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The race-ready Camaro GT4.R lobs a new salvo of horsepower into the pony car war

Why it matters to you

The Mustang vs. Camaro rivalry has produced some great on-track moments over the years, and it looks like there are more in store.

After 50 years, the Ford Mustang versus Chevrolet Camaro rivalry is still going strong.

Chevy has a new racing version of its Camaro called the GT4.R. As the name suggests, it’s built to international GT4 class rules, so it can race in a variety of series in the United States and Europe against a variety of cars. One of those cars will be the GT4 version of the Mustang Ford unveiled last year. So does the Camaro GT4.R have what it takes to compete with its eternal rival?

To create this race car, Chevy basically combined two road-going versions of the Camaro. The body is based on the recently unveiled ZL1 1LE, arguably the most hardcore version of the Camaro available to people who don’t have a racing license. Working off that base, substantial modifications were made, including a change in engine.

More: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 first drive

The stock ZL1 1LE has┬áChevy’s LT4 6.2-liter supercharged V8, which produces 650 horsepower.┬áBut GT4 class rules prohibit the supercharged engine, so the Camaro GT4.r uses the naturally-aspirated LT1 6.2-liter V8 from the Camaro SS, tuned to about 420 hp. The GT4.R uses a six-speed sequential transmission, along with an Xtrac limited-slip differential at the back.

The job of turning a Camaro into a race car belongs to Pratt & Miller, the shop that builds Chevy’s Corvette race cars. In addition to the drivetrain swap, major changes are made to the suspension, including the installation of Ohlins two-way adjustable dampers. The stock electric power steering is also replaced with an old school hydraulic system, and virtually everything is stripped out of the interior. The GT4.R weighs 3,150 pounds, compared to 3,820 pounds for a stock ZL1 1LE.

The Camaro GT4.R made its racing debut over the weekend, in the Pirelli World Challenge round at St. Petersburg, Florida. It will continue to compete in that series, as well as the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, where it will go head to head with the Ford Mustang. Because it’s built to GT4 specs, the Camaro is also eligible to compete internationally.