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Old 06-02-2014, 08:12 PM   #151
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:48 PM   #152
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:59 PM   #153
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2015 Chevy Camaro Z/28 drive review
Feels like the first time, feels like the very first time



By: Jake Lingeman on 6/12/2014
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What is it?

It's the freakin' Chevy Camaro Z/28. It's high school. It's “Dazed and Confused,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Billy Madison” and Foreigner. It's what the coolest kid you knew drove. The new Z/28, at a decidedly not high-school price of $76,150, goes on sale later this year.

When the Camaro was introduced in 1966 (as a 1967 model), the Z/28 was the road-racing version. Several other names were considered, but nothing stuck, and Chevy just ended up naming the package after its option code, which came after the Super Sport package—option Z27-- on the options sheet. The Z/28 was designed specifically to compete in the SCCA's Trans-Am series with a 302 V-8 built to squeeze in under the 305-inch limit. The factory said it made 290 hp, most say it's more like 400.

This modern Z/28 comes with an absolute sledgehammer of an engine. It's the 7.0-liter, 505-hp V8 sourced from the last Z06 Corvette. It gets a Tremec six-speed manual and 481 lb-ft of twist sent rearward. The gas guzzler tax definitely applies. All of the action is controlled by a suede-covered steering wheel and a suede-covered shift knob.

Massive 19-inch spider web wheels are shod with fly-paper-sticky Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires. They surround 15-inch Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. Z/28 also gets Chevy's DSSV shocks, which use spool valves control the movement of fluid. That results in higher predictability and repeatability on the track.



What's it like to drive?

We tested the new Z/28 at the 1.9-mile GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich., and we instantly felt like busting a few donuts on our way out for summer vacation. Jokes aside, there's nothing '80s, '70s or '60s about this car.

On startup, the Z/28 braps and pops like a straight-pipe muscle car. Lowering the hammer smoothly takes some practice, as the sound almost overwhelms the driver, regardless of speed. At certain points on the track we had to mentally tune it out, lest it distract us from the task at hand. In this case, it was keeping more than 500 horses corralled on a 36-foot track.

Surprisingly though, it wasn't a rampaging buck out there. On acceleration, at least when we were pointed straight, the Z/28 shoved us back in the Recaro seats. To get any wheelspin we had to dump the clutch hard as we put our foot down. That didn't stop us from doing it. It just wasn't as easy as we expected. The Trofeo R tires are clearly made up of a combination of tree sap and Super Glue.

That made it stick around corners, especially on acceleration. We toggled the traction control system from sport, to sport 2, to race, and never brought the back end around without meaning to. At the limit, you can feel the car wiggling, scrounging for every bit of grip. It reminded us of the last Viper ACR, but it never felt scary or out of control. The only time we did get a little loose was during trail braking, where the car spun about 30 degrees, but was easily brought back in line.

The g forces did slide us around a bit, which is why we still choose the Mustang's Recaro buckets over the Camaro's. A wider man may have less of a problem. A taller man, however, would have more. At 5'10” plus helmet, we fit in the Camaro with about an inch of headroom or less. The seat adjusts another one or two inches, but at 6'2” or more, we'd worry about helmet clearance.

The clutch pedal effort was a little too easy for such a powerful car, but the slip point was small, which we like. Same goes for the steering; it was plenty sensitive, but extremely easy.

At the relatively short track in South Haven, the Z/28 spent most of its time in its monstrous third gear. It provides power from 20 mph to more than 100 mph. Lifting off before a turn brought a cacophony of pops and growls at we settled into the brakes.



Do I want one?

Hell yes you do, especially if you have 75 Gs laying around. It's the best Camaro ever built, if not the most powerful. We beat on a quintet of cars continuously for six hours with no brake fade and no “Check Engine” lights, though we did swap tires a few times. It also looks the part with a giant front splitter, black wheels and integrated quad exhaust.

The Camaro Z/28 sits in a segment of its own for the time being. It outpaces the old Boss Mustang, but also out-prices it. The last GT500 would surely take it in a straight line, but in the turns, we're not so sure.

