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Old 03-10-2012, 04:08 AM   #1
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Question 5th-gen Camaro + road course / HPDE events?

Hey gang,

Quick background: I'm new to Camaro5, but not new to Camaros or Camaro forums (I've been a long-time member on CZ28.com, Corvette Forum, etc.). Previously had an '02 Z28 (bought new in 2002) then traded up to a C6 a couple years ago. Got into road racing / HPDE events with both the Camaro and the 'Vette.

Now, I have a baby on the way in a few weeks, and suddenly the 2-seater Z06 isn't looking so "practical" anymore! So I'm thinking a Camaro MAY be the answer ..... 4-seater and all .

A couple questions:

1) How are the new Camaros working for people on the track?? I'm not looking at getting into heavy mods or running for money ... just simple HPDE's, Time Attack (time trial) events, etc.

2) Any concerns with things getting HOT? (engine oil? tranny fluid? diff? steering?) Do they come equipped with factory power steering and/or engine oil coolers? Or is the aftermarket the only place for those items?

3) Anybody running with the 6-speed AUTO, w/tap-shift?? Any issues? Do they stand up to a little abuse? (the 4L60E in my '02 Z28 didn't take well to the road course, so I ended up swapping in a T56).

4) Wheels & tires: anybody know if base C6 wheels might fit the Camaro? (I still have a spare set from my 'Vette). 18 x 8.5" fronts, 19 x 10" rears. Offsets may be wrong?!

5) Any other "issues" or concerns that I might want to be aware of?

Appreciate any/all advice or feedback you guys may have! No decisions have been made yet, but depending, I could easily see myself back in a Camaro again. Would like to do a little bit of "homework" first though .

Thanks!

Pete
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
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Brakes are 1 of the biggest things you should look into, SS brake lines, high temp brake fluid, and some good brake pads.
Stock tires are good, not great but good, I ran about 11 track events on stock tires, replaced only my fronts last november, still have factory rears 20,000 miles on them.
I also have a set of Toyo's R888 285's that I run GREAT TIRE..

Good luck with your car, lots of info out there.
The camaro will never handle as good as a vette will, I have both.
P.S remember what works for some people may not work for you, do lots of homework
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:31 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response, Michael!

I guess tires and brakes are sort of the obvious "consumables", esp. depending on the level that I push the car to. Up 'til now, I've run various compounds from both Hawk and Carbotech on my cars, and I'm pretty confident all the same stuff is available for the Camaro? Good point about the SS lines ... they were one of the first (and only!) mods I did to the Z06 (fortunately, it's "blessed" with being a perfectly track-ready car, right out of the box). And for tires, I've run everything from daily street tires, to Toyo's/Nitto's, upto Hoosier R6's. For now, I'd likely stick with the OEM tires (until they're shot) and upgrade to something a little softer (but streetable) like Nitto NT05's, or something of that sort.

Obviously I wouldn't expect quite the same level of handling/performance as the 'Vette, but I'm sure the SS is still a fun and capable track car, with the right tires and driver?

My "goal" is to be able to attend at least the occasional track day, albeit, not nearly as frequently as I've been getting used to WITHOUT the responsibility (and time consumption!) of having kids . BUT, I don't want to have to pour a bunch of money into the car to make it "track ready", if I don't have to? Hence, I want to make sure that (left "stock") they're capable of running a few track days without risking self-destruct????? (ie: over-heating, etc.).

Any oil starvation issues with the LS3 in the Camaros? I know that has been a bit of an issue with them in the C6....... Any history of motors going "boom" with anything stickier than street tires??

Thx!
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:17 AM   #4
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Hey Pete, I've been out with you at a few Apex days at mosport.
After my first time at the DDT, I upgraded the sway bars, and lowered the car.
That improved the handling alot.
Check into Pedders. I've thrown a bunch of their bushings on the car, and now it handles awesome, and keeps up with the Z06's and Porsches. The supercharger helps too.
Stainless lines on the brakes, slotted rotors, and upgraded pads work really well.
It will be nice to see another Camaro out there.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap'n Pete View Post
Thanks for the quick response, Michael!

I guess tires and brakes are sort of the obvious "consumables", esp. depending on the level that I push the car to. Up 'til now, I've run various compounds from both Hawk and Carbotech on my cars, and I'm pretty confident all the same stuff is available for the Camaro? Good point about the SS lines ... they were one of the first (and only!) mods I did to the Z06 (fortunately, it's "blessed" with being a perfectly track-ready car, right out of the box). And for tires, I've run everything from daily street tires, to Toyo's/Nitto's, upto Hoosier R6's. For now, I'd likely stick with the OEM tires (until they're shot) and upgrade to something a little softer (but streetable) like Nitto NT05's, or something of that sort.

