SOUTH HAVEN, MI – Chevrolet Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser says the nameplate’s new Z/28 model is no answer to the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition; instead, the most racetrack-capable Camaro ever built takes aim at paddock royalty such as the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R.

“We wanted to take a leap beyond the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro competition and shoot for the exotics,” Oppenheiser tells WardsAuto during a media event for the Z/28 at GingerMan Raceway here.

“Shoot for the 911s and GT-Rs, and see if we can’t be in the same conversation with those cars, because our leadership took off the restraints and let us do a track car,” he says. “We had no restrictions on what we needed to do to make the ultimate track-capable Camaro.”

That meant General Motors engineers were encouraged to tap into the latest lightweight and performance technologies, and if a vehicle feature kept the car from going faster and was not required by law, it was stripped out or offered as optional equipment.

For example, floor mats are not available and neither is a tire inflator kit, except in two states where it is mandatory. Air conditioning is a stand-alone option. The Z/28 also was absolved of any CAFE contribution, and because it would sell only in the U.S., its market-specific requirements were narrowed.

Internal profitability targets took a back seat, too, Oppenheiser says.

“We’re not doing this to help the bottom line. The ZL1 does that for us,” he says of the Z/28’s supercharged, more daily-driver-oriented stable mate. “The ZL1 has been such a hit and so profitable, it allows us to do a car like the Z/28.”

The $75,000 Z/28 employs a number of technologies appearing for the first time on an OEM vehicle, such as its Pirelli Trofeor tires and Multimatic DSSV suspension dampers. Unique parts or designs appear on each of its vehicle systems – from the Pankl titanium connecting rods inside its 500-hp engine and the Torsen helical limited-slip differential of the driveline, to the 150 lbs. (68 kg) aerodynamic downforce and lightweight, fade resistant Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.