Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28 Reasons the 2015 Camaro Z/28 is a Road Racing Monster

2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 - photos courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 has generated considerable buzz in the automotive world as it promises to be the most potent pony car General Motors has ever produced. While the model is impressive to drive on the road, in the end it was designed to be first and foremost a track machine. GM engineers concentrated on a number of features and innovations that make the car an incredible contender on just about any course. Following are 28 reasons why the new Camaro Z/28 is more of a track monster than the average person likely realizes.

1. LS7 with dry-sump oiling system
The LS7 is an engine that was created for high-performance applications like racing on a track for lap after lap. Among the features that help the engine withstand the high revs associated with competitive driving are a forged-steel crankshaft, high-flow cylinder heads, titanium connecting rods, and titanium intake valves. The dry-sump oiling system ensures proper oil pressure during hard cornering maneuvers and was lifted from GM's motorsports experience.

2. High-performance limited-slip differential
Chevrolet optimizes the Z/28's cornering ability and traction when exiting corners by using a zero-preload, high-performance limited slip differential. A concentric helical gear set design helps provide traction that is proportional to the torque input. The result is a limited-slip differential that provides constant torque biasing and differentiation sent to the rear wheels. The design also maximizes the functionality of the antilock brakes on each wheel individually, which improves corner entry braking, corner-exiting traction, and mid-corner speed management. The driver can apply more power when going through turns without losing control, which helps shave precious seconds off the car's lap time. 

3. Specialized brakes
The Z/28 isn't outfitted with just run-of-the-mill performance brakes. It wears Brembo carbon ceramic matrix brakes that are made especially for track racing applications. The two-piece front rotors measure 15.5 by 1.4 inches and are mated with monobloc, fixed calipers with six pistons each. The rear rotors are also made of two pieces and measure 15.3 by 1.3 inches. As for the rear calipers, they feature four pistons each. The brake system weighs 9.6 kilograms less than the brakes on the Camaro SS, helping reduce the car's unsprung mass. Being that they are made of carbon ceramic, there is little brake fade, even when the car is driven lap after lap. As for braking performance, a 60 to 0 mph stop takes less than 120 feet on a skid pad, which is impressive. To cap it all off, the pads are made for high-performance applications, with electronic pad-wear sensors that alert the driver when servicing is required.

4. Performance differential cooler
Engineers leaned on their experience from developing the Camaro ZL1, fabricating a unique differential cooler to improve the Z/28's performance. An integral heat exchanger means there is no external pump, relays, wiring, fan or temperature sensors. Any overcooled transmission fluids flow to the heat exchanger, which is located in the differential housing. The excess heat is removed from the fluid, at up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping performance consistent during long and aggressive track sessions.

5. Six-speed manual transmission
The TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual transmission has been used in the Camaro ZL1 and Cadillac CTS V-Series with wonderful success. The configuration of the transmission works well with high-performance engines and it facilitates short throws. All gears come with double and triple cone synchronizers, which provide more friction surfaces that make transitioning gears a much easier and more precise task.

6. Wheels and tires
Many times, car enthusiasts don't spend enough time selecting tires and wheels that lend themselves to performance. Fortunately, GM engineers took their time selecting the best tires and wheels for the Z/28. The setup consists of P305/30/ZR19 tires on the front and rear that are mounted on 19 by 11-inch front wheels and 19 by 11.5-inch rear wheels. That configuration is helpful when it comes to track stability. First of all, the front wheels and tires are wider than what is found on similar sport coupes, which makes the car more surefooted on the track. Using 19-inch wheels lowers the car's center of gravity, which positively impacts handling. The wheels are made of forged aluminum, which are not only lighter but also feature an increased level of rigidity when compared to the wheels on the Camaro SS. The tires were designed for summer driving and track applications, with a large contact patch for excellent grip. An additional 29.5 pounds are shaved off by the tires versus what comes on the Camaro SS.

7. High-flow air intake
Chevrolet optimizes air flow into the engine by using an open air box intake setup, which is a unique setup. The design takes full advantage of high engine revs, which are common when racing on a track. A K&N conical air filter helps the air intake provide the best airflow out of any production Camaro air intake, ever. The air filter is also placed outside of the engine bay, which helps guard against the hot air from the engine and exhaust being recirculated into the engine.

8. Active dual-mode exhaust
The dual-mode exhaust not only allows exhaust gases to escape the engine faster, it also produces a more aggressive sound that matches the looks of the Camaro Z/28. The system actively engages valves that alter the flow of the exhaust, automatically adapting to what's best for performance in a given scenario. The whole system works off of the engine's rpm and the gear selected on the transmission, meaning the driver does not have to worry about it.

9. Air conditioning
Weight is kept low in different ways, which boosts performance. Not including air conditioning helps the car shave off 12.9 kilograms. If a buyer really wants air conditioning, it is available as an option.

