The Shelby GT 500 was the target Chevy aimed at with the reintroduction of the Camaro Z28, but this track-centric car goes well beyond that with performance that can embarrass some of the best European sports cars.
The car’s 7.0L dry-sump LS7 V-8 is capable of reaching 7,000 RPM thanks to titanium rods and intake valves, a forged-steel crank, hydroformed exhaust headers, a cold air intake, dual mode exhaust and CNC-ported heads. It also includes the same engine and gearbox cooling systems as the ZL1 to handle track duty. The engine’s 505 hp and 481 pound-feet of torque is sent to a limited slip differential via a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual.
Stopping is handled by Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes while a front splitter underbody panel, flared fenders, wider rockers, rear diffuser and spoiler help reduce aerodynamic drag and provide the downforce needed for stability at high speeds. Track times are further aided by a stiffened chassis and a new suspension system with 4-way adjustable dampers and the first application of spool valves in a production car.
There are a few things you won’t find in the Z28, namely sound deadening, trunk carpet, HID headlamps and fog lights. The lone option adds air conditioning and a stereo while the tire inflation kit is only included in states that require it by law. Thinner rear glass, manual front seats, a smaller battery and stripped-down rear seat help to reduce weight; the 19-inch wheels alone account for a weight savings of 42 pounds over the 20-inch rims found on the ZL1. The result is a curb weight around 3,800 pounds, 300 pounds less than the ZL1.
The Z28 spent over 1,000 miles on the Nurburgring to fine tune the suspension. While it was there, the car clocked a lap time of 7:37.47 with half of the lap driven in the rain, which was faster than a Lamborghini Murcielago. Given a dry track, the car could shave another 3 to 4 seconds off that time, placing it alongside exotic machinery like the Pagani Zonda F.
Pricing for the Camaro Z28
The Z28 costs around $75,000, putting it well within Corvette territory yet still offers serious bang for the buck.
Barrett Jackson auctioned off the first production car to NASCAR team owner and Chevy dealership magnate Rick Hendren for $650,000 with proceeds going to Cornerstone Schools.
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