Maybe it’s the 1980s nostalgia talking here, but we have fond—like really, really, REALLY fond—memories of brightly-colored third-gen. Camaros zipping around the race track in IROC competition.

…So when we heard that the International Race of Champions might be coming back, our heads dang-near exploded.

Yes folks, IROC racing appears to be poised for a return, thanks to NASCAR Hall of Famer (and past IROC mechanic) Ray Evernham and former NASCAR team owner Rob Kauffman. The duo have joined forces to bring the IROC series back to life. They now own the IROC brand and have announced plans on its revival—though there haven’t been many details that hint at what this “new” IROC series might look like.

What we do know is that there will be at least one race in 2024, to presumably test the rebooted IROC racing format.

Porsche RSR IROC Race Car Driven by Richard Petty
For its inaugural season in 1973-74, the IROC series used Porsche Carrera RSRs. This is Richard Petty’s car, but famed road racer Mark Donohue would be the eventual IROC points champion for 1974. (Image/Public Domain)

What is the IROC Series?

If you’ve never heard of IROC, the acronym stands for the “International Race of Champions.”

And its premise is simple: Grab the top road and oval course racers from all corners of motorsports and put them in identically-prepared cars—then, let them all loose on a race track. The competition placed driver skill above all else, and allowed racers to cross-compete with those in other classes and series.

IROC races were packed with specially-invited drivers from NASCAR, SCCA, Circle Track, Indycar, and beyond—bringing in beloved names like Andretti, Petty, and Unser along the way.

IROC racing began in the 1970s and gained popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Though IROC’s sweeping oval tracks often meant that NASCAR drivers had the edge, IROC races were entertaining (to say the least), with plenty of surprises and “upsets” over the series’ history.

Suffering from a lack of sponsors, IROC racing ceased after 2006.


While the drivers invited to compete in IROC were some of the most famous names in motorsports, the real stars of the show—in our opinion anyway—were the cars.

Unlike many top-tier racing classes (cough*NASCAR*cough) where the “Stock” cars don’t really resemble what you could find in a dealer showroom, IROC did its best to remain faithful to the silhouette of the original production model. In other words, IROC cars looked pretty darn close to the factory bodies (on the outside at least).

Better still, over the decades the series used a wide range of makes and models. We’re talking everything from Porsche 911s to Dodge Avengers here—so yeah, it was a pretty diverse mix. And best of all, a few of the OEs that supported IROC racing released special models to commemorate it.

But what made IROC racing really memorable, is that the cars were often coated in a palette of vibrant, gumball-inspired paint jobs—which made it really easy to spot your favorite driver as they tore around the race track.

1992 Dodge Daytona IROC
While the famed IROC-Z Camaros immediately spring to mind, let us not forget that there was an IROC-badged Dodge Daytona sold to the public too. (Image/Dodge)

What to Know About the New IROC Racing Series

Again, we don’t know much about the reborn IROC series at this point; no race location or date has been released.

But! The proposed 2024 demo race is allegedly going to feature cars from past IROC races—and we DO know that Ray Evernham has a massive garage crammed with former IROC race cars…

…So our fingers are crossed in hopes that he brings out his Mark Martin #12 Dodge Avenger and maybe a second- or third-gen F-body, too!

1989 chevy camaro IROC-Z
Obligatory. (Image/Summit Racing)
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