The Z/28 won't make you the star of the football game, or the prom king, and definitely not head of the debate team. But to those kids in the auto shop, and the ones smoking behind the bleachers, you'll be the coolest kid in town.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:44 PM   #154
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LeftLane Z/28 Review: ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 [Review]



By Bryan Joslin
Monday, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:45 am

Forget what you think you know about the Camaro Z/28. Tamp down your urge to make that mullet joke; suppress all thoughts of T-tops, stripey stickers and slushbox transmissions. Go back to the beginning, late in 1966, when the just-launched '67 Camaro's options list included the unassuming code "Z28." To understand the all-new Z/28, you need to start there.

Ticking that box delivered a collection of track-oriented performance hardware developed with one simple goal in mind: to give Chevy's new Mustang competitor every legal advantage it could get in SCCA's Trans American sedan racing series. The original Camaro Z/28 was a legitimate track beast, and now Chevrolet is intent on returning the top-dog Camaro to its motorsport roots.

Back to its Roots
The Trans Am series, like the ponycar battle itself, is still alive and well with new Camaros dicing it out with Mustangs and Challengers in the TA2 class. But those are SS-spec Camaros racing in SCCA, and this new Z/28 - or rather the race-spec Z/28.R it will spawn - is designed to compete in the more advanced Continental SportsCar Challenge series instead.

The major reason the Z/28 exists, beyond returning a once-mighty nameplate to legitimacy among enthusiasts, is to give experienced high-performance drivers a Camaro they can drive to the track, run hard-and-fast all day long, and then drive home. Much like Porsche's 911 GT3, the new Z/28 is legal for the road, but built for the track.

Less Power but Less Weight
As odd as it may seem at first, the naturally aspirated Z/28 sits atop supercharged ZL1 in the 2014 Camaro hierarchy. Make no mistake; the ZL1 still tops the power charts, its blown 6.2-liter LSA cranking out 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque. The LS7 in the Z/28, by comparison, makes do with a "mere" 505 horsepower at a pushrod-friendly 6,100 rpm, with a very tractable 481 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. But gross output is only half the story; the track-honed 7.0-liter in the Z/28 delivers its power in a more predictable, linear fashion, which is what you need in the chicanes and between corners.

The differences between the two high-performance Camaros come down to more than just power, though. To offset the reduction in power and make the Z/28 even more balanced, Chevy engineers put it on a serious diet. The Z/28 weighs in a full 300 pounds lighter than the ZL1 thanks to an obsessive undertaking to eliminate as much unnecessary weight as possible. Decisions like smaller wheels - 19-inch on the Z/28 compared to 20s on the ZL1 - saved 48 pounds alone, while the carbon ceramic brakes shed another 21 pounds.

Air conditioning has been made optional to deliver a further 28-pound reduction, while a fixed rear seat with thinner materials plus a reduction in sound insulation each contribute another 10 pounds to the scrap pile. The striptease gets as ridiculously exhaustive as saving just over a pound by eliminating redundant wiring from the harness, and just under a pound by specifying a 0.3-mm thinner rear window. Floor mats, trunk trim, and even the emergency tire inflator kit have been left on the curb in the interest of getting skinny.

Elsewhere, lightweight materials have been employed to keep mass as minimal and as low to the ground as possible. The hood, for instance is pressed from aluminum, and the flow-through louvers are carbon fiber inserts. Carbon fiber is also used in the front splitter and the massive rear spoiler. Even the engine is in on the program. Ditching the blower and using lightweight internals like titanium valves brings the Z/28's LS7 in almost 64 pounds less than the ZL1's LSA.

The result of all those efforts is a 3820-pound coupe - 101 pounds heavier than the most basic V6 Camaro - making it the lightest V8-powered Camaro of this generation. If that doesn't sound all that impressive, it's important to remember that on the track, every ounce counts, and some of these reductions have even great benefits when the vehicle is in motion. The wheel/tire/brake combination alone greatly reduces rotational mass, making the Z/28 more responsive in acceleration, turning and braking. The lighter engine better balances the chassis for better handling as well.

Sharpening its Aero
One way to go faster with less power is to cheat the wind, and to that end the Z/28 team has spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel and at some of the world's most legendary racetracks getting the air to work for it instead of against it. The first thing you're likely to notice about the Z/28 when you first see it in person is its massive front splitter. It reaches out in front of the car to catch the air and direct it up and away, reducing lift at high speeds.

An underbody panel works in conjunction with the rear bumper's functional diffuser to clean up what air does move below. Along with the big rear spoiler, the ground effects pieces create up to an additional 150 pounds of downforce at the rear end at speed.

