Just Car Blog
|Nurburgring in the USA: Car and Driver Intros 2013 Lightning Lap Contenders at VIR – Video||
Ever since lap times at the Nurburgring became a benchmark for a vehicle’s over-all performance, there has been a need to find a ‘benchmark’ track in the USA. Car and Driver, along with many other enthusiasts, think we already have such a track, the Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
Virginia International Raceway seems to be the ideal choice for testing a vehicle’s over-all performance dynamics. With the elevation changes, the Grand West Course’s 4.1 miles, 28 turns and proven effectiveness to challenge experienced race car drivers, VIR is the ideal home-grown Nurburgring. Car and Driver sets out to VIR for their Lightning Lap annual track torture test and brings us the official preview to the dueling test along with a run-down of the contenders. Enjoy the video below!
|Can A New Camaro ZL1 Match A Pro Touring 1969 Camaro? Video||
Off the showroom floor, the new Camaro ZL1 will accelerate quicker, stop shorter and carry more speed into corners than any production Camaro we can think of, including the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1. It comes with a full factory warranty, too, at a price that’s tens of thousands of dollars less than building a comparable car yourself.
What the new Camaro lacks, however, is vintage cool. If you wanted the authenticity of an original Camaro with the performance of a modern one, you could build yourself a Pro Touring car, assuming that money was no object. Enter Mark Stielow, a GM engineer and Pro Touring icon who’s constructed numerous Pro Touring vintage Camaros. Stielow’s latest effort, called the Red Devil, boasts over 750 horsepower from a supercharged LS9 V-8, and comes with a modern suspension (that still retains the car’s live axle), racing-spec brakes and amenities such as an audio system and air conditioning.
Could a heavily-modified 1969 Camaro run with Chevrolet’s latest big dog, the Camaro ZL1, around Michigan’s Ginger Man Raceway? That was the question posed by Hot Rod magazine, who recently hired Stielow to drive both cars for the comparison. The Red Devil puts down over 170 more horsepower while hauling less mass around, but the ZL1 has a wider track and the advantage of performance-focused stability control. Stielow helped develop the ZL1, so he’s on intimate terms with both cars, and a data logging system is used to make sure he’s not sandbagging in either Camaro.
Which is faster? Check out the video below for the answer.
|Chris Harris Drives America’s Fastest Muscle Cars: Video||
Generally speaking, car reviewers from Europe or the U.K. view American cars with great disdain. “Too big,” they cry, or “too softly sprung,” or “too poorly bolted together.” In decades past, we’d have had a hard time countering their argument, replying only, “yes, but at least we’ve perfected the electrical connection.”
These days, no one selling cars in the United States builds a bad product. Even our blue-collar sports cars (muscle cars, actually) like the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro have improved to the point where you can take properly-equipped models from the showroom to the track and turn some truly impressive lap times. Unlike the muscle cars of old, the new generation comes packing suspension, brakes and cooling systems that work as well as the obligatory big V-8 engine under the hood.
You’d still think that elitist journo Chris Harris would be like a fish out of water behind the wheel of the 2012 Camaro ZL1 and the 2013 Shelby GT500, especially slogging through Manhattan traffic. He’s not, and we find him strangely complementary of both cars in the video below. We won’t spoil it, but we’ll tell you this much: one is more refined and better for use as a daily driver, while the other is harder edged, and ultimately leaves Harris wondering how he can export a copy to Britain. We’ve known all along that the new Mustang and Camaro are great cars, and now it looks like the rest of the world is beginning to figure this out, too.
|2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 vs. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: Video||
The ultimate modern-day pony car war starts and ends with the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. These two cars are the epitome of modern American muscle cars utilizing the best that automotive technology has to offer. What everyone wants to know, despite the Shelby GT500 having an obvious 98-rear-wheel horsepower advantage over the Camaro ZL1, which one is apt to take home the checkered flag.
