Chevrolet's newest rendition of the Camaro has some classic lines blended with modern styling to create a pretty cool piece. Exterior styling aside, the Camaro sits on the GM Zeta platform that was originally under the Pontiac G8. This new bad Bow Tie has independent suspension front and rear, setting it apart from its solid rear axle predecessors.
GM spent millions developing the Zeta platform, both in Australia and here in the states, and one of the compromises built into a platform shared by big sedans and muscle cars alike is that the factory suspension setup is relatively soft, with a fair amount of body roll and rear suspension slop, as well as wheel hop under full-throttle conditions.
Known for its high-performance first-to-fourth-gen Camaro suspension systems, Hotchkis was deep into the development process on the G8 when Pontiac got the axe, so it already knew the issues the platform had and how to remedy them.
With that knowledge in hand, John Hotchkis and his crew tackled the Camaro with the idea to improve handling and acceleration without giving the car a spine-cracking ride. What came out of that process was a completely tuned and balanced suspension system.
The company's package, dubbed The Track Pack, combines sport springs, adjustable sway bars, and aluminum chassis bracing to improve the Camaro's handling capabilities (check out the product sidebar for more details on the parts). All the products are protected in a high-gloss black powdercoating and are designed to be direct bolt-ons so if you wanted to install them on a lease vehicle, you can take them off before you turn it in.
To really show what these parts are capable of, we took a completely stock '10 Camaro belonging to the Byrd family and a Track Pack-outfitted fifth-gen belonging to Sam Piazza to Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California. Other than the Hotchkis parts, these cars were identical, right down to the tires. The two were tested on a 600-foot slalom, 200-foot skidpad, and the Streets of Willow road course by the same driver.
Even though the stock Camaro is a pretty stout vehicle, the Track Pack-equipped car out-performed it in every stage of testing. The track Pack Camaro saw an almost 2-second reduction in lap time, 2mph gain on the slalom and a 0.02g gain on the skid pad. Not too shabby for a suspension system that is bolt-in, adjustable, and retails for a little over a grand.
Just as we sat down to pen this story, John Hotchkis let us know the company has just finished production on a few competition level parts, like a strut tower brace and stiffer sway bars. For more information on the parts in this story or the new competition level stuff, make sure to check out the Hotchkis web site.