The front fascia contributes to improved aerodynamics as well, with cooling air moving through the engine compartment smoothly before exiting through the hood vents. Even the Chevy bowtie emblem has been optimized; the so-called "Flowtie" has had its center material removed to improve flow, and someone in engineering with time on his hands ran the calculations to determine that it allows an additional 2.5 cubic meters per minute.

Serious Hardware
The Z/28 borrows several key bits from the Corvette. For instance, it employs the Z06's dry-sump lubrication system for reliable oil delivery during sustained high-G cornering, and the ZR1's liquid-to-liquid oil cooler.

The rest of the spec sheet reads like a SEMA project car. Components from the aftermarket's most prestigious companies replace standard-issue items from the GM parts bin. Brembo makes the ceramic brake package, Recaro does the sport seats, Mahle pistons and Pankl connecting rods live inside the engine, and breathing takes place through an open-element K&N filter.

A Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual is the only transmission offered on the Z/28, a major differentiator between this model and the GenII, GenIII and GenIV Z28s (those without the "/" in the name), not to mention the current Hydramatic-optional ZL1. AAM supplies the limited-slip differential, which is optimized for power delivery in three unique phases of traction while turning - entry, mid-corner, and exit - as well as predictable straight-line performance.

The suspension does without the ZL1's Magnetic Ride technology, saving weight and complexity, featuring instead a lighter dynamic suspension spool valve (DSSV) damper system - the same Multimatic system used in Formula1 and Formula3, and by Ferrari and Aston Martin.

On the Track
All these go-fast pieces don't mean much it they don't work together harmoniously. Chevy claims every component chosen for the Z/28 contributed to a lower lap time on the track. To prove it, they brought us to Gingerman Raceway, a 1.9-mile road course in South Haven, Michigan, that's typically frequented by sports car clubs and track day fans from the Chicago to Detroit - exactly the kind of drivers expected to pony up for a turnkey track car like the Z/28.

Conditions on our all-too-brief test day were about as ideal as they get - upper 60s and dry, with slightly overcast skies. After a short introduction to the cars and a couple familiarization laps, we were set free to explore the limits of Z/28's potential. As we soon found out, a couple hours were hardly enough to discover what this car is truly capable of.

Let's start with the engine. With 11 turns in just 1.9 miles, there's hardly room at Gingerman to take the Z/28 out of third gear, but clearly the car is meant for much more than the 90 mph or so we're able to manage, especially with the front straight off limits to us. Nevertheless, third gear is enough to explore the engine's linearity, lacking as it does the peakiness that comes from high-capacity forced induction engines. Power builds predictably from the moment you roll out of pit lane, the engine making the fantastic bark that only an unrestricted pushrod V8 can manage.

Shifting the Tremec gearbox is a visceral experience, as always. It's not so much that it requires a major effort, but the action of engaging each gear has a distinctly mechanical quality to it. Paddle shifters are, and always will be, a poor substitute for this sensation. The clutch, for all the potential it must restrain, is remarkably civilized, requiring only modest leg muscles to engage. Clutch takeup, like the gearshift experience itself, communicates the sense that something very mechanical is happening, but in a way that's not an unnecessary burden.
The barely street-legal R-compound Pirellis, already with several recon laps on them, still needed a few more hard turns to get good and sticky. Once they had enough heat in them, they were practically unflappable until you do something stupid. The carbon-ceramic brakes, on the other hand, seemed up to the task at the first corner, and they only seemed to get better with each lap. If there is one piece of hardware that requires a new set of expectations, it's really the brakes. With each successive corner you go deeper and deeper, wondering if there isn't a point at which they just won't work. They never disappointed.

The Z/28's chassis is agile and responsive despite its two-ton weight; there is never a sense that mass is shifting, as the car remains supremely composed no matter how ham-fisted your inputs are. Lateral grip is astounding, owing much to the tires, but also the DSSV suspension and the differential, which does its best to keep the power going in the direction you point it. Chevy claims the Z/28 is capable of 1.05 g of cornering acceleration, as well as 1.5 g of braking deceleration. We would have a hard time disputing those claims.