What it all comes down to in finding a true victor, is the type of tests that you put these two American muscle monsters through. The Shelby GT500, sporting the most powerful production-car V8 engine, is the obvious victor when it comes to straight-line 60 mph or even quarter mile runs. After-all, it is over 200 pounds lighter than the Camaro ZL1. Of course you better be a good driver to be able to claim a win over the ZL1 in a straight-line, it isn’t much of a pushover. Straight-line performance is not the tell-all as you will have Camaro ZL1 fans tell you. When it comes to the handling department, it seems the Camaro ZL1 is more of the conqueror.
So, you have the Shelby GT500 with and slight edge in power and the Camaro ZL1 with an edge in handling attributes. Which one would you take to the track confident to walk away in 1st place?
Hit up the comparison video below and check out some of the hard numbers Inside Line gets from these two vehicles.
|Stock 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Burns Up quarter mile in 11.93 seconds||
Although we have yet to get our hands on the new 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the abundance of Mustang vs. Camaro hype circulating over the internet tends to give us a virtual measuring stick without having to strap in the driver’s seat. The latest ‘virtual’ performance number to reach the interwebs is the new Camaro ZL1 burning up the quarter mile in 11.93 seconds in complete stock form.
Already, skeptics and Mustang fanatics have taken to forums to dispute the 11 second quarter mile figure highly anticipating the new 2013 Shelby GT500 to annihilate the Camaro ZL1’s time.
Chevrolet is this game to prove that their ZL1 is not a pushover and the video below attempts to etch that in the minds of all enthusiasts, no matter how much more horsepower (about 82 more) the new GT500 is packing.
What several sources have verified about the new Camaro ZL1’s 11-second run is that the vehicle used in the test was in fact using stock Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires. Chevrolet was also quick to note that using Mickey Thompson drag tires, the ZL1 was able to knock about a tenth of a second off of the 11.93 second time.
Hit up the video time-slip video below followed by the press release from Chevrolet.
Camaro ZL1 Joins the 11-second Club
DETROIT – The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is officially in the “11-second” club, as engineers recently turned an 11.93-second/116-mph quarter-mile elapsed time run in a showroom-stock Camaro ZL1 automatic. A Camaro ZL1 manual ran an 11.96-second ET at 117 mph.
Only a few other production vehicles can run the quarter-mile as quickly as the ZL1. Fewer yet can also run 0-60 in 4 seconds, reach a top speed of 184 mph and lap the famous Nürburgring in 7:41.27 – all with the street-legal, factory-issued components and no time-consuming equipment adjustments at the racetrack.
“The ZL1 is great at everything and we’re very proud of that,” said Tony Roma, Camaro ZL1 program engineering manager. “You can take it to the drag strip and run 11-second quarter-miles all day long. You can also take it to a road course, where it’s balanced, handles well, and does exactly what you want – including lapping Virginia International Raceway’s Grand Course in under three minutes – and yet the ZL1 is sophisticated enough to use as a daily driver. It’s a supercar you can drive every day.”
For perspective, the Camaro ZL1 is so quick that some drivers who experiment with “drag radial” tires or full racing slicks may find themselves going too quick for most NHRA-sanctioned racetracks, where a five-point roll bar is required for vehicles running 11.49 or quicker. The 11.93-second ET in a stock ZL1 tested by the engineers wore the factory-issued Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires developed specifically for it, putting the car only a scant 0.44-second away from that additional racing safety requirement.
Tuned for the drag strip
The original, special-order 1969 Camaro ZL1s are still revered for their legendary performance on the drag strip and Chevrolet was keenly aware that customers for the new, 21st century edition would undoubtedly test its straight-line mettle in quarter-mile increments.
The Camaro team re-engineered 30 percent of a Camaro 2SS to make the ZL1, including special modifications just for the drag strip.
“We know many of customers will take their ZL1 to the drag strip,” said Gordon Rojewski, driveline development engineer – and who is also an experienced drag racer and owner of a turbocharged, 920-horsepower street car. “Some may just go once, to experience the full potential of the 580-horsepower LSA engine. Others may be more serious, going every other weekend with a set of slicks in the trunk. As such, we set out to make sure the ZL1 would perform for them – on the first pass and on the 100th.”
