When it goes on sale this spring, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 will carry a suggested retail price of $75,000. The figure includes a $995 destination charge (and the gas-guzzler tax), but excludes tax, title, license, and dealer fees.
Offered in five exterior colors, including Red Hot, Black, Silver Ice Metallic, Ashen Gray Metallic, and Summit White, the only option the Z/28 will offer is a $1,150 package that adds air conditioning and a total of six audio speakers, compared to the one speaker that’s part of the standard Z/28 package.
“The Camaro Z/28 is an uncompromising performer that’s bred for the track – and every one of its unique components supports the goal of faster lap times,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “It takes the Z/28 back to its racing roots and adds to the strong lineup of Chevrolet performance cars, including a revamped Camaro SS and supercharged ZL1, as well as the SS sedan, Corvette Stingray convertible and 2015 Corvette Z06, which we’ll introduce at the North American International Auto Show next week.”
The Z/28’s exterior contains several unique elements seen on race cars to produce downforce, thereby pressing the tires against the track for greater grip — up to 1.08G in cornering acceleration and faster lap times. The optimized aerodynamics of the Z/28’s exterior helped the Camaro flagship lap Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course that was four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1’s and beat published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
The SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb.-ft. of torque (652 Nm) is the result of the 7.0-liter LS7 engine with dry-sump oiling. The engine is built by hand at the new Performance Build Center within GM’s Bowling Green assembly plant. The LS7 is mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission — the only gearbox available — sending power to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD). The LSD features a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs, for optimal traction, and works in conjunction with Chevy’s proprietary Traction Management System, enabling drivers to adjust the level of throttle and braking intervention to match their capability and driving environment.
The Z/28 is also one of the very first production cars equipped with race-proven spool-valve dampers that allow four-way damping control, enabling engineers to precisely tune both bump and rebound settings for high-speed and low-speed wheel motions. “The wider tuning range also allows dramatically greater damper stiffness without a significant change in ride quality”, according to Chevrolet. The changes to the chassis are rounded out by stiffer spring and bushing rates for improved cornering response.
Putting it all down to the pavement are lightweight 19-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires. The setup reduces unsprung weight by 49.6 pounds (22.5 kilograms) per car compared to the 20-inch wheels that are standard on the Camaro SS and ZL1. Notably, the huge 305/30ZR19 PZero Trofeo R tires represent the first production-car application in the industry and are believed to be the widest front tire on any production car.
A balanced race car needs to be able control its great power with great stopping ability. That’s why the Z/28 also features Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix rotors and fixed monoblock calipers. The large 394 x 36 mm front rotors are paired with six-piston calipers, while the 390 x 32 mm rear rotors are paired four-piston calipers. The discs also contribute to a weight-savings, with the lightweight carbon discs saving 28 pounds (12.5 kg) per car compared to similarly-sized two-piece steel rotors.
This winning combination of tire grip and braking power enable the Camaro Z/28 to achieve at least 1.5 g in deceleration. What’s more, the standard front brake cooling ducts enable the car to be used for continuous track use.
The Camaro Z/28 continues the racing theme inside, with a distinctive matte-metallic-finished trim called Octane, a flat-bottom steering wheel and Recaro seats with microfiber inserts. The seats feature aggressive bolsters for high-performance driving, as well as seat cutouts inspired by the five-point harnesses found on racing seats. To save weight, both front seats are adjusted manually.
In addition, the Z/28’s rear seats have been modified for weight reduction. Nine pounds (four kilograms) were saved by eliminating the seat-back pass-through and by using high-density foam in place of the rigid structure of the seat back and steel mesh of the seat bottom.
Additional examples of weight savings include:
- Elimination of the tire-inflator kit, except for Rhode Island and New Hampshire, where it is required by law
- Removal of some interior sound deadener, as well as trunk carpet
- Use of a smaller, lighter battery
- Thinner rear-window glass – 3.2 mm vs. the standard 3.5 mm
- Elimination of high-intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps and fog lights
- No air conditioning except as part of the single option package
Customers will be able to order the Camaro Z/28 in late January, with the first cars slated for delivery in the spring. Rights to the first Camaro Z/28, VIN 0001, will be auctioned at Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. on January 18.