The Powertrain Management (PTM) programming is surprisingly subtle as well, allowing for very high limits of cornering and acceleration with just enough safety net to keep you from killing yourself. Modes 4 and 5 in particular allow an experienced driver to get the most out of the Z/28 without interrupting the fun at the first sign of opposite lock.

While the Z/28 is dynamically brilliant, the cockpit leaves a bit of room for improvement. Specifically, the headroom is compromised once a helmet is on. Perhaps lowering those beautiful Recaro seats would address this. Despite having a flat-bottomed steering wheel, the steering column itself actually impedes right-foot activity, making heel-and-toe downshifting a bit of a challenge. The cowl that surrounds the column is bulky, and it requires a conventional ignition switch. A change to a push-button start switch on the dash could slim down this little knee buster and make fast driving a bit more enjoyable.

The $76,000 Question
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 starts at $72,305. Add in the mandatory gas guzzler tax ($1,700) and destination charge ($995) and you pull up right at $75,000. Throw in the air conditioning package (which also includes additional speakers) and you're at $76,150.

That's a lot of money for a Camaro, but if the track is your playground, you'll have a hard time finding a more focused and better-prepared car for the task at hand. If what you really want is a showy sports car for the street, better options are available in cars like the Porsche Cayman, Jaguar F-Type and even Chevy's own Corvette. But for the same money, none of these will deliver the kind of on-track experience that the Z/28 offers.

No doubt some Camaro SS owners will attempt to create their own Z/28 in the aftermarket. They will probably come close, but in likelihood will have spent at least as much in the process. In the end, the Z/28 is the real deal, the car serious collectors will be clamoring for at the 2064 Barrett-Jackson auctions. For the right kind of driver, the Z/28 is an exceptionally good value.

Leftlane's Bottom Line:
Forget the mullet. Your new haircut is a helmet.
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 base price, $72,305. As tested, $75,000.
Gas guzzler tax, $1,700; Destination charge, $995.

Photos by Bryan Joslin.

Read more: http://www.leftlanenews.com/first-dr...#ixzz34rOjnIw8
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:58 PM   #155
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GM Authority Tests The Z/28: ORIGINAL STORY HERE

2014 Camaro Z/28 – Track Car For The Street: First Drive
BY MANOLI KATAKIS — JUN 17, 2014



Keyboard warriors like to bring up the subject of the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28′s price tag.

“OMFG Y I5 TH3 Z28 SO XPENSIV ITS A CAMARO !!1!!1″
Because it is.

“WHY WOULD i GET A Z28 FOR THAT MONEY WEN i CAN GET A CORVETTE??!”
Honestly, I bet you’ll never own either of those things. Your daddy doesn’t count.

And of course, there’s the “THE ZL1 IS FASTER AND CHEEPER WHATS THE POYNT??”

There are educated answers to each heated question. But, as the adage goes, the best way to prove a point isn’t to tell people. It’s to show them. And Chevrolet is showing everyone right now that the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is a thoroughbred race horse that reshapes the way we must think about American performance cars. If you would have said, even five years ago, that Chevrolet would launch a Camaro that could hang with the Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 GT3, Audi R8 and nearly the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia, you may have been lynched. Probably in some legal way.

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 or Boss 302? Left in the dust here.

So, here we are today, with a Camaro sporting the absolute largest front radials in the industry, mirroring the 305mm-wide Pirelli Trofeo R tires which can range in price from $503 to $800. A piece. These amazing, barely-street-legal performance tires are supported by minimalist black wheels and Brembo lightweight carbon ceramic rotors (396 x 36 mm) and six-piston, monobloc aluminum calipers in front as well as 4-piston fixed calipers with 390 x 32 mm carbon ceramic rotors for the rear These are around $2,500 out of the box. Compared to similar-size, two-piece steel rotors, the lightweight carbon discs save 28 pounds per car and are capable of 1.5 G in deceleration, lap after lap (I can vouch for this), and 113 feet of 60-0 mph deceleration — 13 feet better than the ZL1. They’re also the same brakes that will be clipped onto the 2015 Corvette Z06.

Though unlike the Z06, which will feature carryover magnetic shocks from the Corvette Stingray, the Camaro Z/28 sports Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers, which is perhaps the crown jewel of the Z’s suspension system. “Hellaciously expensive,” to quote a certain chief engineer, these dampers are composed of independent high and low speed valves (not shims) for better control of both bump and rebound, and includes linear indexed adjusters, matched from damper to damper to optimize the symmetry rating across each axle.

