ZL1: CHEVROLET CAMARO ENTERS THE REALM OF ADVANCED PERFORMANCE
Good morning, Camaro Comrades and Firebird Friends........
Over the past dozen years, you've heard me say "Keep the faith" in all things Camaro. Those three words simply mean "We're never done......."
Today is another proud day for you and me as Camaro enthusiasts - and a proud day for Team Camaro.
We just unveiled the new Camaro ZL1 at the Chicago Autoshow - and we want to share the good news with you.
Yes - the name may prove to be somewhat controversial - after all, the quickest way I know to get an argument going within the Camaro Enthusiast community is to bring up the subject of SS versus Z28 versus other names........and that's a good thing in that it shows the incredible passion that the Camaro brings forth from our most enthusiastic supporters.
We hope that many of you will be able to view this latest in a long, proud line of Camaros that have captured the hearts and minds of millions over the past 40+ years........it will be on display at Chicago for run-of-show. We'll let you know in the coming weeks where the ZL1 will make appearances -
Meanwhile - on behalf of the men and women of "Team Camaro" - thank you -- THANK YOU - for 'keeping the faith' - it's a proud day in Camaro history and we're glad you've come along for the ride!
LSA 6.2L supercharged engine will produce an estimated 550 horsepower (410 kW) and
is matched with a six-speed manual transmission with a dual-disc clutch system
Packed with performance technologies, highlighted by Magnetic Ride Control, and
advanced materials – including a vented carbon fiber hood insert. Extensive
aerodynamic development designed for high-performance driving
Development ongoing, targeting launch at the beginning of 2012
– The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 debuted today at the Chicago Auto Show. It is
the highest-performing Camaro and the most technically advanced car ever developed in its
class. The new ZL1 continues the momentum of Camaro, propelling it into an entirely new realm
of leading-edge performance technology. It is planned to launch at the beginning of 2012.
Motivated by a supercharged V-8 engine producing an estimated 550 horsepower (410 kW), the
Camaro ZL1 will be the fastest Camaro ever offered by Chevrolet. And more than just power,
the ZL1 features technologically advanced and highly developed chassis and suspension
systems that help it deliver balanced, track-ready handling and braking power to complement its
high engine output. Rigorous development of the ZL1 is ongoing, and official estimates of the
car’s capabilities will be released later in 2011, as testing nears completion.
“Camaro ZL1 is about high-tech performance and design, and is a type of car no one has ever
brought to this segment previously,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing.
“It’s the most technically advanced Camaro ever, so we’ve chosen a name from the most elite
and exclusive Camaro in history.”
The ZL1 name is derived from the all-aluminum racing engine of the same name, which was
developed in the late 1960s and installed into a handful of regular-production 1969 Camaros.
Only 69 were built with the engine, but they’ve achieved mythical status among enthusiasts, as
they represented the pinnacle in Camaro performance – until now. The 2012 ZL1 model is
designed to be a major leap forward for the Camaro, bringing a new level of performance
capability to the segment.
The central goal of the car’s development was creating something new – a Camaro intended to
reach optimal lap times on top road-racing circuits and excellent driving dynamics on the street.
To achieve that goal, engineers evolved many of the existing Camaro’s systems, as well as
incorporated new technologies such as electric power steering and Magnetic Ride Control, the
world’s fastest-reacting suspension system.
Camaro ZL1’s design communicates and supports its performance mission. Rather than using
decorative elements, ZL1 is visually differentiated from other current Camaro models with
elements vital to the car’s elevated capabilities.
“Everything about the ZL1’s design is directly related to its technology and serious performance,
especially aerodynamics,” said Ed Welburn, vice president, Global Design. “Our designers’ goal
was to execute that function-oriented design with beautifully sculpted forms, creating an
imposing, powerful persona. Function becomes the aesthetic. The intent is a car that delivers on
the attitude it projects.”
