The new Z/28 is more than 300 pounds lighter than GM's supercharged Camaro ZL1 and features GM's 7-liter LS7 V-8 engine, certified at 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. Air conditioning is an option. (GM)
Milford— General Motors Co.’s new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 will be available late in the first quarter next year and is aimed at racing enthusiasts who want to drive the sports car on the track.
The historic Z/28 was introduced in 1967 and went away in 2002. Enthusiasts have been asking GM to bring back the Z/28 since GM brought the Camaro back into production in 2009.
The rear-wheel-drive muscle car, only available with a manual transmission, is not intended as a daily driver and production likely will be limited to about 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles a year, said Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer for the Camaro.
Oppenheiser said the product won approval from company leaders and board members despite its low volume.
The company knows the Camaro Z/28 will draw buyers into showrooms and Oppenheiser said GM is aiming to beat any vehicle rival Ford Motor Co. puts on the road.
“This is going to be the fastest, the most expensive, and in my opinion, the most memorable car in the fifth-generation Camaro,” he said. “And so you almost had to have the emotion be part of the business case to support us.”
The sports car, which features GM’s 7-liter LS7 V-8 engine, has been certified at 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque.
The company is continuing to develop the car before it begins production in the first quarter at GM’s Oshawa, Ont., plant.
The Camaro Z/28 was a surprise debut at the New York International Auto Show this year.
GM engineers have worked to enhance the vehicle’s grip on the track and said it can achieve a G-force of 1.08 in corners.
It also has better braking with Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, capable of 1.5 Gsin deceleration. It’s also more than 300 pounds lighter than GM’s supercharged Camaro ZL1, achieved by taking out weight in many areas such as the air conditioning; it’s available as an option.
“We didn’t put a ton of horsepower in this car,” said Mark Stielow, performance engineering manager for the Z/28. “We chose a light, efficient package and we need to make up all our time in the hardware spots. We need to brake harder, corner harder.”
The new Z/28 recorded a lap time of 1:53.71 at GM’s 2.9-mile Milford Road Course at the Milford Proving Ground. That’s nearly 3 seconds faster than the 2012 Camaro ZL1 and more than 5 seconds faster than the 2014 Camaro 1LE, 2012 Ford Mustang Boss302 Laguna Seca and more than 6 seconds better than the 2013 Mustang GT500.
GM also said the 2014 Z/28 recently recorded a lap time of 7:37.40 in the rain at the famous Nürburgring course in Germany. The lap time, recorded on a 12.7-mile track with more than 70 turns, is four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1 recorded and beats times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
GM said it expects the Z/28 could record a lap that is 6 seconds faster in dry conditions.
More than 190 parts are unique on the Z/28 from the 2014 Camaro 1SS. GM brought in supplier parts to help enhance the vehicle’s track capability such as using Pirelli Trofeo R tires, carbon ceramic Brembo brakes and Recaro seats.
“We didn’t spare a penny on this car,” Oppenheiser said.
Fuel economy, top speed and pricing have not been announced. But expect the Camaro Z/28 to be priced above the Camaro ZL1, which is more than $56,000.