Probably lost you there, but I also have to point out that no other road-legal car has a DSSV system outside of the outlandish Aston Martin One-77. DSSV shocks are specifically tailored from the factory, and are closed units thereafter. So for those looking to tinker with these dampers to adjust them, best of luck. The DSSV system also saves a good deal of weight from the familiar Magnetic Ride Control setup that GM installs on just about every other performance car it builds. However, the trade-off compared to MRC is the duality of ride comfort. MRC does a good job at adjusting its magnetic fluid to either firm or soften the suspension at the push of a button. The DSSV setup on the Z/28 is optimized for the race track, and not the pot-hole infested roads of Michigan. The results of which on the race track are blissful. The road, not so much.

In total, there are 190 unique parts that separate the Camaro Z/28 from a conventional Camaro SS, all of which contribute to faster road course lap times. It sits 33 mm lower than a Camaro SS, with noticeable negative wheel camber and the most aggressive front splitter we’ve ever seen on a factory GM car to-date.

Compared to the Camaro SS, the 2014 Z/28 features 85 percent stiffer front springs, and 65 percent stiffer rear springs, which are optimized to keep up with the new DSSV dampers. Then there’s 25 percent stiffer lower trailing-link bushings on the rear suspension improve lateral stiffness in cornering and reduce wheel deflection during hard braking. To improve steering feel, the lower-arm link bushing is 50 percent stiffer. Smaller stabilizer bars (from 28 to 25 mm in front; 27 to 26 mm in rear) are tuned to match the reduced rebound travel. And finally, the rear upper control arm bushings are a whopping 400 percent more firm to improve lateral stiffness.

All of this and more contributes to 1.08G of lateral acceleration capabilities.

This amazing suspension work is paired with the purist’s choice of a motor, a 505 hp 7.0L LS7 V8 with a dry sump oil system, complete with a K&N air filter, Mahle pistons, Pankl titanium connecting rods, titanium valves, and improved cooling compared to the engine cradled in the C6 Z06, where the engine was previously seen. Its power is transferred to the rear wheels via a Tremec TR6000 six-speed manual. The engine is also nearly 64 pounds lighter than the ZL1′s 580 hp 6.2L supercharged LSA V8, which helps optimize weight and distribution of said weight. In the most capable hands, the Z/28 achieved a 7:37 Nürburgring time in the wet with the cameras rolling, but a 7:31 when the track was completely dry. When looking at other performers in the GM family, the Cadillac CTS-V ran the ‘Ring half a minute slower, and the C6 Corvette ZR1 did it in a ridiculous 7:19.


2014 Camaro Z28 Gingerman Raceway

How good is that? That’s Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche 911 GT2 good. In conversation, Camaro Z/28 performance manager Mark Stielow recalled his time with the car on the ‘Ring, where it would catch so much air at the track’s Flugplatz that he could feel the car kite before it landed to make an immediate right-hander. Just imagine what the team could do with a lighter platform to build from in the future.

Now, a big-body vehicle like the Camaro Z/28 is going to be heavy in a relative sense, but the engineering team did everything they could to minimize its weight. Kind of like how a wrestler vomits before stepping on the scale for weigh-ins. Unnecessary wiring, gone. Floor mats, deleted. Sound insulation, removed. Trunk insulation and carpeting, nixed. Sound system? Purged, with only a speaker left for the door chime. Basically, if it was legal to be omitted, it was so.

We could hash out all the weight-saving details, but it’s more important to know that the Z/28 still weighs 3,820 lbs, but that is 30 lbs less than a $101,770 Nissan GT-R, the internet fanboy favorite. Despite the girth, it all feels more like active weight than sheer adiposity when driving it around Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan.

And God damn, did I drive. I drove until the carbon ceramic brakes roasted with smoke and the tires heated into goop. And then I continued to drive some more. The Camaro Z/28s that Chevrolet provided were pushed on Gingerman raceway from mid-morning, well into mid afternoon, and despite the visible wear, the brakes barely amounted to any fade, and the gummy tires held on as best as they could. Their sheer width also eliminated the sense of understeer that can present itself in lesser Camaros, while the six-speed manual’s shifts were short and precise. The firmness and downforce are both immediately apparent compared to even the 1LE Camaro, which I feel behaves the closest to the Z/28 compared to the SS or ZL1. Meanwhile, the Torsen limited-slip differential helps keep the rear wheels on the rail when cornering. One cannot even blink when pushing the Z/28 around the track, or you will lose that split-second turn-in, or the tiny braking zone needed for the Brembos, which would make a track day go horribly awry. Concentration is pivotal here.

