2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 rear 3/4 view

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is a Track Day Titan

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 front 3/4 view

A couple years ago, when Chevrolet was fixing to introduce a supercharged, super-capable version of the hit fifth generation Camaro, many motoring pundits figured it would be called the Z28. After all, the “regular” V8 Camaro had already bogarted the SS moniker. But when the sheet finally came off, it turned out it was called the ZL1 (after the aluminum 427 cubic-inch V8 installed in a handful of extra-special order 1969 COPO Camaros). Sometime later, there was word a hardcore track package was in development. Would this be the Z28 revival? Negative, Ghostrider; it’s called the 1LE, an option group available for the manual-trans SS coupe and named for a conceptually similar package offered on late third-gen Z28 and IROC-Z coupes.

So when word filtered out that Chevrolet would be rolling out the facelifted 2014 Camaro at the New York Auto Show this week, no one expected those three hallowed characters to make an appearance. But maybe that was Chevrolet’s plan all along, for at the end of the brand’s press conference this morning, it rolled out the 2014 Camaro Z/28 (note the old school slash in the name) to a cacophony of gasps, cheers and applause. And like the Z/28s of old, the new Z/28 is designed for attacking a road course with maximum fury.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 rear 3/4 view

Like all ’14 Camaros, the Z/28 features a new, thinner grille and headlights in front and new wraparound LED taillights in back. The hood (shared with the SS) features rear-facing vents, and there’s a front splitter, side skirts, aggressive rear spoiler, rear diffuser sandwiched by ZL1-style quad tailpipes, and oh-so-subtle fender flares. Wheels are unique 19” alloys (as opposed to 20” on the SS and ZL1) with a groovy star-like spoke design, and they wear super-sticky Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires. The smaller wheels reduce unsprung weight by a total of 42 lbs. and lower the car’s center of gravity by 1.3 inches. The four Brembo-supplied carbon-ceramic brake rotors save another 28 lbs. (in addition to providing increased resistance to fading), and the suspension is comprised of such trick bits as spool-valve dampers and firmer springs and bushings to help raise maximum cornering grip to 1.05 g.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 interior view

Climb inside and you’ll find a cockpit that’s largely unchanged from a ’13 Camaro. However, the Z/28 has some notable differences: A pair of leather-covered Recaro bucket seats with microfiber suede inserts (These seats will be optional on SS and ZL1 coupes.), optional rather than standard air conditioning, an audio system with just one speaker (Engineers wanted to remove the audio system altogether, but government regulations require a speaker for the seatbelt warning chime.) and thinner, lighter rear seat cushions. Other weight-shaving tricks scattered throughout the car include a thinner rear window, manual rather than power adjustment for the Recaros, a compact battery, and removal of the carpeting and sound insulation from the trunk. All told, the Z/28 is about 100 lbs. lighter than an SS and about 300 lbs. lighter than a ZL1.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 engine view

On their own, the above upgrades would make for a rather formidable apex muncher. But none of them are the Z/28’s party piece; no, that title belongs to the engine. It’s the outgoing Corvette Z06 and 427 Roadster’s 7.0L LS7 V8. Featuring a dry sump oiling system, 11:1 compression ratio and a cold air induction system with a K&N air filter, the engine makes an estimated 500hp and 470 lb.-ft of torque. The lone transmission choice is a Tremec 6-speed manual with exclusive gear ratios and a dedicated fluid cooler (There are also coolers for the engine oil and the helical-type limited-slip differential.), and the final drive ratio is a snappy 3.91:1.

Other than the 1.05 g in the corners and 1.5 g under braking, Chevrolet isn’t quoting any performance figures just yet. Nor is it discussing pricing for the Z/28, but we’re guessing it will come in a few grand under the ZL1’s $54,350 base price. Needless to say, we can’t wait to hear the final numbers. And we really can’t wait to try it out, preferably on a proper road course.

Source: Chevrolet

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