2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Click image to enlarge

Preview by Justin Pritchard, photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Camaro fanatics the world over have yet another reason to grease up their mullets and bust out their acid-washed jeans: Last month’s New York Auto Show saw Chevrolet officials unveil the first overhaul of the new Camaro lineup since it launched a few years back.

The important stuff? It’s more aerodynamic, more track-capable, more efficient and sleeker than ever. Oh – and the Z/28 is coming back, too, and it’s going to kick serious ass. Best start downloading some ZZ Top onto your USB drives now.

Here’s the sticky: Range-wide, designers reworked the fascias to appear more aggressive and angry, with thinner headlights up front and a blocky, tall rear end with rectangular taillights that call to mind the last-generation Honda Prelude. More than a visual switch-up, the upgrades make the Camaro more aerodynamic, more planted and stable at speed, and even help it to run cooler by improving airflow through key cooling areas.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Click image to enlarge

The basic design enhancements will be shared by all Camaro models, but a slew of specific features are fitted to the new Z/28 to help make it the ultimate track-going Camaro yet.

“But what about my ZL1?” ask Camaro ZL1 owners all over the Internet. “Isn’t it the ultimate track-capable Camaro?!”
Chevrolet engineers say no. In fact, the Z/28 has made its way around Virginia International Raceway (VIR) some three seconds faster than the ZL1.

“We set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “While the Camaro ZL1 offers exceptional performance on the street, the drag strip and the track, the Z/28 is entirely focused on the track performance. The Z/28 will be too track-focused for most drivers, but offers road-racers one of the most capable track cars ever offered from an automaker.”

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Click image to enlarge

For instance, Brembo brakes in carbon ceramic, à la expensive supercar, are fitted for fade-free, extreme performance durability and 1.5 g-forces of available stopping power. Lightweight modifications, including thinner glass and lightweight wheels, mean the Z/28 is lighter than the ZL1 by about 136 kilograms.

Comprehensive chassis revisions enable a reported 1.05 g-forces in cornering acceleration— enough to leave the driver’s spleen on the inner door panel if the seatbelt weren’t holding it in. Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires in a less-than-modest 305/30ZR19 size help here, too.

Extended rocker panels, a front splitter and rear diffuser help to create functional downforce, and Z/28 only comes with a manual transmission. Plus, air conditioning isn’t included as standard — but great big sissies can add it back in if they like. Sound deadening? Gone. Battery? Smaller and lighter. Fancy xenon headlights and fog lights? Not a chance.

Take it all to mean that this is a serious, race-ready Camaro that isn’t for everybody.

“The team was so fanatical about saving weight, we even stripped the unused wiring out of the harness when we eliminated the fog lights, speakers, and air conditioning,” said Oppenheiser. “Every ounce saved contributed to making this the most track-capable Camaro we have ever built, and a worthy successor to the Z/28 name.”

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