When GM introduced the newest iteration of the venerable Camaro it was hailed as a huge leap forward in performance. Packed with a 400-plus horsepower LS3 engine and a ultra-modern IRS suspension, it certainly has enough acceleration and handling prowess for the average car junkie. But if you’re reading this magazine, then chances are you’re gonna want just a bit more.
Now, the new Camaro certainly gained quite a bit more horsepower, but it also put on a ton of weight, and that poundage is to handling what Kryptonite is to Superman. Start tossing nearly two tons of Camaro through the hard twisties and things like body roll and chassis flex team up to spoil the party. Luckily, the aftermarket is full of companies that feel your pain and work hard to address the limitations of the factory suspension. One of these companies is Hotchkis Sport Suspension, and they came out with a host of parts to help make the good-handling SS Camaro great: Chassis braces to fix the flex, stiffer springs, and heavier bars to tame the roll. The parts are offered a la carte or in performance-matched kits.
For this test we found a bone stock ’11 SS Camaro, baseline tested it, and then stuffed it with a Hotchkis’ Race Pack suspension kit. Once installed, we took the Camaro back to our test venue and blasted around, through, and sometimes over, some cones. After all, we dig cool-looking parts as much as the next guy, but if they don’t up the performance level, then what’s the point?
Putting It To The Test
Before installing all these fancy parts, we took the bone-stock SS to our test track to get some baseline numbers. The slalom we used was 420 feet long consisting of cones spaced 70 feet apart. To keep it all fair, we ran both tests on the stock tires that came on the Camaro from the factory. With the stock suspension, our best blast through the pylons was 6.17 seconds or 46 mph, which for a stock Camaro, was pretty damn good. After all of the Hotchkis goodies were installed, that number was slapped down to 5.90 seconds or 48.5 mph. Now 2.5 mph may not sound like a lot, but it’s actually quite a bit when you’re talking a short slalom like ours. More importantly, the Camaro now felt more balanced and predictable in the transitions.