Obviously I wouldn't expect quite the same level of handling/performance as the 'Vette, but I'm sure the SS is still a fun and capable track car, with the right tires and driver?

My "goal" is to be able to attend at least the occasional track day, albeit, not nearly as frequently as I've been getting used to WITHOUT the responsibility (and time consumption!) of having kids . BUT, I don't want to have to pour a bunch of money into the car to make it "track ready", if I don't have to? Hence, I want to make sure that (left "stock") they're capable of running a few track days without risking self-destruct????? (ie: over-heating, etc.).

Any oil starvation issues with the LS3 in the Camaros? I know that has been a bit of an issue with them in the C6....... Any history of motors going "boom" with anything stickier than street tires??

Thx!
I think a ZL1 would be a good fit for you
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stratman2SSRS View Post
Hey Pete, I've been out with you at a few Apex days at mosport.
After my first time at the DDT, I upgraded the sway bars, and lowered the car.
That improved the handling alot.
Check into Pedders. I've thrown a bunch of their bushings on the car, and now it handles awesome, and keeps up with the Z06's and Porsches. The supercharger helps too.
Stainless lines on the brakes, slotted rotors, and upgraded pads work really well.
It will be nice to see another Camaro out there.
Hey,

Not sure if we got introduced or not?? Were you there with your Camaro when I was there? I've only seen a couple of them up there so far.

Well, depending how things go with the "new arrival" in the spring, hopefully I can still get out to the track a couple times this summer ... here's to hoping!
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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I think a ZL1 would be a good fit for you
No kidding! The car looks amazing, and would ABSOLUTELY fit the bill ..... but at the moment, looks like my wife and I will be doing a complete vehicle rotation, getting rid of the Z06 and my truck, AND her car, and getting a pair of new vehicles to better suit the "family needs". Money-wise, a ZL1 just isn't in the cards at the moment :( (although I would love to get one!! ..... one day, maybe! ).

I'm definitely curious how well the 6-speed auto stands up to a little track abuse, since I may be talked into getting an auto instead of manual, so the wife can drive the car if necessary . I know the old 4L60E was NOT up to the task, but I believe the newer 6-speed (6L80E?) is a beefier unit?
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cap'n Pete View Post
Hey,

Not sure if we got introduced or not?? Were you there with your Camaro when I was there? I've only seen a couple of them up there so far.

Well, depending how things go with the "new arrival" in the spring, hopefully I can still get out to the track a couple times this summer ... here's to hoping!
Congratulations on the new baby.
The ultimate sacrifice, getting rid of a Z06 so the new arrival can sit in the back seat.
The Camaro is a great choice for a new dad!!

We did talk at the track, I remember your liscence plate Cap'n Pete.

I had the silver camaro with black stripes. Either I had problems with a rear axle seal that day, or you had a problem with your car?? I can't remember?
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:10 PM   #9
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Considering you're just starting out with a C5 Camaro; I'd say get a ZL1, otherwise you'll break the bank upgrading the SS for the track for cooling, brakes, more power (it needs more than 400hp. for 4k/lbs.), strength (diff., axles, tranny), suspension (springs / coilovers, sways, end-links, bushings, et al), wheels, tires, clutch (stock sucks), ..... the list goes on and on.
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:37 PM   #10
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Considering you're just starting out with a C5 Camaro; I'd say get a ZL1, otherwise you'll break the bank upgrading the SS for the track for cooling, brakes, more power (it needs more than 400hp. for 4k/lbs.), strength (diff., axles, tranny), suspension (springs / coilovers, sways, end-links, bushings, et al), wheels, tires, clutch (stock sucks), ..... the list goes on and on.
Have you even run your car on a track??
All he needs is bigger sway bars to get started. You don't have to break the bank to have fun.
He's having a new baby, and said a ZL1 is out of the price range.
Any camaro is better than no camaro.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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Considering you're just starting out with a C5 Camaro; I'd say get a ZL1, otherwise you'll break the bank upgrading the SS for the track
What I've learned, it doesn't matter WHAT car you get, it's easy to start throwing money at them regardless ..... even my Z06 could use a couple track-oriented bits and pieces to make it "perfect"!!

