet is proud to contribute to its debut in NHRA’s Funny Car class,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “It joins the 2016 COPO Camaro in the Sportsman classes, strengthening Chevrolet’s presence in drag racing, which dates back nearly 60 years.”

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.