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Old 04-03-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
brian-nicola
 
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Re-Posted from the CTS-v Forum=ZL1 Drive

Thought you might like to read from one of the members (not me);

I was very privileged this past weekend to spend part of Thursday and Friday at Spring Mountain Resort and Country Club in Pahrump, Nevada driving the new Camaro ZL1 and Corvette ZR1 on their 1.5 mi. Radical Track, courtesy of GM and the Ron Fellows Performance Driving [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]School[/COLOR][/COLOR].

I know there have been a few threads on this board questioning/speculating about comparisons between our V and the ZL1, so I thought I’d take a few moments and offer up my thoughts and impressions…

The car is an absolute blast to [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]drive[/COLOR][/COLOR]! I actually felt more at home in the ZL1 and enjoyed driving it more than the ZR1! Certainly, I felt the shifter in the ZL1 had a more positive, direct feel.
I was able to easily induce understeer going into turns, but that was as a result of my trying to see how far I could push it on entry before the nannies cut in. Not as much understeer as I thought, however... It was hard for me to induce oversteer on exit or entry - simply because I only got up to position 4 on the PTM and the computer still would not allow me to kick the ass end out on exit! Position 4 does allow for more of a "punch" though, when you boot it! I didn't get to 5 or turn everything off. (what for?!?)

Depending on the PTM position, it is VERY difficult to get the car out of sorts, so that being what it is, allows you to explore the limits of the car in a safe and gradual manner. Kudos to GM for including this amazing feature on a car at this price point!!

Interestingly enough, I found that it was easy to lose my focus on driving the track, since I did not have to worry about pushing the car so much that I'd put the wheels off! Not used to having that luxury! Definitely a great package!

The cars were in use all morning with perhaps a 5-10 min break every 15-20 min. while we swapped drivers. I didn't look at any temps, but there were no issues whatsoever that came up on the DIC on any of the cars during our sessions, which lasted until about 12:30 PM. No braking issues and nothing overheated. This is a testament as to how rugged the car is.

If I have any criticism at all, I'd like to be able to sit higher in the car while wearing a helmet – there’s a bit more headroom in our V’s and I felt that I had to compromise my driving position somewhat by sitting lower than what I would term ideal.

As well, given the handling ability of the car, there is lots of room for improvement in the level of support provided by the seats. My right knee kept shutting off the A/C on turns. I guess I’m spoiled by our Recaros.

Each session was a workout for me because I had to [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]work[/COLOR][/COLOR] not only at driving the car, but keeping myself in a reasonable seating position. Again, if had the Recaro seats, I'd be OK with that and the car would be easier to drive on the track.

Otherwise, I don't feel that I was able to really explore the upper limits of what this car is capable of, simply because of the fact that given the [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]course[/COLOR][/COLOR], we were not able to hit speeds that one could attain on higher speed courses like VIR or Mosport. The good news is, I feel there are a lot of similarities between this car and my V, which is very easy to drive at 130 -140 mph. This car certainly is a lot more “visceral” than the V and is just a ton of fun! It's like the car is saying back at ya,
"I dare you..."
Gotta love the exhaust note with the flappers from the ‘Vet’s exhaust!

The capper at the end of the morning was that Ron Fellows took a few of us out individually in the ZL1 for some hot laps. That was a real eye-opener for me, as where I felt challenged trying to make the car do what I wanted, Ron was like an artist who played the car like an instrument! Experiencing what he could do with the car demonstrated the car's capabilities in a very clear light, even at the lower speeds on this track! Most impressive!

My overall conclusion is that this is one extremely capable car – and one helluva bargain at the price, given the performance parameters! It ain’t perfect yet, (just allow the seats to hold me in place better!) but I know Chevy ain’t done yet with this one!

Best regards,

Elie
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:50 AM   #2
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Nice writeup
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting!
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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Excellent read. Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thanks Elie, it was very informative. I can't wait for mine to finally arrive.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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That's funny, I know Ellie and I knew he was there. I asked him to email me his impressions because I knew he had done a lot of track days, had a 99 SS like mine before the CTS-V and was objective! That is exactly the email he sent me to he also copied an pasted it to the board.

He is a very good auto cross and weekend HPDE driver so you can really take his word for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:37 AM   #7
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Good read ...
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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Here is another one from a autocross/HPDE driver that I know and is also one of "The Disciples". You all know Janet. Art and Elie are two others.

Hi Dan,

It was a fun trip, even in a rented Cruze. Who knew that most of a trip taken in late March could be done on summer performance tires with the top down. I just kept telling myself how much money I was saving with the Cruze.

The ZL1. Nice total package. Great shifter, especially compared to the ZR1. We never graduated beyond Level 3 on the stability program so I can't comment on what the exact characteristics are .... but the car felt great at that level. While I doubt they'd admit it, they were holding us back on the track. Remember how we could never catch the lead car at the schools? This time they were telling me to back off the lead car. :o(

I rode with Ron Fellows for a couple of hot laps in the ZL1. WOW! His comment was the car is a little understeery, but that a little negative camber would fix it. I'd be prepared to take his word for it.

My opinion: If you want a fully capable track car that you will never be able to fully utilize, get the ZL1. If you want an enhanced SS, get the 1LE. My biggest concern either way would be the cost of tires and brakes (and the risk of stuffing it in a wall or tire barrier).

My biggest complaint about both the Camaro and the 'vette, the seats aren't up to track duty.

If you want more discussion, let me know what number to call you at and when a good time is (we have free long distance to the U.S.). I don't feel like typing a whole lot more.

Art
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
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Cool reads!!! Thanks for sharing those
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #10
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very nice read
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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Glad we've got some CTS-V love for the ZL1!!!! Chevy did it right!
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #12
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Yes racardo sets as an option in the MY2013 would be a nice one.
Sounds like a pretty fair write up, and nice to get some views from our
caddie friends who have some exp with the LSA caddie version.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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I took a few pics and videos with my Droid RAZR. There was no way I could hold the RAZR steady enough at speed by hand. The course had too many turns.

http://imageevent.com/face440/zl1atspringmountain

Slow lap in a ZR1 (Art driving)
http://youtu.be/IjthihzYUVA?hd=1

Slower lap in a ZL1 (Janet driving)
http://youtu.be/CymwdXEWPr4?hd=1
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
I took a few pics and videos with my Droid RAZR. There was no way I could hold the RAZR steady enough at speed by hand. The course had too many turns.

http://imageevent.com/face440/zl1atspringmountain

Slow lap in a ZR1 (Art driving)
http://youtu.be/IjthihzYUVA?hd=1

Slower lap in a ZL1 (Janet driving)
http://youtu.be/CymwdXEWPr4?hd=1

Listen Mr Firehawk/GTO, non Camaro owning Rangers fan, you do not belong here. LOL.
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