As for the things you pointed out, I can immediately rule out a couple of them as non-issue:

- more power (it needs more than 400hp. for 4k/lbs.)
- suspension (springs / coilovers, sways, end-links, bushings, et al)
- wheels, tires
- brakes

The way I see it, power is what it is, and more isn't always better. As it stands, I am NOT using all 505HP of the Z06!! I've been at this for a few years, so I'm beyond the "novice" stage, but realistically, ~400 HP is probably a perfectly safe (and useable!) power level for me.

Suspension is not important to me at the moment. If you could see how I drive my Avalanche, you'd understand, ANYTHING with less body roll than that is just fine! Even my '02 Z28 was still "fun" to run, before I got into modding the suspension (basically, had a full Strano setup in it).

Wheels/tires are just part of going to the track, and not specific to a higher or lower end car.

Brakes will be consumed on ANY car that is taken to the track, so again, non-issue.

The couple things I AM concerned about, and would like to hear as much real reports of that I can, are the other things you mentioned:

- strength (diff., axles, tranny) - are they not any stronger than a 4th-gen Camaro, with the p.o.s. 7-1/2" 10-bolt? Are the trannsmissions equally as prone to puking under moderate abuse?

- cooling - specifically, what? Brakes? Engine? Steering? What coolers does the factory already have in place, and do they not work well enough for maybe ~2 or 3 lapping days a year??

Last edited by Cap'n Pete; 03-10-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:33 PM   #12
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We did talk at the track, I remember your liscence plate Cap'n Pete. I had the silver camaro with black stripes.
Yeah, I just had a closer look at your avatar picture ... I do recognize the car, and more specifically, the wheels! It's been quite a few months since, and my brain has been spinning lately, trying to pull together a major kitchen reno, just in time to get prepared for the baby on the way!! My wife has been complaining about feeling spaced out lately, and I think I'm right there with her! lol (oh yeah, I'm sure we'll be great parents though!! )

Anyway ............

... do you think the axle seal issue was just a random problem, or do you think it's something that may be a recurring track-related issue?

Again, just trying to get a handle on what to expect. Even with the 'Vette, I thought I did "most" of my homework going into it, but then found out that there were things I hadn't considered fully .

I'm also not expecting to hit the track as often as I used to (typically try to hit about ~10 track days a year if I can), so I'm thinking for maybe a couple "easy lapping days" (if I could ever really learn how to take it "easy" out there ) the Camaro would survive without having to invest too much time/money/mods. ......................... down the road is a different story .
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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The axle seal was due to an issue with some aftermarket axles that I installed. Nothing to do with the stock ones, which work great at mosport.
Nothing on the stock car will break at mosport.
What group were you driving in? I was either advanced or intermediate depending on how many guys were there.
Here's a picture of the car stock before sway bars, and mods.
It was leaning over alot more than the Z06.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:21 PM   #14
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I don't want to sound like this guy (
) but usually I run in the advanced group .

Good to know that there's no issue with the stock axles/seals .......... so it begs the question, what did you "upgrade" for anyway?!
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:33 PM   #15
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Cooling was ok during autocross but temps start to rise a bit after hot lapping a lot. You'll want to take the 2 plastic covers off the engine as they hold in heat. Hot wiring the engine fan on a switch might be beneficial as well so you can keep it on inbetween rounds if you desire. Luckily oshawa isn't super hot compared to some places which will help some. I keep my hood popped inbetween sessions as I keep it close to redline the whole time and it starts going up 5 degrees per lap. Eventually a tune to alter the fan points would help if I don't hard wire the fan as well.

Brakes would probably be the next hottest and pad selection will be critical. A lot of people are putting CTSV pads/rotors up front with excellent results. Eventually I'll be going that route as well as I plan on doing as much autocross as possible this year. The pads fade first depending on what you get, stock rotors seem pretty stout.

The tranny/axles/rear handle well on road courses but axles/diff tend to get killed during drag racing due to wheel hop at launch on the stock suspension. Primarily with the M6 though. With an auto you may want to upgrade the cooler especially if you ever get a converter. Power steering and rear seem to be ok although extreme rpm and steering angles will kill the PS pump if you're into drifting or crazy burnouts. There's 2 companies that have come out with replacements with a ball bearing shaft that resolve this issue.

Cradles bushes, trailing arms, toe rods, radius rod bushes, and sways would be my minimum recommendations for suspension.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #16
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That video was funny.
The axles are a weak point when drag racing, and I don't want to ride in a tow truck home from cayuga.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:40 AM   #17
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Synner, great feedback - thanks .