For example, to withstand the heavy loads of repeated hard launches, the ZL1 features a stout 9.9-inch rear differential mounted in a robust cast iron center section. It also features a standard differential cooler that can lower the temperature by 100 degrees F for improved performance and longevity.
The ZL1 also features asymmetrical half-shafts: a 60mm hollow shaft on the right and a 33mm solid shaft on the left. The different torsional stiffness rates of the shafts work in conjunction with the limited-slip differential to minimize the chance of wheel hop at launch. Engineers modified the rear suspension, as well, to accommodate an 18-inch wheel, for owners who want to fit a set of drag-radials with taller sidewalls to improve their ETs.
Even the ZL1′s exclusive Performance Traction Management (PTM) was tuned for the drag-strip. It integrates third-generation Magnetic Ride Control, launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power steering response to enhance performance. Launch control (manual transmission only) automatically modulates engine torque for the best-possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 1,000 times per second to maximize the available traction.
Mode 5 of launch control is uniquely calibrated for drag strips that use VHT or similar traction-enhancing compounds on the starting line. In addition to validating the system for the stock tires, engineers also tested it with 18- and 20-inch racing-type drag radial tires in anticipation of the specialty tires many drivers will use at the track. Drag radials are very soft and provide nearly the traction of a full racing slick, allowing the car to launch at a higher rpm without wheel spin, which can translate into an even quicker ET.
Proven with 1,000 hard launch tests
To test the chassis and suspension components to ensure they were up to repeated hard-start launches typical at the drag strip, engineers subjected the ZL1 to the grueling “Woodward Avenue Schedule” at the GM Milford Proving Ground.
Named for the famous cruising route that cuts north through Detroit’s suburbs and has been the venue for untold thousands of unofficial launch capability demonstrations since the 1960s, each test cycle is a hard-launch, standing-start drag race up to 100 mph. The ZL1 was subjected to 1,000 test cycles before its driveline was stamped “approved”.
“The Woodward Avenue Schedule was a really brutal test, but it told us the Camaro ZL1 would live up to the way we knew our customers would drive it on the track,” said Rojewski.
The Camaro ZL1 is on sale now with a suggested retail price of $54,995 – including a $900 destination charge. The 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission includes TapShift control and is a $1,185 option. The Camaro ZL1 convertible goes on sale this summer.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
|Chevy Lifts Production Hold On Camaro ZL1||
And then, as suddenly and mysteriously as it was enacted, the production halt on the 2012 Camaro ZL1 has been lifted. Chevrolet has emailed its dealers, advising them that production of the uber-Camaro will resume shortly, and that customer orders can again be taken. No further details were provided as to the cause of the production halt or the resolution, but the timing seems to indicate the problem was software, not hardware, related.
Per Motor Authority, cars that have already been assembled will be delivered to dealerships in the next two or three weeks. Were the issue mechanical, it would likely take longer than that to source new parts, then replace them on assembled cars; on the other hand, new software can be quickly and easily uploaded.
Customers with orders in the system that have not reached production will need to be a bit more patient. Chevrolet says that allocation of remaining 2012 ZL1 models still needs to be worked out, meaning that some with orders in the system may be rolled over into 2013 model years. Customers buying their cars to drive likely won’t have issue with this; however, those buying first-model-year Camaro ZL1s as an investment won’t be too happy to hear they’re getting a second-model-year car instead.
To be honest, we’re just as eager to drive the new Camaro 1LE, which gets much of the ZL1’s suspension tuning but with a normally aspirated V-8 instead of the supercharged V-8 found in the ZL1. It’s less money, and even 426 horsepower should prove to be plenty entertaining for track days.
|GM Suspends Production And Shipment Of Camaro ZL1||
If you were hoping to get your hands on a new Camaro ZL1 in the coming weeks, we’ve got some bad news for you: due to a “quality assessment,” GM has put a temporary hold on production and delivery of the uber-Camaro. GM isn’t giving any further details, but the hold also delays a current Dealer Order Submission Process cycle, which (presumably) means that dealer orders aren’t being accepted at the present time.
