Chevys have always been the most popular race car in the NHRA Sportsman classes. The Sportsman classes make up the bleeding edge of amateur drag racing. It is what started drag racing and is the least expensive way to actually participate. In 2012 Chevy began offering a COPO Camaro which is a non-licensable factory Sportsman race car. Only 69 are built each year and lucky buyers get picked in a lottery-style ordering system. But with unfilled orders for 2020 the COPO Camaro program will end. It is not only the end of the COPO program but it forecasts the end of Sportsman drag racing.
The end of the COPO program is the “canary in a coal mine.”
Why does it portend the end? Because between the COVID-19 pandemic, sky-high unemployment, and Chevy not able to find 69 COPO buyers, Sportsman drag racing won’t survive. It’s the “canary in the coal mine.” If Chevy is unable to find buyers for its COPOs it is an indicator of a larger problem.
But the good news is that if you want one you can buy one right now without the customary lottery. Just find a participating dealer and tell them you want one. Here is what Chevy says: “Now is the time to become a member of an elite club – the COPO Camaro family. This is your chance to own a piece of drag racing history. With fewer than 650 in existence, the track‑use‑only COPO Camaro is a work of art handcrafted for you by GM engineers, making it the perfect addition to your collection or racing team. Stand out in your 2020 COPO Camaro with more color options than ever before: two John Force‑inspired options, four base colors, and seven historic paint schemes honoring the original 1969 COPO Camaro. It’s time to be the center of attention.”
There are at least “a couple of handfuls” of 2020 COPO Camaro race cars left
Recently, Todd Gallant, Chevy Performance’s COPO And Promotions Manager, told Dragzine there were at least “a couple of handfuls” of 2020 COPOs. He also said that Chevy has yet to make a decision about the COPO program past 2020. With Chevy unable to find buyers for all of the 2020 COPOs and with no plans for a new Camaro past 2022, if 2020 isn’t the end we’d be surprised.
All of GM is focussed on electrification. The Camaro is selling poorly and there are no plans for Camaro past 2022. So it stands to reason the COPO Camaro program would be killed. So the unsold COPOs currently available will be the last of the program.
The 2020 COPO was introduced at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. As with all of the other COPOs it is not street legal. Part of the reason they are not is that they lack pollution control devices. The 5.0-liter V8 was discontinued and in its place is a naturally aspirated 427 ci LSX V8. The only other engine offered is a supercharged 5.0-liter LSX V8.