Chevrolet hit one of the all-time grand slam home runs with the first-generation Camaro Z28, a fleet-footed, free-revving banshee that ruled the SCCA’s Trans Am racing series, the drag strip and the stoplight grand prix. The Z28 included special performance suspension, quick ratio steering, front disc brakes, E70-15 white-lettered tires on 7-inch Rally wheels, a Muncie 4-speed and chambered exhaust.
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As the Camaro rolls through the final year of its fifth generation, Chevrolet asked five designers who have contributed to the sporty car’s design to reflect on the styling legacy that helped create an icon.
“While Camaro has evolved with cultural and design trends, it has consistently represented the approachable, attainable sports car with an emphasis on fun that’s evident in its styling,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. “As a result, each generation of Camaro has evoked an emotional connection with enthusiasts – connections spanning 48 years, and five generations.”
The 2015 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. While the new Camaro Z/28 is not intended to compete in a specific race series, it is solely focused on track capability. In fact, its unique exterior is designed like a race car to produce downforce that presses the car against the track for greater grip – up to 1.08 g in cornering acceleration – and faster lap times.
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Chevrolet has hit upon the novel idea of using a little known area of challenging forest draped with intermittent terror and tarmac called ‘Nurburgring’ to test the capability of its new Camaro Z/28. It posted a lap time. It was quite fast.
How fast? 7m 37.47s. In isolation, that sounds incredibly slow, considering the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 boasts a 505bhp, 470lb ft 7.0-litre V8 – the same one you’ll find in the Corvette Z06 – tinkered by Corvette Racing. All this power is marshaled through a six-speed manual gearbox to the 19in rear wheels in a torrent of sweaty-palmed fury. But then do bear in mind this ‘Nurburgring’ is around 13 miles long.
With a circuit time of 7:37 minutes on the northern loop of the Nürburgring, Zuffenhausen got a new competitor, who should by no means be lightly dismissed. On the 20.8 kilometres stretch through the Green Hell that makes up the circuit, the car is about seven seconds faster than the current Porsche 911 S and so seamlessly joins the series of successes of the legendary Z/28 models that have been making history since 1967.
Mainly responsible for the superior performance of the new Camaro Z/28 is the sumptuous seven-litre V8 heart with dry sump lubrication. Thank to titanium inlet valves, aluminium cylinder heads and new high-lift camshafts, the optimised LS7 power train straps a taut 507 HP and a mighty 637 newton metre torque on the drive shaft. A Tremec 6-speed gear shift mechanism, a K&N cold air intake air filter and an optimised body aerodynamics allow for an extremely superior performance apportioning as well as highly efficient cooling and stability during prolonged high-speed runs.
In the development of the upcoming 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, the designers scrutinized every component of the car in order to enhance its track performance. And can you believe that even the iconic Chevrolet bowtie faced audit.
During aerodynamics testing, Chevrolet engineers noticed that the bowtie on the Z/28’s grill was displacing air away from the radiator. This in turn can make an impact on the engine’s cooling. They solved the problem by cutting-off the wheel to the gold fill of the bowtie, leaving the silver outline intact; then – installed the prototype on the grill and retested to see the results.