The story broke on GM Inside News last week, but Motor Authority did some further digging into the matter yesterday. One Camaro ZL1 had already been delivered to a customer in Texas, prompting the dealership to recall the car for a “software programming issue.” While it’s possible that the quality assessment is software related, it’s equally possible that a software issue was merely a cover for some other type of problem with the Camaro ZL1.
Whatever the underlying cause, we’re sure that GM will have it resolved in the very near future. Such production holds aren’t uncommon on new vehicles, and the automaker deserves credit for getting on top of things before a recall is needed. That may not be good news for those awaiting delivery of a ZL, but the consolation is that owners will undoubtedly be getting an improved product.
|First Camaro ZL1 Crashed At Virginia International Raceway||
There is an unwritten rule in automotive journalism that says, “though shalt not stack the press fleet cars.” While the rule applies to any car you’re given the keys to, it applies to a higher degree with pre-launch cars rolled out by automakers to get good press prior to availability. Stack a pre-launch car, and you reduce the population for other journalists to drive. You also become “that guy,” and no one wants to be “that guy.”
This week, “that guy” is Aaron Gold, who just happens to be the vice president of Los Angeles’ Motor Press Guild, as well as a producer at Top Gear USA and an editor for About.com Cars. In other words, lapping VIR in a Camaro ZL1 wasn’t Mr. Gold’s first time on a track in a high-powered car. We don’t know what his driving background is exactly, but as Gold explains on About.com, the accident wasn’t caused by pushing the limits at high speed.
Instead, rain began to fall on the track, bringing oil to the surface. Approaching a corner, Gold was admittedly off-line and fed on too much throttle at the apex. The result, as anyone who’s ever driven a high-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive car in the rain will tell you, was throttle-on oversteer. To his credit, Gold admits that a more talented driver probably could have kept the car off the tire barrier, and GM claims the damage to the press fleet ZL1 was minimal.
What can we learn from Gold’s off-course excursion? First, most of us tend to over-rate our driving abilities. On a track, in a fresh rain, a 580 horsepower car demands instant respect, and everything must be done to keep the car balanced. We’re guessing that Gold was lapping with the electro-nannies turned off, which makes for impressive, tail-out power slides through corners on dry pavement, but ups the penalty for a mistake in the rain exponentially. A higher gear, as Gold admits, probably would have been a better idea, as would sticking to a clean part of the racetrack (staying on line).
We’re off to drive the Nissan GT-R at Palm Beach International Raceway tomorrow, so Gold’s lesson will be fresh on our minds. Gold’s time in the “that guy” seat will be limited, but we sure as hell don’t want to be the journalists who displace him.
|2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Introduces Faster-Shifting TapShift Automatic Transmission||
Technology has become the pinnacle of making cars faster, stronger, safer and more efficient. There is no denying how the automobile has advanced just in the past decade mostly due to major advancements in technology. We have state-of-the-art stability control systems, magnetic suspension dampers, dual-clutch transmissions, new hybrid technologies, direct fuel injection and the list goes on.
General Motors, recapturing the title for the largest automaker in the world, has been at the forefront of adopting and innovating many of these new technological advancements. To further emphasize new technological advancements in the automotive industry, Chevrolet is offering new Camaro ZL1 with an optional TapShift automatic transmission. The TapShift function takes the optional six-speed automatic transmission in the ZL1 to new heights by improving tap-shifting response times to as much as 60%.
The TapShift innovation in the new Camaro ZL1, thanks to new software algorithms, will essentially stage hydraulic pressure in the clutch for the next gear change. This will help reduce shifting delays for 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5 shifts accordingly by 200 to 300 milliseconds. This will ultimately make the Camaro ZL1 automatic transmission version about a tenth of a second faster than the 6-speed manual. That means getting the most out of the 580 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine and laying down a solid and consistent 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds.
