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2014 Camaro Z/28 Designed with Downforce in Mind

Stephanie Davies Dec 5, 2013
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The new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was created for the racetrack. Obviously. Over the past months, you’ve read over and over again about how the new Z/28 is going to dominate the competition and make the idea of spending insane amounts of money for incredible performance obsolete. Chevrolet recently compiled this list of six important attributes of the Z/28 that really make a difference in keeping the tail of the Camaro glued to the track and creating plenty of – you guessed it – downforce!

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The exterior of the Z/28 has been radically overhauled in comparison to the SS, as aerodynamics, powertrain cooling, and brake system cooling were all at the top of the list of important upgrades. Together, they help the Z/28 to produce 440 additional pounds of downforce at 150mph when compared to the SS. This means that a lap at Germany’s famous Nürburgring road course in a Z/28 was four seconds faster than the ZL1’s, as well as being quicker than the Porsche 911 Carrera S and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

“Most production cars are designed with some lift at speed in order to slip through the air for greater fuel economy, but the all-new Camaro Z/28’s track-oriented purpose dictated an entirely different take on airflow management,” said Tom Froling, lead development engineer – aerodynamics. “Its carefully tailored aerodynamics package generates downforce for greater handling stability at speed, and the grilles are optimized to meet stringent cooling flow and brake-cooling requirements.”

Three areas that the Camaro Z/28 tackled to become the fastest factory-produced Camaro ever on a track include increased grip, increased stopping power, and reduced curb weight. The Z/28 is capable of 1.08g in cornering acceleration thanks to comprehensive chassis revisions, while Brembo carbon ceramic brakes are capable of 1.5g in deceleration. Weighing 300 pounds short of the supercharged ZL1 helps the naturally aspirated Z/28 as well. And of course, you can’t deliver power without first producing it. Enter: the 7.0L LS7 powerplant SAE-rated at 505 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque. If you can’t drive stick, you’re out of luck, as the Z/28 only comes with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. A limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than tradition clutch packs, allow for optimal traction.

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“It’s a track-proven, uncompromising collection of hardware that generates the Z/28’s power and channels it to the ground, but it’s the way the Z/28 manages airflow that truly helps it stick to the track to make it fast and stable at speed,” said Froling. “None of the car’s unique exterior elements is without a performance-enhancing purpose. In fact, it shares several racing-inspired aero features from various Camaro and Corvette race cars.”

Computational fluid dynamics, reduced-scale rolling wind-tunnel testing, full-scale clay models, and full-size prototypes were imperative to create the best Camaro on the market. So without further ado, here’s the list of six primary contributors to the Z/28’s aerodynamic supremacy.

1. Front splitter- A large aero panel used to provide downforce at the front of the car allows for enhanced cornering capability and stability at high speeds. Up to 250 pounds of downforce can be withstood at its tip, and an aero closeout panel, under the engine compartment, and molded-in aero features, forward of the front wheels, work in conjunction to provide adequate aerodynamic capabilities.

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2. Rear spoiler with “wickerbill” – The “wickerbill,” a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler, is a very minor change aesthetically, but it contributes to drag by a full 28 counts and improves rear lift performance by 70 counts. All of this allows the Camaro Z/28 to handle turns at higher speeds and deliver greater overall high-speed stability.

3. Hood extractor vent – The hood features a functional carbon fiber extractor that allows for increased engine cooling by providing an escape for hot air through the hood and over the car. Without said vent, hot air would be pushed from the engine compartment through the bottom, generating lift.

4. Rockers, wheel house extensions, and front tire deflectors – Aggressive styling and improved aerodynamic performance are also achieved through the use of specific rocker moldings, while unique wheelhouse extensions have been utilized to cover and push air past the Z/28’s wide tires. At the bottom-front corners of the front wheel flares, deflectors also contribute to the cause for aerodynamic downforce production, replacing a conventional air dam.

5. Belly pan – Developed using computational fluid dynamics and wind-tunnel testing, the new belly pan helps reduce front lift while contributing to drivetrain cooling thanks to modified NACA duct profiles, which draw air into the underbody tunnel area. There, highly-energized air provides extra cooling for the underbody components, which are affected by exhaust thermal energy of the LS7 powerplant. Wheelhouse liners complete with closeouts also allow for optimal airflow.

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6. A revised front fascia – The front fascia of the Z/28 is based on that of the SS, however the fog lamps, air dam, and upper-base grille have all been removed or replaced. The fog lights were removed and replaced with covers to reduce weight, while an air duct support bracket, an airflow-optimized upper grille (for advanced cooling), and a modified fascia lower inlet have been added.

The all-new 2014 Camaro Z/28 is scheduled to arrive in dealerships this coming spring. See you at the track!



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