It seems like every time a major European automotive journalist reviews an American sports car, they can’t help but reference America’s long history of building cars incapable of driving around corners. When Top Gear tested the wickedly fast Corvette ZR1 Jeremy Clarkson said “in the corners it’s a complete madman.” He compared the ZR1 to a V10 Audi R8. Unfortunately, Clarkson didn’t mention that the ZR1 lapped the Nurburgring 25 seconds faster than the R8.
Perhaps the new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 can help eliminate the stigma that surrounds American sports cars. Its engineers have carved 300 lbs. out of the car thanks to the use of lightweight materials, and to Spartan construction. Like the original Z/28 produced in 1967 to compete in SCCA races, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is built for the track.
In order to save weight air conditioning does not come standard with the car. The Camaro uses only 1 small speaker to emit a seatbelt warning chime – having no speakers would violate safety requirements. The carpeting in the trunk has been removed, as has sound deadening material in the cabin, fog lights and the wiring associated with the fog lights have been removed as well. Even the rear window has been made thinner to lighten the car.
The Z/28 will produce 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque thanks to a naturally aspirated 7.0-liter LS7 engine with a redline at 7,000 rpm. The engine is mated to a Tremec 6 speed manual transmission. As a nod to hardcore track enthusiasts, an automatic transmission will not be offered as an option – you’ll take the six-speed manual and like it says Chevy.
Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires help the Camaro pull 1.05 g in the corners (305s are used on all four corners). Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and a dry sump oiling system help the Z/28 stay on the track longer by avoiding brake fade and cooling issues.
Like the 2014 Camaro SS, the Camaro Z/28 sees a mid-cycle refresh with new headlights and LED taillights. The front grill is made narrower, while the air intakes below the front grill have been enlarged. Fender flairs, Recaro racing seats, a large front splitter, rear diffuser, and spoiler are all specific to the Z/28.
Chevy says the Camaro Z/28 will go on sale later in 2013 with pricing information to be released closer to the sale of the track oriented Camaro.