Henry Payne, an automotive features writer for the The Detroit News, was fortunate enough to have an experience in a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 prototype, as he rode shot gun next to GM President Daniel Ammann during a hot lap at Spring Mountain Motorsports Park (just like our very own Manoli Katakis).
Aside from getting just a taste of the 2017 Camaro ZL1, Payne was also given a chance to speak with Ammann and Mark Reuss, GM Vice President for Product Development, about their work together. Reuss piloted the Camaro ZL1 prototype with the 10-speed automatic, while Ammann wheeled the six-speed manual.
Payne reports, “‘He’s really good,’ Reuss says of Ammann. ‘(Our driving skills) help product development every day … because we both understand cars, and what a broad torque range means and all that stuff.'”
Both Reuss and Ammann are “Level 6” drivers within General Motors, though Ammann’s certification came after Reuss recognized the native New Zealander’s driving potential. “I told the guys to put him in the driver program,” said Reuss. “He’s going to be able to do a very high level — I can see it in his temperament.”
Level 6 is an elite, and rather exclusive, driving group within the company. They are the best drivers GM employs, and are in charge of shaking down the most demanding performance vehicle programs. For example, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
“The program we have is an achievement-based program. It’s very intense,” Reuss told Payne. “Very few go to the point where they can do Nürburgring and all those things within a tenth of a second of a professional driver.”
The 2017 Camaro ZL1 launches at the end of the year, and we plan on counting down the days.