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The Z/28, revived as top-of-the-range variant for the sports car line, receives a number of performance upgrades making it a race-track wrecker.
Chevy Camaro Z/28 tuned for track time.
SOUTH HAVEN, MI – If there’s one overwhelming impression the ’14 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 leaves after a day at the track, it’s this: “sticky.”
The $75,000 Z/28, revived as a top-of-the-range variant for the sports car line for the first time since the previous-generation Camaro went out of production more than a decade ago, receives a number of performance upgrades making it a race-track wrecker.
Most notable of the tweaks are four insanely adherent Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R motorsport-compound tires. They are as wide as a linebacker’s bottom, measuring 11.5 ins. for the drive wheels. Cutouts are few, giving the tires big, fat contact patches with the pavement. Along with new chassis and brake hardware, the tires allow drivers to pull upwards of 1.05 g in the corners, as well as 1.5 g in deceleration, and bring even the trickiest turn or chicane to its knees.
The tires also are a lightweight variety and wrap around 19-in. aluminum wheels, which are relatively small for a Camaro but lower the Z/28’s center of gravity to further impart grip.
Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes serve as the backbone to the Z/28’s stopping power. The lightweight brakes are as large as the Camaro engineering team risked going, with 2-piece front rotors measuring 15.5 x 1.4 ins. matched to 6-piston calipers. The 2-piece rear rotors are only slightly smaller at 15.3 x 1.3 ins. and use 4-piston calipers.
During recent testing at GingerMan Raceway here, the tire, wheel and brake package combine to accommodate head-scratchingly-late braking into the turns. The Z/28 exits with few worries over the back end breaking loose.
The novice racer might appreciate the adhesion most, because it offsets whatever the driver might lack in daring.
Another testament to its stickiness comes along pit lane after running the 2-mile (3.2 km) GingerMan road course, as stones and debris come unglued from the Pirellis and spray the wheel wells.
Expert GM drivers used the setup to demolish Germany’s famed Nurburgring in an astonishing 7:37.47. The Z/28’s time was four seconds faster than the more power-dense Camaro ZL1 and, according to GM, quicker than published loops by the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.