Stratman, I hear you on not wanting to be towed home from Cayuga ... it's a long haul back. We "proactively" took my Dad's '73 Camaro there on a trailer once ... good call ... blew the driveshaft right at the line!! Also had a buddy blow a CV joint in his Honda (serves him right for drag racing a FWD!!! ) ... he had to go home via CAA.

Anyway, good to hear that the Camaro doesn't seem to be too fussy, at least for awhile.

My '02 Z28, aside from blowing the diff a couple times, was dead-nuts reliable otherwise. Never a heating/cooling issue, and I pounded it for ~8 years/135kms (~84k miles). The only thing I ever upgraded in that car was the suspension and brake pads, but everything else was factory stock! Oh, except the transmission ... that was swapped from A4 --> M6, after only my 2nd day on the road course! (2nd gear died ... funny, it was mostly a 2nd gear track!).

My ultimate preference is still to have a manual, but if I go from having two vehicles down to only one, then that could pose a problem if my wife and I ever traded vehicles for some reason, so that's the only reason I'm "considering" the 6-speed auto at this point. I suppose a huge external cooler might help, if that's the route I go??
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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What colour are you going to get?
Check this thread for an onboard view...
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176979
I forget how to post up video.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:51 AM   #19
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To be honest, I really like the looks of the silver w/black stripes that you have .

My '02 was black w/silver stripes, which I loved, and would do again, but after ~8 years with a black car, I got tired of it always looking dirty, vs. my wife's silver car gets bathed ~once or twice a year, and never really looks dirty! So I'm thinking that silver w/black stripes would be good.

HOWEVER, I'm also a big fan of cyber grey metallic, and probably leaning that way ... with stripes of course . Then the question is just whether to go with silver stripes, or black (more subtle) stripes!

Still to-be-determined!!! I'm being told I should just hold off for now, until the baby actually arrives, and THEN decide what to do with the car(s). So I don't think anything will happen within the next ~month ... probably wait 'til ~June or July, although NOW would be the time to try and sell the Z06 (... just pulled it out yesterday, since the weather looks like it's going to stay nice from here on out ).

Can't check out the videos at the moment (work server blocking them ). Will check them out tonight .

For fun, here are a couple pics of my old '02 Z28, and my current Z06.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:13 PM   #20
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This will be my 3rd season in my 2010 Camaro. I am an advanced driver through NASA, and we are almost done prepping my car for One Lap of America.

Brakes - I've had the best results with Carbotech xp10 (front) and xp8 (rear) pads. I use cheap, takeoff OEM rotors and throw them away when I replace pads. I bought some stainless lines and use Superblue fluid.

Wheels and Tires -I ran 275's on all 4 wheels with factory 9" wheels for two seasons. I have since upgraded to 19" Forgelines and 305/30/19 tires.

Suspension - I bought the Hotchkis race pack. It's streetable and Hotchkis wins a lot of events. If money is tight, replace the rear sway bar first and lower the car. That's likely where the most bang for the buck is.

Engine - I ran two seasons with headers/air intake/tune which really wakes up the car. I recently went with a cam/head package but have not track-tested it yet. Even 100% stock I still had a good time with the car.

In answer to your questions:

1. The car works great on the track. Chevy did a great job with the indpendant rear and the brakes are strong.

2. I haven't had any heat issues. I have run the car on the long course at Pocono on a 95 degree day and it didn't do anything odd. You may have issues with your automatic transmission. Change the rear differential fluid frequently - Chevy recommends it and I think the friction modifier they want you to use has heat issues.

3. The automatic may be an issue because it's going to get hot. I would buy the biggest cooler I could find and learn how to pump out all the fluid after each event. I have seen a few C5, C6 corvettes with autos and the occasional mustang. They all have become experts at heat management, so assume the auto is "less than ideal".

4) I don't think your Corvette wheels will fit.

5) Other issues? Nothing terrible. The power steering resevoir tends to suck air on hard right turns and you can feel a little shudder. I changed to a different fluid and it got a little better. Visibility out the front window isn't the best, and the car has fairly large blind spots. 20" tires aren't ideal, but you can switch to a different wheel size for the track. If you do the square setup with OEM wheels, Nitto has the NT05 tires in 275/40/20 which is pretty good. There is also a Toyo in 285 that is popular, but I have not tried it.

Stuff that broke:

Two side rocker panel moldings. I went off the track and ripped them apart. I got painted takeoffs on ebay, they install in 20 minutes. I was lucky this was the extent of the damage.

