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Old 04-03-2014, 11:29 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Camaro Z/28 Takes on the 911 GT3 (Autoweek)

via Autoweek

Chevy Camaro Z/28 vs. Porsche 911 GT3: Track day shootout

Flogging two brilliant -- and unlikely -- competitors with sports-car ace Andy Pilgrim


By: Jonathan Wong on 4/03/2014

We're in a Barber Motorsports Park garage in Birmingham, Ala., on a brisk morning with pro race-car driver Andy Pilgrim -- along with the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Porsche 911 GT3, the latest, road course-focused street cars for 2014. Cadillac Racing pays Pilgrim to pilot a CTS-V coupe in the Pirelli World Challenge series, but today he is our hired gun to give us top-level feedback around the challenging 2.38-mile circuit.

Pilgrim's résumé boasts wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in addition to numerous Le Mans podium finishes. And while he has bagged five professional sports-car championships, it's his articulate, detailed feedback about a car's behavior at the limit that's more valuable to us on this day.

We know what you're thinking: A General Motors factory driver? A Chevy and a Porsche? Stacked deck, anyone? Not so fast. Rather, Chevy having no problem letting us drop Pilgrim behind the Camaro's wheel (and that of a 911 track machine carrying a $60,000 premium) speaks volumes about its confidence in the Camaro. Not many manufacturers have the stones to participate in that kind of comparo. But Chevy aims big with the Z/28.


Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: Bowtie Bomber

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Enthusiasts' wait for the return of the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 ends this spring when the first of the 3,000 cars lands in dealerships wearing a $75,000 price tag, making it the most expensive Camaro to date. Horsepower-centric folks might be disappointed: The less-expensive, supercharged ZL1 packs 580 hp, while the Z/28 “only” has 505. But they're missing the point. The Z/28's main goal is conquering road courses, and all its purposeful hardware adds up to one mission: shaving lap times.

An LS7 V8 powers the Z/28 and is almost 64 pounds lighter than the ZL1's LSA, improving front-to-rear balance and connecting to a six-speed manual gearbox. A Torsen limited-slip differential distributes power between the rear wheels; the diff works with an upgraded performance traction-management system featuring “flying car logic.” In other words, it doesn't cut power when the car gets airborne around, say, the Nürburgring; Chevy test drivers say the system saved them roughly five seconds a lap on the Nordschleife.

Suspension revisions include stiffer springs, bushings and racing-style spool-valve shocks, allowing the engineers to tune the setup more precisely. Chevy says the changes yield a 1.29-inch lower center of gravity than the Camaro SS and up to 1.08 g of cornering acceleration. Supremely sticky 305/30 ZR19 Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires wrapped around forged aluminum wheels also help in corners. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes get the most from the tires under deceleration.

The Z/28 gains an exclusive front splitter, hood vents, Gurney-lip fender flares, rockers and a rear spoiler to help produce 150 pounds of downforce at 150 mph. A dealer-installed wickerbill is available for even greater downforce. Recaro sport seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel come standard.

While the engine, brakes and wheels yielded good weight savings, engineers whacked even more: Air conditioning is an option; there is no sound-deadening material -- or floor mats, trunk trim or tire-inflator kit; redundant wiring in the harness is gone. There is a lighter rear seat, smaller battery and thinner rear glass. The result? The base Z weighs 3,820 pounds, 55 pounds lighter than a 1LE. Our test car has air conditioning and a six-speaker sound system, bringing it to 3,851 pounds.

Pilgrim is impressed after just a few laps. “It's extremely stable and predictable at the limit,” he says, removing his trademark cartoon-covered helmet, this one adorned with “South Park” and “Squidbillies” characters. “The balance, mechanical grip and chassis setup let you carry good mid-corner speeds. It's sticking; recovery is good and it doesn't feel like a 3,800-pound car with those Trofeos trying hard to keep you on rails. Brakes are excellent with no hint of fade. Mode 5 [race mode] on the performance traction system is fantastic; I didn't feel it come in at all.”

Indeed, while Pilgrim works the Z/28's tenacious cornering ability and strong brakes around Barber's high-load corners, our guts feel shoved up against our body's left side. Braking for turns one and eight bounces our brain into the front of our skull -- feels like it, at least. However, that's subjective, seat-of-the-pants analysis, so the Camaro engineers enthusiastically rig up GPS timing equipment -- they want to know where they stand -- and send Pilgrim back out.

