Originally Posted by Doc
An impressive club to belong in, no question. For this particular car though, it's more than horsepower, torque and vehicle weight. Enough can't be said for what a suspension is able to do with regards to tracking road changes and keeping the tires solidly planted. All the power in the world won't help you if the suspension can't control the wheels. The ZL1 proved how important suspension really is by allowing that car even with its excessive weight, to turn in an amazingly quick time around the Ring.
The Z/28 is at least 300 lbs lighter than the ZL1, it has a new type of shock absorber technology compared to any previous Camaro or Corvette, and it has 11" wide wheels on all corners with a 60 treadwear tire straight from the Pirelli Formula 1 labs. There's custom technology debuting here that hasn't been done on any GM production car yet. Mark Stielow is the kind of guy who can jump into a production car and set a new track record. He's developing this car. All of that is a pretty potent combination.
Even if the power, torque and vehicle weight is comparable to other cars in the category, he's tuning up a superb suspension setup customizing it for these 11" wide sticky tires. This isn't the same as you buying an SS and slapping wide tires on it. This is a GM engineer with the full weight of GM's resources behind him who can get approval for things like thinner custom rear windows, lighter rear seats made out of different material than normal, etc. There's no telling what he's doing with the suspension besides the shocks and tires.
My faith is in Stielow and a killer suspension that can keep wide sticky tires planted even over rough road changes. This is exactly the right combination for popping off a surprise time at the Ring. I have no doubt they'll be in the 7:20's...it's my hope they'll manage a 7:19 but even if they can't, to have a Camaro that can run in the 7:20's on the Ring that you can buy at a Chevy dealer is astounding.
I think we'll both be thrilled if you're right on this one. For now, we're just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, in the sense that we really won't have a better idea until more specs are released.
I agree that the tires, Multimatic shocks, and Carbon Fiber brakes will make the car a Ring-meister -- and that's before we figure the engine into the mix. I've spent roughly 900 miles lapping the Nordschleife, after visiting the track for two summer pilgrimages in a row. I can't pretend to be an expert, as the track is one incredibly difficult mofo to learn. However, the cars I drove there were similar enough to the Z/28 to offer an insight into what works there. Not particularly light cars, in the 3,600 to 4,000 pound range, with big V8 engines, fairly sophisticated suspensions, killer brakes, and excellent tires.
IMHO the tires are critical -- I wore out a set of Dunlop DOT competition tires (60 wear-rating) on my first trip to the Nordschleife, last summer. The custom shocks on that track will be very important to the car's performance -- I can't overstate just how rough the track is, and how brutal some of the transitions can be. If they nail the tuning on the Multimatic shocks, that will give the car a big advantage. However, I actually think the brakes may be the final piece of the puzzle, and may be what pushes this car over the threshold. Not just the stopping power -- though I agree that being able to go lap after lap without brake fade is important. The unsprung weight reduction -- combined with the smaller and lighter wheel/tire package AND the superb control of unsprung mass offered by the Z/28 suspension -- will make the Z/28 lap the Ring as though it's glued to the road.
The Z/28 is exactly what I was looking for. Something you can lap all day, without having to worry about a spike in temperatures or running out of brakes. Other than the fact that I'm guessing you may only get 4-5 track days -- at a track like Laguna Seca -- before the shine goes off the tires, I think this car is going to be a track-day monster. I can't wait -- though I'm anxious about pricing.
Originally I thought I might have Pfadt take a look at the suspension, and get the car to Katech for a little more kick. After reading more details on the car, I think all Pfadt could do would be around anti-roll bars, bushings, etc. -- and though a little more power might be fun, I am waiting to hear where the final specs end up.
Cars like this and the C7 have restored my faith in GM's ability to conceptualize, engineer, and build a product that dyed-in-the-wool car guys would kill for. If you'd told me, five years back, that GM would be building this car in 2014, I would have laughed my ass off. And now it's close enough to reality that I can almost taste it.
Worse than crack, this hobby...