Clutch release bearing. Mine exploded. I drove a couple more sessions at Lime Rock Park in 3rd gear and just didn't shift much. By the time I got the car home (trailered) the clutch and slave cylinder was ruined as well. I replaced with OEM units because I was heading to Watkins Glen the next weekend and that was all I could get on short notice. If I need to do another clutch, I would probably get the ZR1 double clutch or aftermarket equivalent.

The left rear hub bearing got noisy. I replaced with OEM (warranty).

I have replaced the outer rubber boot on each axle shaft twice. This is a known issue with lowered cars. I am looking for a better quality boot now.

The black plastic fascia that covers the mufflers melted. Known issue with heat, cheap and fast to replace. You can cut 1/2" off the rear pipe and slide the mufflers forward which makes them melt more slowly.

If you have other questions, I'd be happy to share what I know. Feel free to email or PM me here.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:29 PM   #21
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I've ran quite a few track days with my camaro, and lately have been doing 2-3 month.

1. I think out of the box the car runs fantastic for the track. I havent had any issues with the tranny or rear end since I upgraded the clutch to a twin disc. The rear end has been holding up no problem. I personally get some wheel hop but thats due to the turbos as it wasnt a problem before. I run mostly 20-30 min sessions and have done a couple Time Attacks with no issues.

2. I would recommend getting an oil sump and oil cooler if you plan on running on a track. After about 20 min my oil was getting pretty close; since installing the oil cooler, I have ran the car for 45+ mins on track and the temp doesnt go above 250 (I run 20w-50 mobil 1). At the least i would get an oil cooler; i have not had any problems with the power steering.

3. I'm currently running a 6-spd manual with 750-800whp and just switched out the clutch. I have not had any issues on track and do not see a need to rebuild the tranny.

4. As far as wheels you can run a 18" C5 rim on the car (with correct offset; 53mm i believe). I run a set of 19" Forgeline GA3R rims (295s in the front, and 305s in the rear) on R888s and have plenty of traction.......before the boost kicks in!

5. As mentioned above I would consider some suspension work. I think a set of coilovers and the Hotchkis Chassis brace would be a good starting point. Various companies offer "Track" packages. I would look into those.

Besides going off track occasionally I have not had anything brake from track use. It's a pretty solid car on track and with the right setup can go a long way. With my current suspension and tire/wheel setup my car will easily hug the corners with GTR's and Viper. The single biggest difference I noticed was going to a smaller rim and sticky tires.

Hope that helps! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:50 AM   #22
Cap'n Pete
 
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Drives: '02 Z28
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Awesome info, thanks guys! That's EXACTLY the type of feedback I was hoping to hear .

So I'm thinking, if left STOCK, on street tires, the car would probably be just fine, completely un-touched (since streets don't generate the same level of grip, which ultimately puts more strain and abuse on the car).

Brakes and tires would be the very FIRST things I'd look at (assuming I even get the "green light" on this whole thing! ) and then I'd start looking at cooling and suspension later.

Since I've already got a few good years behind me, with two different Camaros and two different Corvettes, all with varying levels of prep/mods, I'm just hoping to maintain SOME ability to get out to the track occasionally and have some fun. If "life" / time permits and I can stick with it frequently enough, I'll prep/mod the car to my liking, but in the meantime, at least it sounds like the Camaro is going to be equally as "fun" as my '02 Z28 was stock, and maybe even a little closer in feel to the base C6, since the new Camaro at least has the IRS that the 4th-gen so desparately needed.

Anyway, thanks again for the great feedback!
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:55 PM   #23
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I think saying it will feel close to the C6 is a stretch. She's a bit too chubby with a softer suspension stock.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:18 PM   #24
Cap'n Pete
 
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Drives: '02 Z28
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Well, ok, not trying to exaggerate!!! Although there is definitely something to be said about IRS vs. solid axle .

When I had the opportunity to drive a 5th-gen a couple years ago, the brakes were NOTICEABLY stronger than the ones on my 4th-gen, and the cornering felt pretty flat, for a stock suspension. I'd hazard to say "flatter" than my '02 before suspension mods.

Anyhow, my main concern is getting a car that is going to need WORK/PREP to go on the track, and it sounds like the new Camaro is pretty robust from the factory.

..... not that I would expect anything less of something coming out of Oshawa!!!
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:24 PM   #25
James@Flatout
 
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Saying Amen to this.... "Luckily oshawa isn't super hot compared to some places which will help some."
Starting to warm up the oven here in Tempe Az....Night racing for us @ the end of the Month....Off to Texas with the World Challenge Car for testing tomorrow. Pics to come.
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