He promptly bangs in a 1:36.29 lap on a track he's never driven before today. Some perspective: The fastest lap a GS-class Camaro GS.R race car did around Barber in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race last year was 1:36.02. So a Z/28 off the showroom floor can run with race-prepped cars in the Continental Tire series' quickest class. Yeah, chew on that for a bit.


Double-Threat Porsche 911 GT3

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Next to the Camaro Z/28, Porsche's most track-focused 991 Carrera drips with relative luxury. Our Porsche 911 GT3 test car, graciously provided by Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Fla., features navigation, satellite radio, leather- and Alcantara-lined interior with carbon-fiber trim -- and floor mats! And, of course, plenty of GT3 go-faster bits.

The drivetrain is a reworked 911 Carrera S 3.8-liter H6. The dry-sump lubricated engine makes 475 hp with a sky-high 9,000-rpm redline thanks to forged-aluminum pistons, forged-titanium connecting rods, new cylinder heads and rocker-arm valve control. Unlike previous GT3s, Porsche offers this one only with a dual-clutch transmission that includes lightweight gears and shorter ratios; shifts happen in less than 0.10 second.

The chassis sits about an inch and a half lower than a base 911 Carrera and has aluminum shocks, revised wheel bearings and lighter springs. A two-mode variable damping system and torque-vectoring locking rear differential come standard. Likewise, you get active rear-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels 1.5 degrees in the opposite direction of the fronts at up to 37 mph and parallel to the fronts at more than 50 mph.

Porsche's 2014 911 GT3 comes standard with upsized brakes and cross-drilled steel rotors. If you want carbon ceramics like the Chevy has, go ahead and pony up another $9,210. The GT3 also rides on more street-oriented Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (245/35 ZR20 front, 305/30 ZR20 rear) mounted on center-lock forged wheels.

The GT3 is immediately recognizable thanks to a wide body, a signature fixed rear wing and a front fascia with large air dams for better cooling. In addition to looking the part, the GT3, through its sport exhaust, also sounds like a proper track car. Pilgrim's pied piper-like first buzz down the front straight draws everyone from the pits to the wall for an earful of screaming boxer running toward that 9,000-rpm redline.

Pilgrim soon cruises down pit road. The 991's behavior surprises him. “The GT3 went to charm school; there's less rattle and hum inside. It feels much more like a daily driver” compared to old GT3s and the Z/28, he says. Pilgrim gives the GT3's transmission and brakes high marks, but the car proves to be more of a handful at the limit. “The rear end is trickier, but the traction and stability control work well. It feels slower through the corners due to more tread squirm and less mechanical grip. The Porsche is quick down the straights, but the Z/28 sticks better in the corners and feels more like a race car. It's going to be close.”

As if on cue, here come the Camaro boys and their bag of timing equipment. After some laps Pilgrim describes as “edgy,” the data shows 1:35.76 -- 0.53-second quicker than the Z/28. Further data dissection shows the one area where the Porsche GT3 is making up time on the Camaro: down the straights. On the front straight, it's 6 mph faster, no doubt thanks to its lighter curb weight (3,153 pounds), slipperier body and quicker shifts


A Winning Pair

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Surprised by any of this? Don't be. These are two vastly different cars serving a wide audience, getting the job done in contrasting ways. Which one you might deem “better” depends on what you value and, of course, your budget.

The 911 GT3 is not only quick on-track but far more street friendly than before, thanks to cushier interior confines -- nice on the way back from a long track day. However, tapping its full track potential is more difficult than with the Camaro. “Simply put, less mechanical grip and the need for more rear downforce in the GT3 equals more sliding and longer slide-recovery times,” offers Pilgrim, “and this would be more uncomfortable for average track-day warriors.”

The Z/28 is a track-ready car developed in the same vein as Porsche's RS models; hardcore weekend warriors will appreciate its better-lap-times-at-all-costs personality, with 50-treadwear rated tires that you will be lucky to get 2,000 miles out of, a dearth of amenities and what Pilgrim considers more easily reachable limits. “I can say it's easier for me to go fast in the Z/28, and if I owned one, I'd sure go looking for GT3s to play with at any track day.”

Go for the Camaro Z/28 over the Porsche GT3 and you'll have a spare $56,000 to buy more Trofeo R tires. It's a difficult formula to beat. As Pilgrim says, “These cars are immensely capable and have state-of-the-art stability and traction control for track-day novices. But, if both of these are in my garage, it would be GT3 for the street and Z/28 for the track, every time.”

via: http://www.autoweek.com/article/2014...NEWS/140329817
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:00 PM   #2
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Good read, thank you.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:22 PM   #3
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:54 PM   #4
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Wow, interesting!
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:51 PM   #5
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Not bad z/28 is half the price and only 1/2 second slower !
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
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Very nice write up, wish there were videos.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:13 PM   #9
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"The Porsche is quick down the straights, but the Z/28 sticks better in the corners and feels more like a race car."

