Having just returned from the 2013 New York Auto Show where Chevrolet unveiled the 2014 Camaro Z/28, we’ve amassed the top five things we really like about the new track-oriented sports car.
It’s Actually Coming To Market
If you said, even a year ago, that Chevrolet would offer a Camaro with DSSV shocks, optional air conditioning, and an audio system with just one speaker, you would have been laughed at for being too idealistic. And possibly beaten up. But the world is full of surprises, and the 2014 Z/28 Camaro is perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises enthusiasts have received from Chevrolet since ever. It’s not a concept, it’s the real thing, and we were able to witness its unveiling during the 2013 New York Auto Show. And it’s claimed to be the most hard-core and track-oriented Camaro of the entire lineup.
From the ankle-biting splitter, to the plus-sized rear spoiler, along with the integrated hood extractor, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 promises to make substantial gains in downforce over the rest of the lineup, including the Camaro ZL1. At high speed, it’s the physics of downforce that keeps a vehicle suction-cupped to the track, allowing for faster cornering speeds and improved maneuverability. The Z/28 also features fender flares over the front and rear wheels, as well as extended rocker panels that contribute to aerodynamic stability.
Chevrolet claims that the new Z/28 is 300 pounds lighter than the already-incredible, 580 horsepower ZL1. That puts the new Z/28 in the ballpark of 3,900 pounds. Not exactly a Corvette Stingray, but considering how capable the ZL1 is despite its weight, a 300-pound drop in heft should do wonders for that chassis.
The weight reduction on the Z/28 is found all over the car. The wheels, for instance, save weight in their thinner spoke design. The standard rear seat foam is swapped for lighter, thinner foam, saving 42 pounds. The Recaro racing seats have to be adjusted manually, saving a lot of weight by not utilizing motorized, electronic adjustments. The rear-seat pass-through to the trunk was even eliminated, saving nine pounds. Doesn’t seem like much, but stuff like that adds up.
Camaro Z/28 engineers also went on to remove interior sound insulation, and carpeting from the trunk. But it doesn’t stop there. Even the standard LN4 battery was swapped out for a lighter LN3 unit, as was the standard 3.5 mm rear window glass for 3.2 mm glass; HID lights were removed, as were fog. And as stated above, the air-conditioning unit is not a standard feature, though it is the vehicle’s standalone option. Opting out of using Magnetic Ride Control also saved some mass.
The 7.0-Liter LS7 V8 Engine
The LS7 is, in our opinion, the best General Motors engine on the market. In the application of the Camaro Z/28, it produces 500 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Despite being naturally aspirated, the torque is still substantial on the low end, but rev the LS7 up to just under its 7,000 RPM redline, and the driver is rewarded with all of the power, and a sound that will make every Mustang owner soil themselves within a 10 mile radius.
The cast-aluminum block boasts a high 11.0:1 compression ratio, a forged crankshaft, high-lift camshaft, hydroformed exhaust headers, CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves and connecting rods, and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Oh, and don’t forget about the 10.5-quart dry-sump lubrication system. Camaro engineers also took things the next level by adding a cold-air induction system and a large K&N air filter for maximum air flow.
The DSSV Suspension
The Camaro Z/28 does not use Magnetic Ride Control like the ZL1. But it doesn’t need it. As we reported previously, the Z/28 is one of the first production cars fitted with race-proven, spool-valve dampers — the first being the Aston Martin One-77. Compared to a conventional damper that offers only two-way tuning for compression and rebound, a spool-valve damper allows four-way adjustment to precisely tune both compression and rebound settings for high speeds and low speeds. The wider tuning range allowed engineers to dramatically increase the damper stiffness on the Camaro Z/28 without a significant change in ride quality.
Additional chassis changes include stiffer spring rates and suspension bushings for improved cornering response. All-in-all, the Z/28 is capable of cornering at 1.05 G-forces on the skid pad. Compared to 1 G in cornering, the increased 1.05 G can cut up to four seconds per lap around the Milford Road Course, keeping all other things equal.