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2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Returns as Track-Ready Performance Model

3/28/2013
People who remember the Camaro Z/28 as a stripes-and-paint version of a standard Camaro don't realize that the original 1967 Z/28 was built specifically to compete in the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am 2 racing class. With Chevrolet's announcement of the new 2014 Camaro Z/28 at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, it appears the automaker clearly remembers the Z/28's legacy.

"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."

Building on the enhancements made to the 2014 Camaro lineup, the new 2014 Camaro Z/28 is designed for optimum performance at a track, and proves more capable in that environment than the current Camaro ZL1, according to Chevy. To achieve this goal, the new Camaro Z/28 is 300 pounds lighter than the ZL1 and 100 pounds lighter than the Camaro SS; can tackle a corner with 1.05 g of grip; and is equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes capable of delivering 1.5 g of deceleration force, the automaker says. A full aerodynamics package with a front splitter, fender flares, extended rocker panels, large rear spoiler, and a functional diffuser panel add critical downforce at high speeds.

A hand-assembled, naturally aspirated, LS7 7.0-liter V-8 engine from the 2013 Corvette Z06 is installed under the hood of the new 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28, equipped with a 7,000-rpm redline and estimated to generate 500 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. A dry-sump oiling system and a cold-air intake system are standard equipment, as well as high-performance engine, transmission, and differential cooling systems. The rear differential employs a helical gear set to continually adjust torque bias and maximize traction, Chevy says.

The 7.0-liter V-8 engine is paired exclusively with a manual transmission, just like the original '67 model. And like that '67, air conditioning is not included as standard equipment, though it can be added as an option.

Inside, the new Camaro Z/28 has standard manually adjustable Recaro sport seats trimmed with microfiber suede inserts and equipped with cutouts to accommodate a 5-point racing harness. A flat-bottomed steering wheel from the Camaro ZL1 is standard, and the Z/28 gets a unique matte-metallic cabin trim called Octane.

The rear seats in the Camaro Z/28 are modified for weight reduction, and the pass-through to the car's trunk is eliminated. Chevrolet has also removed the interior sound deadening material, trunk carpeting, all but one speaker, and unnecessary wiring in order to save weight. The Z/28 also has thinner rear window glass and a smaller battery to reduce excess pounds, except in states where it is required, and there is no tire inflation kit.

"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."

Additional performance modifications include the use of spool-valve dampers, stiffer spring rates and suspension bushings, and lightweight 19-inch forged aluminum wheels wearing ultra-high-performance Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires sized 305/30ZR19. Chevy uses a 19-inch wheel-and-rubber combination to reduce unsprung weight and lower the center of gravity, compared to larger 20-inch components.

Chevrolet says the new 2014 Camaro Z/28 will be available in early 2014.

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