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Chevrolet’s fast and light Camaro Z/28 returns for track duty

2014 Camaro Z/28 front three quarterJust when we thought the Camaro couldn’t get any more awesome, Chevrolet has pulled off an epic comeback: the Camaro Z/28, a hallowed name from the 1960s, will be reborn as part of a refreshed 2014 Camaro lineup.

Chevy’s existing Camaro ZL1 sets a pretty high bar, but the Z/28 will be entirely different in character. It’s designed for one purpose: to devour racetracks. Chevy says the Z/28 is three seconds faster per lap than the ZL1 on its test track.

For that extra speed, buyers will have to sacrifice some comfort. Chevy removed interior sound deadening materials, the trunk carpeting, and installed thinner glass for the rear window.

Air conditioning is an option, and there is only one speaker for the stereo (which is now mono). General Motors North America president Mark Reuss said he wanted to remove all of the speakers, but engineers needed to leave one for the door chime.

Under the hood is a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated V8. Based on the unit from the C6 Corvette Z06, it produces 500 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. It’s coupled to a six-speed manual transmission.

Chevy also specified unique carbon ceramic brakes for the Z/28, specially designed to prevent fade during track driving.

The Z/28 gets the same revised styling as other 2014 Camaros, including a tweaked grille that Chevy says is more aerodynamic, and taillights that look like they were taken off a 2001 Honda Prelude. The Z/28 also gets a front splitter connected to an underbody tray for increased aerodynamic efficiency.

Camaro Z/28 frontThe original Z/28 became a legend because of its adroit combination of power and handling. It was designed to take on the Ford Mustang Boss 302 in Trans-Am racing, and that’s more or less the role the new Z/28 will fulfill.

Trans-Am is long gone, but the Boss 302 is still around. If the ZL1 is a no-compromise performance car like the Ford Shelby GT500, then the Z/28 is a track rat like the Boss.

The 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 will appear at track events in the spring of 2014, and will go on sale shortly after that. When it does, buying a Camaro will get a whole lot harder.

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