With today’s automotive enthusiasts, every millisecond means the world to someone who wants to carry around the title for having baddest, and supposedly the fastest, sports car on the road amongst his or her peers. Some enthusiasts will argue that you can’t beat a manual transmission and others will back the case that you simply cannot outrun a computer. Either way, it seems Chevrolet will have something to contribute for both ends of the spectrum by offering an advanced TapShift automatic transmission and capable 6-speed manual in the new ZL1. In my opinion, Chevrolet could have joined the dual-clutch bandwagon and equipped the new ZL1 with a transmission that rivals Nissan’s Godzilla (GT-R) as an option.
The new 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will start arriving at dealerships this spring with a price starting at $54,095. The TapShift transmission will be available as a $1,185 option on the ZL1. Other vehicles receiving the improved TapShift automatic feature will be the new Cadillac CTS-V and Corvette automatics.
The video below demonstrates the improved TapShift transmission from Gabe Gibson, a Performance Car Calibration Engineer at GM.
|Video: 580 Horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in Jay Leno’s Garage||
If there is ever someone that I could switch lives with for a day it would have to be Jay Leno because he gets to play with all of the boy toys, old and new. One of the latest toys Jay gets to play with is the new 580 horsepower Camaro ZL1 which recently ripped around the Nurburgring in 7:41:27. GM North America President Mark Reuss stops by Jay’s garage and gives him a proper introduction to a slightly camouflaged Chevy Camaro ZL1. Check it out in the new Jay Leno’s Garage video below!
[source: Jay Leno’s Garage]
|Watch The 2012 Camaro ZL1 Lap The ‘Ring In 7:41.27||
When Chevy’s engineers set the specs for the 2012 Camaro ZL1, this much was clear: they wanted the car to be fast around a track, not just in a straight line. When word came in that the car had lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:41.27, it was pretty clear that they’d achieved their goals. The time puts the ZL1 on par with the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S, and just about seven-tenths of a second slower than the quasi-exotic Ford GT. It also makes the ZL1 faster than a 2009 Corvette ZR1, a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV, an Audi R8 V-10 and a Pagani Zonda S.
Maybe the most impressive part of the video below is how hard GM test driver Aaron Link is working to go fast. There’s no denying that the ZL1 is still a big, heavy car, and it isn’t graceful on a tight and technically challenging circuit like the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Chevy calls the Camaro ZL1 used in the lap a “production intent” model, with no performance modifications added.
Link was pleased with the lap and impressed by the ZL1’s capability, saying, “One of the best moments is coming through ‘Fuchsröhre’, or Foxhole. The ZL1 accelerates at an unbelievable rate down through the tunnel of trees, and into a sweeping left-hand corner flat out in fifth gear. You have to have an extremely well-mannered, confidence-inspiring car to take any corner at 160 mph without lifting off the throttle – and the ZL1 was just brilliant.”
|Video: 580hp 2012 Camaro ZL1 Testing On Nurburgring||
The guys at Camaro5 have featured an exclusive video clip of the all-new Camaro ZL1 making rounds on the Nurburgring. We get to hear the exhaust note from the beastly 580 horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine in this new video clip. Hit the jump below and be sure to turn up your speakers.
|All You Need To Know About The New Camaro ZL1, Except Price||
We’re still months away from the launch of the king-of-the-hill Camaro, but Chevy is leaking just enough information through various outlets to keep fans fired up about it. We now know how much power the car will make, we know that it will use GM’s superb magnetorheological (yes, that’s really a word) suspension, and we know it will be as track-ready out of the box as any car weighing around two tons can be.
First the engine: the ZL1 gets the LSA V-8 as the Cadillac CTS-V. Thanks to a revised intake, improved supercharger airflow and a higher efficiency intercooler, the engine will make 580 horsepower and 556 ft-lb of torque. Just for reference, that’s 24 more horsepower than the Cadillac CTS-V, with the exact same amount of torque. If you want to compare that against the Shelby GT500 Mustang, the Camaro has a 30 horsepower advantage and puts up 46 more ft-lb of torque; on the down side, the ZL1 will also be heavier than the Shelby, although GM hasn’t released the Camaro’s exact weight just yet.
