Living up to expectations and then some, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 has officially blasted around the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in a stunning 7 minutes 35.47 seconds. That time around the grueling 12.8-mile course is impressive in it own right, being faster than cars like the 991 Porsche 911 Carrera S, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera and the Ferrari F430 Scuderia as well as in-family overachievers like the C6 Corvette ZO6 and the supercharged Camaro ZL1. However, it's even more amazing when you consider that a good part of the legendary German circuit was either damp or being actively rained on during the Z/28's best evaluation lap.
"One of the challenges of testing at the 'Ring is that the track is so long that conditions can change radically in a single lap," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "Adam Dean, the development driver for Z/28, did a heroic job driving in deteriorating conditions. Based on telemetry data from our test sessions, we know the Z/28 can be as much as six seconds faster on a dry track." If that proves to be the case, this new Camaro would be on the same competitive plane as supercars like the Porsche Carrera GT and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT.
The Z/28's efforts at the world most famous factory testing venue, which comprised 10 hours and 1,000 miles of chronicled at-speed work, was part of GM's own "24-Hour Test" regimen. Begun in the early 1990s with the C4 Corvette, it's used to precisely measure and monitor various performance aspects of a car in a way that simulates a full year's worth of track-use wear and tear in a single equivalent day.
"Passing the 24-Hour Test is a requirement for all cars we call 'track capable,'" said Wayne McConnell, director of global vehicle performance. "The test pushes the car at 10/10ths on the track for a total of 24 hours. During the test the only mechanical changes allowed are replacing the brakes and tires." Equally important, McConnell points out that each lap must be completed within two percent of a given target time to have it count toward the 24-hour total.
Although its naturally aspirated 505-horspower/7.0-liter LS7 V8 gives away 75 horses to the ZL1's 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V8, the Z/28 turned out to be nearly 4.0 seconds quicker around the Nürburgring. Oppenheiser attributes that edge to three functional areas. For openers, a comprehensive weight reduction program gives the Z/28 a huge 300-pound weight advantage. A variety of chassis tweaks also allows it to pull a superior 1.08g of lateral acceleration when cornering and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes give the Z/28 more pure stopping power.
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 will arrive in showrooms next spring. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.
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