Impressively, the Camaro Z/28′s suspension and tires would help carry enough speed through the bends of the 1.88-mile track to allow for fourth-gear passes well above 100 mph down the 1,378-foot back straight. That’s mostly unfeasible for other performance cars, especially those south of 80 grand like this one (this is also why I wish there was a HUD option for the Z/28, because it’s a tad frightening to look down at the instrument panel while at speed, even for a half-second). This race car with turn signals that’s evolved well beyond the base model sitting around the Hertz rental fleet lot, and promises to push your limits as a driver. Plus, unlike other makes, Chevrolet will stand behind the powertrain warranty, even at the track. Though if you go into the wall, that’s on you.

In a sense, what we have here is a turn-key race car that can be driven home after a track day. And considering how expensive it gets to build a modern race car these days, the Z/28 isn’t expensive. It’s a bargain. But like an aged barley wine, you better know what you’re doing before you buy one.

Photos and video by Steven Pham.

Read more: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2014/06/...#ixzz34wKQgiH5
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:28 AM   #156
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CAR Review of Z/28:

READ ORIGINAL HERE

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2014) review
By Chris Chilton
First Drives
26 June 2014

The Chevrolet Camaro's Z/28 badge is as hallowed among US car fans as GT3 is to Porsche nuts, but this latest Zee, the first since 2002, is special because it’s the first for over four decades to really do the legendary name justice.

The original ’66-’69 Camaro Z/28 existed for one reason alone: to win the then-new SCCA Trans Am Championship, a kind of US version of the BTCC. It wasn’t a standalone model, instead Z/28 was simply the option code for a package that brought heavy duty suspension, quicker steering, plus a unique 4949cc (302-cubic inch displacement) V8 that fitted neatly under Trans Am’s 305-cid capacity limit, screamed to a most un-V8 like 6000rpm, and was cheekily underrated at 290bhp.

Chevy sold just 602 cars that first year, compared with 34,000 SS Camaros. Who’d have a 5.0 when you could have a 6.5 for less wedge? Racer Mark Donohue would. In the ’68 Trans Am season he won 10 out of 11 races to capture the championship, the first of two back-to-back series victories. But, mirroring what happened to BMW’s M3 two decades later, as the years passed, the lithe homologation special morphed into a high- (and, occasionally not very high-) speed GT. Thankfully, it’s now back on track, literally and metaphorically, coming closer in spirit to its progenitor than any M3 (bar the £120k GTS) has ever managed.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: prices, specs
The Z/28 costs significantly less than a M3 GTS, its $75k price converting to around £45,000, although something nearer £65k seems likely if GM Europe decides to officially import the car to Europe. Regardless of whether we’ll get it, that’s big money for a Camaro. The new BMW M3 and M4 undercut it. So does the Corvette Z06. And even if you are hell-bent on a Camaro, the fact that a 552bhp supercharged ZL1 version will leave you with $20k change would seem to seal the Z/28’s fate.

Or does it? Standing in the pitlane at Alabama’s Barber Motorsport Park, hot metal pinging like it’s been attacked by 1000 pea-shooter-wielding Beano tearaways, I’m not so sure. This is a properly sorted track car, one that’ll lap a damp Nordschleife in 7min 37sec in the hands of a proper driver, but is so friendly that even novices will find themselves cycling through the five ESP modes in short order.

The Z/28’s heart is the 7.0-litre LS7 V8 from the old Corvette Z06, as the new one is now supercharged to keep pace with Europe’s supercar elite. It’s a mighty engine, still a simple overhead valve V8 with one camshaft, but fortified with titanium rods to ensure longevity at the serious 7000rpm at which it’s capable of spinning.

Like the original ’67, there’s no auto option, and GM doesn’t have a suitable dual-clutch alternative. The manual shift is surprisingly slick, the throw short, and only a chasm between the brake and accelerator making heel-and-toeing a little more difficult than it should be, spoils the experience.

