Time was, Chevy Camaros looked good and went fast in a straight line, but that was about it. Then the ‘90s came along and Camaros couldn’t even do that, unless you paid for the SS.
In 2014 the Camaro has become an entirely different beast. The track tuned Z28 just managed a lap of the Nurburgring in 7:37.40, faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera S or a Lexus LFA.
For those of you who don’t know, the Nurburgring track has corners…lots of them. Traditionally, corners have been the arch nemesis of American performance cars. So how did this hulking beast with a 7.0-liter V8 just do beat a precision Japanese supercar like the LFA?
For starters, the suspension has been completely revised, allowing the car to handle 1.08 g of acceleration through the corners. The Brembo brakes are much bigger than the ones fitted to the standard car. And the big brakes are made from carbon, as opposed to the particularly dense cheese that seems to be used on old Camaros.
In a truly un-American fashion, Chevy designers stripped out all unnecessary weight from the Z28.
Put this together with a thundering 505 horsepower, race-derived V8 and the results are heart stopping.
Watching the in-car footage, which you can see below, is staggering. The Z28 hammers around slow corners at 60-70 mph and hits 160 on the straights. The soundtrack is just as mesmerizing. The massive aluminum block V8 roars from baritone to tenor as the driver slams through gears on the short throw six-speed. It’s a wonderful combination of pony car thrum and Indy car scream.
As good as the car is – and looks – the performance of test driver Adam Dean may just be better. The lap starts in the clear, albeit with a damp track surface, but by the time the car hits the back straight the driver is battling rain at speeds of 150 mph.
Given the rear-wheel drive Z28’s propensity to step out in the corners – as we see in several sphincter tightening moments – that feat took courage and balls of steel – and probably ovaries, too. Chevy engineers claim that their telemetry indicates the lap would have been a full six seconds faster on a dry track. Hopefully we get to see that.
Maybe just as impressive as the lap, though less captivating, was the testing this car was put through while at the dreaded ‘Ring. Chevy put its Camaro through 1,000 miles of laps, none which could have more than a two-percent variance from the target lap time in a 24 hour period. That, dear reader, is insane.
No word on price yet. We can hope and dream, though, that it won’t be as out of reach as the supercars the Camaro Z28 dethroned on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.