Major elements of the ZL1’s design are a new front fascia and hood with air extractors,
designed in tandem to create aerodynamic downforce to aid handling. The car’s hood includes a
signature center section constructed of carbon fiber and rendered in satin black finish. New
rocker panels, wide tires, 20-inch wheels and exhaust tips portray the car’s handling and power.
The ZL1 badge appears on the grille, hood and the brake calipers, all key areas portraying the
Supporting the dynamic track and street performance of the ZL1 is the LSA 6.2L supercharged
engine, which will produce an estimated 550 horsepower (410kW) and 550 lb.-ft. of torque (677
Nm), with specific features for the Camaro. Built on GM’s legendary all-aluminum, small-block
V-8 architecture, the LSA features an intercooled supercharger system, premium heat-resistant
aluminum-alloy cylinder heads and other details designed to ensure its exceptional performance
is delivered with smoothness and refinement. Components and design elements that contribute
to the LSA’s performance include:
Balanced, lightweight reciprocating assembly
High-strength hypereutectic pistons
Sixth-generation Eaton supercharger with four-lobe rotors
Piston oil squirters.
Because the Camaro ZL1 uses electric power steering, the engine does not incorporate a
conventional hydraulic power steering pump on its accessory drive system. This enhances
performance, because no engine power is used to turn a steering pump pulley.
Camaro ZL1 is a complete high-performance car, not just a Camaro with more power. Key
technical highlights include:
– The high-performance Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual is matched with the
LSA engine. It is the “MG9” version of the transmission, with a higher torque capacity. It is used
with a dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch for easy operation and shift smoothness. A new,
shorter-throw shifter actuates the gear changes.
– ZL1 is equipped with a dual-mode exhaust system, which alters the sound level and
character in response to engine rpm. First used on the legendary Corvette, and specifically
tuned for Camaro ZL1, the dual-mode exhaust will give the car a signature sound.
Drivetrain – It is revised with a stronger driveshaft and rear axle system, featuring a larger and
stronger cast iron differential housing, stronger axles and heavy-duty limited-slip differential.
This patent-pending system is designed to ensure that ZL1’s tremendous power is delivered
smoothly to the ground.
– The suspension features completely revised tuning and the inclusion of
segment-exclusive Magnetic Ride Control. ZL1’s Magnetic Ride system will include driver
selectable modes (Tour and Sport) tailored for the preferred style of driving. It uses advanced
magneto-rheological science to produce shock damping with the highest level of precision,
enabling body control optimized for excellent performance in everyday driving as well as track
situations. This technology appears on only a small roster of some of the world’s finest
performance cars. Other chassis elements are redesigned to support the car’s highperformance
limits. Rear stabilizer bars have drop links repositioned outboard of the control
arms. This makes the bars more effective in controlling body roll in turns, with crisp response to
Brakes and Steering
– Camaro ZL1 features an advanced track-capable braking system,
developed in conjunction with experts from Brembo. The large 14.6-inch (370 mm) two-piece
front rotors have six-piston calipers; the 14.4-inch (365 mm) rear rotors have four-piston
calipers. ZL1 marks the entry of a new electric power steering system to Camaro. It is being
developed to ensure precise control and feedback to the driver, with greater variability of effort
for high-performance driving.
– ZL1’s signature from the front is the redesigned fascia and aluminum hood with a
raised, carbon fiber insert. The fascia includes a front splitter and new vertical fog lamps. The
fog lamp area includes air intakes designed for brake cooling. The hood features front-mounted
air extractors that direct air precisely over the car. Visually, this center section, in satin black
carbon fiber, communicates the car’s high-performance intent as a visual contrast to the car’s
exterior color. Functionally, the air extractor is a key in connecting airflow closely to the
bodywork, creating aerodynamic downforce. The carbon fiber center section reduces the mass
of the hood. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and fog lamps are standard. The rear of
the car includes a diffuser and spoiler, also functional elements that enhance the car’s
Wheels and Tires
– New-design, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, which are lighter than the
20-inch wheels used on the Camaro SS, are used with new Goodyear Supercar F2 ties
developed specifically for the ZL1.
