It was more than fitting that the new 2014 Chevrolet SS got its first major outing at Daytona recently. The production model of the company’s latest muscle car may only have been on the infield this time but the first real-wheel drive performance sedan to be released by the company since 1996 is as exciting for some people as the high-octane racing on the oval, where the Nascar Sprint Cup version was making its debut.

Indeed, it was some debut for the Chevy SS - after the new production model paced the racecars at the start, Jimmie Johnson followed up by bringing his Nascar Super Sport over the line for victory in the main event.

The Chevy SS package, first introduced back in 1961, has been an option on several models over the years, including on the Chevrolet Impala. From there, it spread to models including the Camaro and Chevelle but now it has its own mark, which is markedly similar to its Nascar cousin. Indeed, this 2013 Nascar series gives manufacturers a greater opportunity to differentiate their vehicles from each other so this is a great time for the company to launch the SS, align it with the Nascar version and instantly boost its profile, particularly among race fans.

First of all, it’s rear-wheel drive, the like of which has not been seen since the Impala SS ended production in 1996. A proper, full-size retro muscle car, it’s what fans have wanted and it looks like Chevy has been listening. It’s powered by a 415hp 6-litre V8 engine borrowed from the 2013 Corvette and goes from 0 to 60mph in five seconds. Expect big brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels plus the likes of push button start, collision detection sensors, touch screen, parking sensors, a nine-speaker Bose sound system and leather seats.

The new model is widely regarded as a new version of the Pontiac G8 which General Motors killed off in leaner times and is the clearest sign yet that Chevy believes muscle is back.