Nothing more to say.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:14 PM   #10
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another AWESOME read! a Camaro in the same conversation as Porsche and other super cars! AMAZING!
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:28 PM   #11
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"The Porsche is quick down the straights, but the Z/28 sticks better in the corners and feels more like a race car."

Nothing more to say.

Oh how the tables have turned...
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:32 PM   #12
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“I can say it's easier for me to go fast in the Z/28, and if I owned one, I'd sure go looking for GT3s to play with at any track day.”

Go for the Camaro Z/28 over the Porsche GT3 and you'll have a spare $56,000 to buy more Trofeo R tires.
Great Job guys this is unbelievable what you did for this much less. I love this kind of stuff.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:11 PM   #13
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“I can say it's easier for me to go fast in the Z/28, and if I owned one, I'd sure go looking for GT3s to play with at any track day.”

Go for the Camaro Z/28 over the Porsche GT3 and you'll have a spare $56,000 to buy more Trofeo R tires.
Great Job guys this is unbelievable what you did for this much less. I love this kind of stuff.
I like your logic...buy the Camaro, and a whole lot of tires. Brilliant.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:11 PM   #14
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If the Z/28 added just headers that 6 mph speed advantage the GT3 had would disappear. Imagine what could happen with headers, a cam and a little trickery.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:15 AM   #15
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Really just give the Z/28 a short run with a really fast shifting transmission and I think it would be able to take this GT3.

I think it is funny that the Camaro is being beaten on the straights.... if someone told you that it will win in the corners 10 years ago compared to cars like the Porsche 911 what would you have said?.

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Old 04-04-2014, 03:10 AM   #16
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Thanks for posting this.

The one thing that would kill me with that car are the tires, and I can't wait to hear how many miles people get out of them.

In 2 years & 38K miles, I'm getting ready for my 6th set of tires (no burnouts, just a LOT of canyon driving) and they've been 200 to 300 tread wear...
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:51 AM   #17
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I have both cars on order, and have owned both the 996 and 997 GT3s, and tracked both.

It's amazing what the Z/28 has done. It's like Team Camaro dropped an atom bomb. But, the badassTrofeos explain the corner grip to a large extent, as they offer near Hoosier levels of stick. They really aren't in any fashion street tires and have all the drawbacks of aggressive R comps on the street. Trofeos on the GT3 and we'll see a well driven GT3 walk the Z/28.

I have no axe to grind as I'm enamored with both cars.

Even though the Z's shoes have a lot to do with the published laptimes, and while one can simply throw trofeos on the GT3 (they offer sizing close enough), the one thing the Z has going for it in this regard, is that it was engineered from the factory for this rubber. *That* is a huge benefit as those fancy dampers were tuned for trofeos.

----------------------

OTOH, one thing that will suck super bad with the Z, is that the trofeos will be terrible on the street. Rain or cool days. Take your pick, you'll be hating life. I plan on a set of street tires/wheels to use around town and swap to Trofeos for track use. Or Hoosiers if I'm feeling giddy.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:54 AM   #18
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Thanks for posting this.

The one thing that would kill me with that car are the tires, and I can't wait to hear how many miles people get out of them.

In 2 years & 38K miles, I'm getting ready for my 6th set of tires (no burnouts, just a LOT of canyon driving) and they've been 200 to 300 tread wear...
"Speed costs, how fast do you want to go?" applies in this situation as it ALWAYS does.

The tires are the cost of admission to sit at the fast-laptime table. Pay up or eat elsewhere, it shouldn't be hard to understand.

Figure 2000 miles for road use or 70 track laps when driven fast and well. If you drive with a lot of slip angle, halve that. Folks who think smoky burnouts are cool could easily see $1200 go up in smoke in a few minutes.

Rinse, repeat, enjoy.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:19 AM   #19
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I can't wait to see someone get one of these things over the 600hp mark. That thing will be smoking damn near everything then. It would be cool if GM offered a hopped up version.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:15 AM   #20
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I have both cars on order, and have owned both the 996 and 997 GT3s, and tracked both.

It's amazing what the Z/28 has done. It's like Team Camaro dropped an atom bomb. But, the badassTrofeos explain the corner grip to a large extent, as they offer near Hoosier levels of stick. They really aren't in any fashion street tires and have all the drawbacks of aggressive R comps on the street. Trofeos on the GT3 and we'll see a well driven GT3 walk the Z/28.

