On our baseline testing the stock Camaro managed a best average speed of 45.7 mph through the cones, while on the skidpad the car was good enough for .84 g's-pretty stout numbers for a stock hot rod.
After installing the Detroit Speed suspension components, and keeping the stock tires and wheels in place, we put the Camaro through the paces once more.
On the slalom course, the speed shot up to 48.1 mph. This is an impressive improvement over stock. While the skidpad numbers showed a small improvement at .87g's, it was obvious the stock tires ran out of lateral grip well before the suspension's abilities. We don't attribute this to the actual softness of the tire, but more to the lack of contact patch. Once we get more meat on these wheels, things will certainly improve.
Now, testing is all about the numbers, and that's a great guide for the mathematical performance, but getting the car on a road course is where the fun really comes into play. In a previous issue, we talked about how well the car did in stock trim on the GingerMan Raceway in Michigan. Recently, we had the opportunity to open up the car once more; this time at Buttonwillow Raceway with the upgraded suspension. We're excited to report that the handling improved dramatically over stock. The stiffer springs and sway bars kept body roll to a minimum, yet the car felt compliant and much lighter throughout the course, especially in segments like the esses. Throughout the day, our '10 Camaro easily kept up with many of the lighter, more nimble cars on the track, even while sporting the stock tires and wheels (there's not much left of the stock tires, by the way).
As important as performance is at the track, getting there was also part of the test. With Buttonwillow being over 160 miles away, the Camaro would have to deal with a long stretch of California's underfunded highways-not the smoothest by any means. Although concerned that the stiffer suspension might make the drive slightly less comfortable than with the stock stuff, that wasn't the case. The new springs managed to deal with the highways like a champ. Sure the ride was slightly stiffer, but we just used it to our advantage and kept the hammer down while making our way over California's notorious Grapevine (a section of the northbound 5 Freeway that get's you the hell out of Los Angeles).
A by-product of the suspension upgrade is the newly acquired stance. Even though the springs lowered the car only about 2 inches, it now has a much more aggressive appearance. After all, looks are almost as important as performance ... almost.