In Conclusion At a gathering like this the inevitable question is, "Who won?," but that's not what this was about. What's important is that 10 suspension companies had enough confidence in their wares to come to the event and let us beat the ever-loving crap out of their cars. Many came thousands of miles to participate; one company came from Canada. They wanted to show you, the readers, that the parts they sell aren't just pretty baubles designed to look good at the local cruise night, but performance parts capable of making old and outdated muscle cars handle more like the newer muscle cars of today.
That brings us to the matter of times. Remember that the time recorded for a particular test only tells part of the story. We doubt most of you will ever put your car though a slalom or drive at the edge of traction around a 200-foot circle. Like us, what you really want is for your Chevy to be safer and handle better than it did stock. When shopping for a suspension system, you need to consider things like cost, complexity of installation, street manners, and even aesthetics. Are you more concerned that your car can carve through an autocross course a couple of seconds faster than the next guy, or is having great ride quality on top of your list? Set a goal for your car, fix a budget and then go for it knowing that you're installing parts that the companies are confident in.
On the following pages are the results from the first two cars in our competition, the CPP Nova and the Ridetech Camaro, and see the times they ran in the event. In the next four issues, we'll bring you features and test results from the other eight cars.
We can't wait for next year!
Baseline '10 Camaro SS Track Impression By Mary Pozzi I took my first autocross run in the '10 Camaro SS with the traction control (TCS) intentionally left on, and predictably it engaged either the ABS or cut power at every opportunity. In its defense, the TCS had good reason as there was some serious sideways fun going on! For subsequent runs, I got the damn TCS off and then got down to finding some handling and braking limits for this car. As written about ad nauseum and unless you are from another planet, I will remind the readers that '10 Camaro SS power is huge. It's a flatten you in the seat type of power, and it happens quickly; this car just plain hauls butt in a straight line.
Turning right and left at autocross speeds pose problems, however, as in this environment, the heavy car isn't happy when pushed beyond its comfort zone. When stressed, the '10 Camaro understeers, a lot and quite happily, too. And slowing down doesn't offer any resolve as the front end just continues its wider arc path, but now at a lesser speed. I tried trailbraking at corner entry to induce oversteer, but it wasn't going to happen. I quickly found out you can't hurry the car along as I only went slower.
The more I pressed the Camaro, the more reluctant its response to steering input and not wanting to go where pointed. The car does its best just being lightly pressured in the transitions and slaloms with mad spurts of acceleration in between. Compared to the other tested cars, I was quite surprised that it turned a respectable time and would love to track or autocross one, but with a better, stiffer suspension, low tread wear tires, and no TCS or ABS, or any other "S" fluff stuff that gets in the way of serious driving.
There's A New Tire In Town When it comes to performance, tires are critical. Last year, we specified that the cars had to run the Nitto NT01 rubber. This tire, while fine for the street, had a 100-treadwear which would tend to wear quicker than what most people are used to. The upside was that it was a real-deal performance tire.