The ZL1 gets the same Magnetic Ride Control suspension system found on the Corvette ZR1 and the Cadillac CTS-V. Delphi also licenses it to Ferrari for the 458 Italia and to Audi for the R8, so the ZL1 is in good company. If you’ve never experienced it, believe the hype: the suspension does an amazing job of blending handling with ride comfort, and can be easily adjusted from a street setting to a track setting.
The ZL1 has a track-centric stability control program, called Performance Traction Management (PTM), with five user-selectable modes:
PTM 1 – Traction and stability control on, suspension set to Tour (for wet conditions)
PTM 2 – Traction control set to Sport 1, stability control on, suspension set to Tour
PTM 3 – Traction control set to Sport 1, stability control on, suspension set to Sport
PTM 4 – Traction control set to Sport 2, stability control off, suspension set to Sport
PTM 5 – Traction control set to Race, stability control off, suspension set to Track
The final mode, PTM 5, also includes a launch control feature for cars equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox.
As for the rest of the car, think “heavy duty” and you get the picture. Expect to see both transmission and differential oil coolers, as well as brake cooling ducts. The ZL1 uses an electric power steering system, too, ensuring that absolutely no horsepower is wasted in driving an old-fashioned power steering pump.
Pricing hasn’t been set, but keep in mind that a 2012 Shelby GT500 with no options lists for $49,605 with the destination charge factored in. The Camaro looks like it will be a lot more car, but GM knows they can’t charge a lot more money for it. We’ll go out on a limb and guess that the ZL will start just under $52k, but we’ll know for sure by the end of the year.
|Video: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Introduction||
When the Bumble Bee Camaro just isn’t good enough, you may have to settle for a 570+ horsepower Camaro ZL1 that does not transform into anything except for an American engineered lateral-G rocket. Oh darn!
A rocket is just what we will get in the new 2012 Camaro ZL1 featuring 6-piston caliper Brembo brakes up front, massive 305/35/20-inch tires in the rear, an exhaust note sure to put a big grin on your face, fine-tuned aerodynamics that cut through the air and hug the road when reaching triple digit speeds and a 570+ horsepower supercharged LSA V8 engine under the hood. Hit up the introduction video of the new Camaro ZL1 below to get a glimpse of America’s newest muscle car from the big bow tie!
|Rumor Du Jour: 2012 Camaro ZL1 To Have “Over” 570 Horsepower||
General Motors uses the same basic engine in three cars: the Corvette ZR1 (where it’s called the LS9), the Cadillac CTS-V (where it’s called the LSA) and in the upcoming Camaro ZL1 (where it will also be called the LSA). In all cases, it’s a 6.2-liter, pushrod V-8 that ranges from 556 horsepower in LSA trim to 638 horsepower in LS9 trim. To get the additional ponies, GM bumps up the compression ratio (from 9.0:1 to 9.1:1) and adds a bigger blower for use in the Corvette ZR1. In other words, GM’s engineers have an 82 horsepower spread to work with, and can easily build an LSA motor over 600 horsepower if product needs dictate.
Since the target for the Camaro ZL1 is the current Shelby GT500, which puts out 550 horsepower, we know that the ZL1 will have to do better. Much better, actually, since the Camaro is a larger and heavier car. Credible source rumors say that Chevy has officially dyno tested the ZL1, and the LSA under the hood is good for “more than” 570 horsepower. Call it 570, which is 20 more than the Shelby; more importantly, the Camaro should make over 555 ft-lb of torque compared to the Shelby’s 510 ft-lb. Even if the Camaro is a few hundred pounds heavier, we still have a decent horse race here.
Don’t expect Ford to go down without a fight. The next Shelby GT500, due in 2013, is well into the development stage, and rumored to pack over 600 horsepower from its turbocharged V-8. We won’t have details on the Shelby for another year of so, but look for Chevy to announce the numbers for the Camaro ZL1 in the very near future.
Source: LSX TV