Performance of the Camaro Z/28
And what an experience. Despite weighing 136kg less than a ZL1, the perennially portly Camaro still totals 1724kg in Z/28 guise. You’re aware of that bulk, but it’s managed so well when braking and turning that it’s rarely an issue. Much of the credit must go to the pricey spool-valve dampers, fitted in place of the ZL1’s magnetorheological shocks, and used by only one other production car on the planet, according to Chevy: the £1m Aston One-77. Their internal design gives much better control of oil flow within the damper, allowing for more precise tuning of both bump and rebound and, on this evidence, delivers superb body control.

That performance is matched by ceramic brakes that resolutely refuse to fade and deliver a level of pedal feel many carbon-equipped supercars can’t match, plus some seriously sticky Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres that work with a new limited-slip differential. There’s so much stick that the wheels themselves are now ‘media-blasted’ to make them grippier, because Chevy’s engineers found they were spinning within the tyres during fast lapping.

You could feasibly use a Z/28 as a road car, but that’s not its natural bent. The humungous front tyres cause tramlining and aren’t that great in the wet, there’s a fair amount of road noise, you’d be forever catching that front splitter, and the ride can get choppier than a Bruce Lee lookalike competition. To cap it all, hours spent in traffic would be give you time to notice the ropey cabin plastics.

Verdict
Chevrolet knows it will only sell a handful of Camaro Z/28s, and many will end up with collectors, mothballed in garages. Having driven it, that is a terrible waste. It’s not quite a budget GT3, but no mainstream European carmaker offers anything like it for the money.

Statistics
How much? £45,000
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 7011cc V8, 498bhp @ 6100rpm, 481lb ft @ 4800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 3.9sec 0-60mph, 175mph
How heavy / made of? 1724kg/steel
CAR's ratingRated 4 out of 5
Handling Rated 3 out of 5
Performance Rated 4 out of 5
Usability Rated 4 out of 5
Feelgood factor Rated 5 out of 5
Readers' rating Rated 4.5 out of 5
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:43 AM   #157
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LSX-TV: A wet & wild day with the Z/28:

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Behind the Wheel: A Wet and Wild Track Day with the Camaro Z/28

By Paul Huizenga
posted on Jun 26, 2014



One undeniably awesome aspect of working for Power Automedia is that every so often, we get invited to play with other people’s cars. Here at LSXtv, we’ve had the chance to try out the Camaro ZL1 on a road course and at the dragstrip, borrow a Z51 Stingray for a week, and even ride along with GM’s development drivers in the Z/28 at the Milford Proving Grounds.

Our latest adventure as the guest of Chevrolet was a trip to Gingerman Raceway in Michigan, and a chance to put the Z/28 through its paces, except this time we’d be behind the wheel ourselves. Most readers will need no introduction to the Z/28, but for the benefit of those who have been out of the loop, this car can be best described as what happens when the Camaro team gets free reign to build the ultimate track toy. Sure, there are some concessions to pesky things like regulations and practicality, but the Z/28 represents the Camaro distilled down to the essentials.

Power comes from the naturally-aspirated 7 liter LS7, sourced from the 6th generation Corvette line and found in the Z06 and 427 Convertible models. Hand-built just like it was in its Corvette days, the engine retains the 505 hp rating it had previously, but detail changes to the intake and exhaust broaden the already expansive torque range. Enormous carbon ceramic brakes, spool-valve dampers, and steamroller tires are all part of the package as well, and the Z/28 has several hundred fewer pounds to haul around than the previous top-dog Camaro, the supercharged ZL1.


Stripped to the Essentials

Back in the 1960′s when the US Air Force was just beginning to develop what would become one of the greatest fighter planes of the 20th century, the F-15 Eagle, the designers intentionally bucked the trend towards multirole aircraft that paid the penalty for flexibility with greater complexity, size, and cost. The guiding philosophy was, “Not a pound for air-to-ground” – the Eagle would be a pure air superiority weapon. Of course, once the aircraft entered service, the pressure to do more than just sling missiles at MiGs meant that the F-15 got heavier, more expensive, and eventually morphed into the two-seat E-model Strike Eagle, an excellent attack aircraft that is more than capable of escorting itself to targets inside contested airspace.


A removable panel under the hood normally keeps rain off the engine – take it out to maximize the extractor vent’s effectiveness and your intake’s going to get wet.