I have no axe to grind as I'm enamored with both cars.

Even though the Z's shoes have a lot to do with the published laptimes, and while one can simply throw trofeos on the GT3 (they offer sizing close enough), the one thing the Z has going for it in this regard, is that it was engineered from the factory for this rubber. *That* is a huge benefit as those fancy dampers were tuned for trofeos.

----------------------

OTOH, one thing that will suck super bad with the Z, is that the trofeos will be terrible on the street. Rain or cool days. Take your pick, you'll be hating life. I plan on a set of street tires/wheels to use around town and swap to Trofeos for track use. Or Hoosiers if I'm feeling giddy.

Slow down here before you get attacked. I have been saying that most of the performance out of this thing is due to the wheels and tires and that a zl1 will be just as quick with the same set up.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:19 AM   #21
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...Figure 2000 miles for road use or 70 track laps when driven fast and well. If you drive with a lot of slip angle, halve that...
My last car was similar, spec-wise, to the Z/28. About the same weight and power, with slightly less tire width but no CCBs. The tires were 60-wear rated and very good. The first 300 miles of track usage and you felt Superman. After that the car felt OK, but it was clear that you'd started to lose your cape. The last 100 miles the car started to feel pretty greasy as the grip went down. After 550 miles of track usage there was a slight show-through on the shoulder of the tire, only about half-way around, like someone drew a very thin, faint white line.

Jackie Stewart was my hero as a kid, so I try very hard to be smooth. The problem is, these cars are such a blast to drive that you have to control your inner hoonigan...

Per my other thread HERE , I'm also looking to have two sets of wheels -- one track set and one fairly racy street set -- for transit and to use on track if things are damp. Zfatuated, do I hear you saying you're considering a third set by adding Hoosiers to your quiver?!?
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:20 AM   #22
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Slow down here before you get attacked. I have been saying that most of the performance out of this thing is due to the wheels and tires and that a zl1 will be just as quick with the same set up.
So it appears you are smarter than the engineers at GM.. If it were as simple as just slapping these tires on the ZL1 to make a faster car don't you think they would have just done that? Why waste millions engineering this car to be a beast on the track when tires are the only thing that it takes to put down these times? Please explain to me how GM could be this stupid. Obviously better tires will help any car, but there is way more to it than that. No need to go into all of the unique equipment on the Z28 as its posted in a lot of other threads, but I think these advancements may be helping the Z28 around the track as well lol.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:34 AM   #23
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Slow down here before you get attacked. I have been saying that most of the performance out of this thing is due to the wheels and tires and that a zl1 will be just as quick with the same set up.
Huh?

Go ahead, attack away. I'm interested in hearing anything I stated in my post with which you can disagree using a cogent argument.

As for your Zl1 v. Z/28 argument, disagree. Wheels are a small part of the Z/28's laptimes IMO. I make this statement based on having run light and heavy wheels on much lower hp, much lower weight cars. The Z28 runs like a scalded cat relative to teh Zl1 for other reasons: tire, brakes, trick suspension, lowered center of gravity, n/a non-heat soaking engine with upgraded cooling capacity, aero, and lower weight.

But if you added the Z/28's wheels, tires, suspension, aero, and removed a few hundred pounds you'd be most of the way there. But at that point. . . it makes sense to sell the Zl1 and buy a Z/28.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:49 AM   #24
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...The Z28 runs like a scalded cat relative to teh Zl1 for other reasons: tire, brakes, trick suspension, lowered center of gravity, n/a non-heat soaking engine with upgraded cooling capacity, aero, and lower weight...
I agree with this and believe the Z/28 is as good as it is because of the entire package. Look at the lengths the engineers went to; anything that got them a tenth was under consideration. "Flying Car" logic, DSSV shocks, Carbon Ceramic Brakes, the aero package -- and the tires.

I do agree the Trofeo R's are good tires. I'll be interested to compare lap times with and without them. Uh, I guess I mean with them and with another set of wheels/tires...
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:09 PM   #25
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Zfatuated, do I hear you saying you're considering a third set by adding Hoosiers to your quiver?!?
If the car will fit into my existing trailer, I do plan to try and fit a set of R6 315/30-19. Don't know if they will go in there without interference, if they don't fit, I have to use 295/30-19. Buy an extra set of wheels and mount the R6's to them.

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This is really common knowledge to anyone that has the slightest clue, but unfortunately I think most people rely too heavily on GM marketing or magazine articles, without really understanding the fundamental elements that contribute to handling.
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