Add another one to the “they thought of everything” file when it comes to the performance of the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Engineers have added what they call “flying car” logic to the Performance Traction Management system, which integrates the chassis mode selection, Traction Control and Active Handling Systems. The end result is a car that manages to stay composed even under full power when the tires lose contact with the ground.
“PTM uses torque, lateral acceleration and rear-axle wheel slip to define the amount of traction control required, but when the car clears a rise on the track, it normally wants to decrease torque to increase traction,” said Bill Wise, Camaro Z/28 vehicle performance engineer. “The unique logic in the system uses the ride-height sensors to determine the reduction in force on the tires that’s unique to track driving and allows the car to continue with uninterrupted momentum and, ultimately, a better lap time.”
No doubt the inspiration for this design is Germany’s Nürburgring road course, with its many elevation changes, which has become the standard for evaluating the handling of any vehicle. And it is also the very same track in which the Z/28 took down the published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. GM says the Flugplatz section has a rise that makes good use of this logic, in addition to photographers on hand. GM’s home track, Milford Proving Grounds, also has a section that is similar to this elevation change – a hill sandwiched between turns Pahrump 1 and 2 (named after Spring Valley Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV), which was used to further refine the calibration.
“The hill between Pahrumps 1 and 2 is ideal for testing the feature,” said Wise. “The car noticeably lifts as it clears the top of the rise. Without the logic built into PTM, the torque reduction would unnecessarily slow the car. With it, the car receives full torque over the rise, which helps reduce the lap time – and it is part of the reason why PTM Mode 5 can be as good, or better, than a driver’s best effort, on certain track conditions.”
Though “flying car” logic occurs in all five performance levels or modes of PTM, it is most effective in Mode 5 and allows for the fastest laps. PTM was originally designed around Magnetic Ride Control in the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1, and the Z/28 is the first non-Mag-Ride application. The competition bred spool-valve dampers, unique suspension bushings, coil springs, stabilizer bars, zero-preload limited slip differential, weight reduction (55-pounds lighter than the 1LE), and grippy Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires also contribute to make the Z/28 sure-footed and confidence-inspiring.
“The new Camaro Z/28 was bred on and for the track,” said Wise. “From the hardware bolted to the chassis to the software such as the “flying car” logic, every element built into it was designed to help deliver faster lap times, with consistency, control and dependability.”