At this week’s New York Auto Show, Chevrolet rolled out its restyled 2014 Camaro line with the highlight being the return of the Camaro Z/28. The four-passenger, front-engine, rear-drive coupé is billed as the “most track-capable offering in Camaro’s history” and the ”most significant redesign since the introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro as a concept car in 2006.”
An exercise in single-minded concentration on track performance through a new aerodynamics package and radical weight reduction, the Camaro Z/28 is the latest take on the classic racer that came out in 1967. The original was created for the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am 2 class and was intended for road racing with a 302-cubic-inch V-8 and heavy-duty suspension, but lacked such amenities as an automatic transmission or air conditioning.
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 isn’t intended for race competition. Instead, it’s more track minded. “We set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “While the Camaro ZL1 offers exceptional performance on the street, the drag strip, and the track, the Z/28 is entirely focused on the track performance. The Z/28 will be too track-focused for most drivers, but offers road-racers one of the most capable track cars ever offered from an automaker.”
Part of Chevrolet’s plan to achieve this was a drastic program of weight reduction with the Camaro Z/28 tipping the scales 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the ZL1. “We looked at every subsystem for opportunities to save weight,” said Oppenheiser. “Our goal was to get rid of everything that didn’t make the car faster, and keep only what was required by law. For example, we wanted to eliminate the audio system completely, but we had to keep a single speaker for the seat-belt chime to meet safety requirements.”
Legal requirements are also the reason why the Z/28 comes with a tire-inflator kit in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, but not in other states where the law does not require it. Other weight-saving measures include removing carpeting from the boot and interior sound dampening insulation, replacement of the LN4 battery with the lighter LN3, and the rear window thickness was reduced from the standard 3.5 mm to 3.2 mm.
“The team was so fanatical about saving weight, we even stripped the unused wiring out of the harness when we eliminated the fog lights, speakers, and air conditioning,” said Oppenheiser. “Every ounce saved contributed to making this the most track-capable Camaro we have ever built, and a worthy successor to the Z/28 name.”
With a wheelbase of 112.3 inches (2,852 mm), the Camaro Z/28 tries hard to echo the lines of the 1967 original and it does have a solid American muscle car feel to it, though with a lot of aerodynamic design thrown in for downforce and stability at track speeds. This is reflected in front with its disproportionately wide opening and the bonnet vent for cooling and aerodynamic lift reduction. Chevrolet kept the profile lines simple without being boxy, though the attempt to emulate the 1967 rear boot lid does come off as jarringly flat. Underneath, there’s a large splitter on the underbody panel and an aggressive rear spoiler helps with downforce generation.
Source - gizmag.com
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