In a way, the Z/28 Camaro is the F-15 script run in reverse. When the 5th Gen Camaro debuted in the 2010 model year, it was an immediate hit, and interestingly enough, the V8 outsold the V6 – usually the situation is the other way around, with buyers drawn into the showroom with SS dreams but an RS budget.

While the 5th Gen was more powerful, more comfortable, and safer than the previous F-body cars that had bowed out in 2002, it was also a lot heavier thanks to the burden of additional safety and luxury features that became the norm in the intervening eight years.

With the Z/28, Camaro chief Al Oppenheiser explains that the mandate was to strip away anything that didn’t make the car lap a race course quicker. The only major available option is a package that adds air conditioning and stereo speakers, and we’re told that the debate over whether to offer it was intense; “not a pound for air and sound,” so to speak. The end result is a car that is as uncompromised for the mission as a major automotive manufacturer can offer.



When it Rains, it Pours

Having previously experienced the Z/28′s prowess from the passenger seat with a professional driver at the helm, we were both excited and anxious (in several senses of the word) to get behind the wheel on a racetrack ourselves. How would this 10/10ths Camaro perform in the hands of a 6/10ths (being generous) driver?

One of the reasons Gingerman Raceway in southwestern Michigan was selected as the venue for this press event is that it’s a forgiving track, designed by a racing enthusiast with safety in mind. It’s easier to explore a car’s limits (or in this case, your limits as a driver) in an environment where going past the edge isn’t punished with crumpled sheetmetal and profuse apologies to the hosts for wadding up their $75,000 car.

Unfortunately, one aspect of the experience that Chevrolet couldn’t control was the weather; specifically, the on-and-off torrential rainfall that plagued us throughout the day. While the Z/28′s Pirelli Trofeo tires grip dry pavement tenaciously, standing water in the corner apexes and general conditions that ranged from “moist” to “start gathering pairs of animals” were pretty far out of their design specs. Trying to find the ragged edge of the Camaro’s true performance under those circumstances would have been foolhardy even at what is arguably the country’s safest racetrack.

The good news, though, is that we did learn just how competent the Z/28 is even when you throw it a curve, like a wet track or a mediocre driver. While the majority of these cars that do get tracked (as opposed to sealed in bubble wrap by speculators) will be driven by owners who are already skilled enough to make full use of its extremely high potential, the Z/28 makes an excellent learning platform.



Doesn’t Bite When Cornered

In a way, the lack of traction was a blessing, because it let us see a side of the Z/28 that we probably wouldn’t have in the dry – how it handles as you approach the limit of adhesion. On a dry track, things would have happened very, very quickly (and possibly with bad consequences), but in the 60-percent conditions, every imperfection in the driving line, each lift of the throttle in mid-corner, all the over and under-driving that wouldn’t be obvious even at a 9/10ths pace in perfect weather provided clear feedback at a pace that was possible to absorb and learn from. Even as the track went from damp to full wet, we kept going faster and smoother, with the PTM and ABS safety net catching us every so often in a “teachable moment.”


Not ideal rain tires…

The Z/28 is so capable, well-sorted, and forgiving of nonsense that if you replaced those Trofeos with some rock-hard all season rubber to keep the car in that 60-percent zone on a dry track, it would be the perfect way to gain experience managing the car at full boogie without having to drive at full boogie speeds. Like we said before, most owners won’t need “training wheels” to learn how to wring all the sweet, sweet juice from this Camaro, but in the end we were glad we got to try it the way we did because we got more out of it than we probably would have in perfect weather.

So how about it, Chevrolet? Lend us a Z/28 to play with here at our sunny SoCal headquarters so we can use what we learned on that wet Michigan pavement…
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:04 PM   #158
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Car & Driver's 2014 Lighting Lap Test:





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Old 09-04-2014, 10:51 PM   #159
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Great post for a great car! Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:19 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenthusiast View Post
Great post for a great car! Thanks.
Sure thing! Except for the Stingray, you have to get down to the Cayman S and BMW M4 to find similarly priced cars. What's the average MSRP of the top 11? Maybe we should exclude the 918 from that, given what an outlier it is...
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:02 AM   #161
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The "Contenders" page near the top of the article has the prices of the cars as tested. With the 918 excluded as an outlier the Z/28 still looks more than respectable.
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