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Car Tech Spotlight: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

March 25, 2014
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Without a doubt, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is a remarkable vehicle. It is a pricey ride—pricing starts at $75,000—but one with notable performance. This Chevy beat other supercars at Nürburgring with a lap time of 7 minutes, 37.4 seconds. The street-legal, fifth generation Camaro may be great, but Chevrolet engineers themselves admitted that it needed some work.

Automobile Magazine recently revealed how Chevrolet engineers made the Camaro Z/28 street car better prepared for the track and what kind of car technologies were used to improve the vehicle.

First are the wheels. The Camaro Z/28 used Pirelli Trofeo R tires, which provide superb traction. However, the engineers found that the tires vibrated under acceleration and braking, and eventually learned that the main problem involved the 505-hp V-8 engine and the carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. These proved too much for the wheels, which were shifting within the tires.

Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran confirms this. “We mark the tire and wheel separately with chalk and then take the car out for a lap, and we see that the marks indicated that the wheels were rotating within the tires by 10 degrees. Then we realize that the wheels had actually rotated 370 degrees,” he said.

The engineers addressed the problem with media blasting, the process of roughing up the metal’s surface to increase friction between the tire and wheel, and in turn keep the tire in its place.

Next is suspension. The brand choose Multimatic to provide the Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers on the Camaro Z/28. These dampers allow the engineering team to simplify and adjust internal tuning accordingly. The Chevrolet team developed tuning for both the street and track to ensure comfort and high-speed handling alike.

Aerodynamics also play a key role in making the Camaro Z/28 the vehicle that it is. The front aero splitter, the hood air-extractor vent and the underbody belly pan are not unique to the Z/28 (these are standard features in most high-performance autos), but certain features are. One of these features are the slats found on the wheel arches. These help make the car more aerodynamic because they steer air around the wheels.

Then there is the engine, which needs a lot of air to remain cool. Engineers of the Camaro Z/28 initially thought to do without the grille, but eventually decided to retain the grille and bring in more air through the car’s emblem instead.

It was Richard Quinn, powertrain cooling development engineer, who came up with the idea. He thought to cut a hole in the Chevy’s bowtie emblem so that more air can pass through the engine compartment. The change in the emblem may not be significant, but the additional air flow is—the hole allows 106 cubic feet of air to penetrate the engine compartment per minute. It is enough to keep the motor compartment cool.

Lastly, there is the Camaro’s flying car logic. No, this Chevy does not fly, but it does maintain traction whenever it lands after lifting off the ground. Unlike an ordinary car, the Camaro Z/28 does not lose speed after it goes airborne. The vehicle is equipped with sensors that detect the change in height and tells the traction-management system to retain power so speed is unchanged.

Photo credit: chevrolet.com

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