– ZL1 is tailored for high-performance driving. The front seats feature microfiber suede
inserts. Other enhancements include a redesigned steering wheel, alloy pedals, Head-Up
Display with unique performance readouts and the “four-pack” auxiliary gauge system featuring
a boost readout.
All of the Camaro exterior colors will be offered with the ZL1, but black is the only interior color.
The unique exterior features are complemented with a black center section on the hood. Inside,
the Camaro ZL1 has heated leather seats with microfiber inserts and ZL1 logos embroidered on
the front headrests. Microfiber suede is repeated as an accent on the instrument panel, adding
a richer look to the interior. The ZL1 will include the same content as the current 2SS package
and include the following new or unique features:
Six-way power driver and passenger seats
Unique instrument panel and door panel inserts; and ZL1-logo sill plates
Steering wheel audio controls with Bluetooth capability
Wireless PDIM and USB-port
Boston Acoustics premium audio system
Rear parking assist
Rear camera system (displayed in the inside rearview mirror).
Engineers have already driven Camaro ZL1 prototypes extensively at demanding road courses
in the U.S. and Germany, with final testing being completed through the balance of 2011.
CHICAGO – The all-new, 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is powered by the LSA 6.2L
supercharged V-8 engine that produces an estimated 550 horsepower (410 kW) and 550 lb.-ft.
of torque (745 Nm).
The LSA is the most powerful engine ever offered in a Camaro, eclipsing even the original ZL1
engine from 1969 that inspired the name of the new, maximum-performance model. Built on
GM’s legendary small-block V-8 architecture, it features an intercooled supercharger system,
premium heat-resistant aluminum cylinder heads and other details designed to ensure its
exceptional performance is delivered with smoothness and refinement.
“The LSA is the ultimate engine for the ultimate Camaro,” said John Rydzewski, assistant chief
engineer for small-block engines. “It has a broad power band that matches the Camaro ZL1’s
performance capabilities at every notch on the tachometer.”
Components and design elements that contribute to the LSA’s performance include:
Balanced, lightweight reciprocating assembly
High-strength hypereutectic pistons
Sixth-generation Eaton supercharger with four-lobe rotors
Center-feed fuel system
Piston oil squirters.
A Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission is matched with the LSA. It uses a 240-mm
dual-mass flywheel matched with a 240-mm twin-disc clutch system to provide excellent shift
Compared to the Cadillac application, the LSA used in the Camaro features the following unique
components and details:
Black intercooler housing with unique heat exchanger and plumbing to accommodate
the Camaro engine compartment
Cast stainless steel exhaust manifolds for enhanced thermal management
Camaro-specific oil pan
Revised accessory drive with unique alternator and air conditioning compressor
Idler pulley in place of the conventional power steering pump pulley, because of the use
of electric power steering
Special engine cover in red.
Supercharged power delivery
The LSA engine’s sixth-generation Eaton supercharger, with high-helix, four-lobe rotors,
enables a broad range of power through the rpm band, giving the engine great low-end torque
and excellent horsepower at higher rpm.
“The design of the supercharger’s rotating internal components extends its effective range,
giving the engine a wide, flat power band that is usable at all rpm levels,” said Rydzewski,
assistant chief engineer. “Whether at low speeds or on the highway, the feeling of power is
instant, strong and sustained.”
Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components support the engine’s high-rpm,
supercharged performance. The parts are housed in an aluminum cylinder block that features
nodular iron, six-bolt main caps. Cast iron cylinder liners – measuring 4.06 inches (103.25 mm)
in bore diameter – are inserted in the aluminum block and they are finish-bored and honed with
a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances
applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy
that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.
Nestled inside the LSA’s deep-skirted cylinder block is a forged steel crankshaft that delivers a
3.62-inch (92 mm) stroke. It features an eight-bolt flange – the outer face of the crankshaft on
which the flywheel is mounted – that provides enhanced clamping strength. Other nonsupercharged
GM 6.2L engines have a six-bolt flange. A torsional damper mounted to the front
of the crankshaft features a keyway and friction washer, which is designed to support the
engine’s high loads.