10. Performance Traction Management
The Z/28 comes with a Performance Traction Management (PTM) system that ties together Traction Control, the chassis mode selection and Active Handling. The system was tuned carefully by engineers to provide a highly consistent level of road course performance. For example, the driver can press on the accelerator as the car exits a turn, achieving wide open throttle without losing control. The driver can also select one of five performance modes which are optimized for various driving conditions.

11. High-performance fuel system
Engineers thought about fuel delivery to the LS7 when the Z/28 is flying around a track. The fuel system is set up with a primary fuel pump reservoir that always stays full, even when the Camaro is cornering hard. The result is optimal engine performance, no matter how quickly the drivers whips the car through sharp turns. 

12. Lightweight brake rotors
The carbon ceramic brake rotors used on the Z/28 shaves off 9.6 kilograms of weight. The savings lowers the car's curb weight and also helps improve handling since it lowers the amount of total unsprung weight.

13. Lightweight wheels and tires
As you already know, engineers worked to drop weight wherever they could. The aluminum wheels saved 8.7 kilograms, thanks to a design with a back-cut located at the rim. The result is a spin inertia that is reduced by 5 percent. In addition, the tires help save 13.2 kilograms.

14. Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve
A first for a high-volume production car, the Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve damper technology for the Z/28 was developed by Multimatic. A pair of spool valves that are self-piloted control the dampers' fluid as it moves through tuned ports instead of through deflected disc dampers, like in conventional setups. A high level of suspension stiffness, response, and overall tuning is provided by the inverted-monotube front strut and the aluminum-body monotube rear hydraulic dampers. What this means is that the suspension offers maximum control for the driver, thanks to a level of stiffness that almost doubles what the dampers on the Camaro SS provide.

15. Belly pan
A belly pan is located on the car's underbody, helping prevent front lift. The design also helps cool off the drivertrain.

16. Rocker and wheel flare moldings
The rocker moldings are specific to the Z/28 and were designed in a wind tunnel for aerodynamic performance. The wheel flare moldings were designed to cover the wider tires used on the car. The front wheel flares feature deflectors at the bottom-front corners, helping provide increased downforce for improved handling at high speeds.

17. Upgraded lower control arm ride link bushing
The lower control arm bushing was redesigned for a 50 percent increase in stiffness, which improves brake force deflection steer and produces a more consistent steering performance.

18. Upgraded rear upper control arm and lower trailing link bushings
The rear upper control arm bushings were redesigned for a 400 percent increase in stiffness, which was achieved by eliminating voids in the configuration. The design also improved toe-change compliance during braking for further handling improvements. The lower trailing link bushings were redesigned for 25 percent more stiffness, which works to provide better handling during hard cornering.

19. Rear seat
The rear seat in the Z/28 was designed to be incredibly lightweight. It weighs 4.7 kilograms less than the one in the Camaro SS, thanks to a setup that calls for less foam and a fixed seatback instead of a folding function.

20. Wheelhouse liners
The wheelhouse liners in the front of the Z/28 feature closeouts that are designed to optimized airflow in the underbody. The design optimizes the car's aerodynamics, improving efficiency and performance.

21. Rear glass
The rear window glass measures 3.2 millimeters thick instead of 3.5 millimeters thick, like on other Camaros. The move saves 400 grams of weight.

22. Optimized coil springs and stabilizer bars
The stiffness rate of the car's coil springs was increased by 85 percent in the front and 65 percent in the rear. As a result, the body moves less, which allowed engineers to use small and lighter-weight stabilizer bars, helping keep the car's curb weight down.

23. Short-throw shifter.
The Z/28 is outfitted with a 5.1-ratio short-throw shifter that helps the driver make quicker and more precise gear switches. The setup is similar to what's found in the Camaro SS 1LE and ZL1.       

24. Front splitter
A large aero panel or front splitter produces considerable downforce on the car's nose. The benefit is increased stability and cornering ability at high speeds. Further enhancing the car's aerodynamics are an aero closeout panel that is also located under the front portion of the engine, and aero features ahead of the front wheels. The front splitter's tip can resist up to 250 pounds of downforce.

25. Rear spoiler
Engineers used the rear spoiler from the Camaro SS to provide optimal downforce, modifying it to incorporate a "wickerbill" or a small tab that stands vertically at the edge of the spoiler. The small modification increased lift by 70 counts, which means the Z/28 can take turns safely at higher speeds. The wickerbill modification also increases the car's stability at higher speeds.

26. Strut tower brace
The strut tower brace on the Z/28 was lifted directly from the SS 1LE. The brace transfers any load from each strut tower in a cornering scenario, sharing the load between the two towers. The ultimate result is less chassis flex and improved handling.

27. Hood extractor
The carbon fiber hood extractor isn't just for looks. It functions to increase cooling for the engine by providing an exit route for hot air. Engineers patterned the design somewhat off the hood extractor on the Camaro ZL1.

28. Front fascia

A unique front fascia was designed for optimal airflow and lightness. The design took the front fascia from the Camaro SS and deleted the foglights, upper-base grille, and air dam. The design on the Z/28 features front brake cooling ducts to help prevent brake fade. 

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