Connected to the crankshaft is a set of lightweight powder-metal connecting rods and
hypereutectic pistons, which, when combined with the cylinder heads, delivers a 9.1:1
compression ratio. The alloy of the pistons was selected for its strength and heat resistance
properties, while the cast design provides inherent quieting advantages over other piston
materials, such as forged aluminum.
High-flow cylinder heads based on GM’s proven L92 design channel incoming air into the
combustion chambers. They are made with a premium A356T6 alloy that offers excellent heat
resistance, particularly in the bridge area of the cylinder head, between the intake and exhaust
valves. Additionally, each head is manufactured with a roto-casting method.
Also known as spin casting, the roto-casting process involves pouring the molten alloy into a
rotating mold, for a more even distribution of the material that virtually eliminates porosity – air
bubbles or pockets trapped in the casting – for a stronger finished product.
For optimal combustion, the cylinder heads feature swirl-inducing wings cast into the intake
ports, improving the mixture motion of the pressurized air/fuel charge. The gatekeepers of the
heads’ combustion chambers are large-diameter, 2.16-inch (55 mm) intake valves and 1.59-inch
(40.4 mm) exhaust valves. The intake valves are made of steel and feature thick heads. Unique,
four-layer steel head gaskets are used between the heads and cylinder block.
The LSA’s valves are actuated by a hydraulic roller-type camshaft that delivers a relatively low
0.480-inch (12.2 mm) lift on both the intake and exhaust sides. The low lift – relative to the
engine’s high horsepower and torque – and low overlap foster a smoother idle and excellent
low-rpm driving characteristics. The wider efficiency band of the Eaton supercharger enabled
the use of the low-lift cam to achieve the engine’s performance targets.
The LSA’s supercharger is the sixth-generation design from Eaton and displaces 1.9 liters. It
features a four-lobe rotor design that promotes quieter and more efficient performance, while its
large displacement ensures adequate air volume at high rpm. Maximum boost is 9.0 psi (0.62
The supercharger is an engine-driven air pump that contains a pair of long rotors that are
twisted somewhat like pretzel sticks. As they spin, the lobes mesh and incoming air is squeezed
between the rotors and pushed under pressure into the engine – forcing more air into the engine
that it could draw under natural aspiration. The rotors are driven by a dedicated pulley and
eight-rib belt that are connected to a third track on the engine’s crankshaft damper.
Because the pressurized air is hotter than naturally aspirated air, the LSA employs a liquid-to-air
charge cooling system to reduce inlet air temperature after it exits the supercharger – reducing
the inlet air temperature by up to 70 degrees C (158 degrees F). Cooler air is denser and allows
the engine to make the most of its high-pressure air charge.
The charge cooler’s heat exchanger is located atop the supercharger. This “brick,” as it is called
by engineers, looks like a small radiator and is housed under an aluminum cover. Pressurized
air from the supercharger passes through the exchanger and is cooled on its way to the cylinder
heads. The charge cooling system includes a dedicated coolant circuit with a remote-mounted
pump and reservoir. Ribs cast into the top of the intercooler housing add strength and promote
Quiet fuel system and more
The LSA uses a center-feed fuel system that contributes to the engine’s performance and
refinement. It introduces fuel at the midpoint of each cylinder bank’s fuel rail, which ensures
more even fuel delivery to all the injectors. It also isolates fuel system noise for quieter
Several other features support the LSA’s balance of refinement and power, including:
An oil pan-mounted oil cooler to manage engine oil temperature
Block-mounted piston squirters to cool the pistons
Direct-mounted ignition coils (located on the rocker covers)
A large, 87mm electronically controlled throttle body.
The engine also has unique, cast stainless exhaust manifolds that support the airflow capability
of the 550-horsepower (410 kW) engine.