Times sure have changed: The 21st century Z/28 packs 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque thanks to a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine lifted straight from the Corvette parts bin. It is not the most powerful unit in the Chevrolet catalog, but it is ideal for track use because it is one of the lightest high-output mills.
Developed jointly with Corvette Racing, the all-aluminum V8 features a dry-sump oiling system, titanium valves and a high-lift cam. A cold air induction system, a K&N air filter and Z/28-specific intake and exhaust manifolds are part of the package.
The V8 transfers power to the rear wheels via a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. Upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes manufactured by Brembo and a track-tuned suspension help keep the 500 ponies in check on the track.
Ready to race
Outside, the track-bound Camaro features a full body kit that includes a front splitter that works with an underbody panel to reduce drag, fender flares, side skirts, a large trunk-mounted spoiler and a functional air diffuser integrated into the rear bumper.
19-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero tires finish off the look while reducing unsprung weight.
The Z/28's passenger compartment keeps the regular Camaro's 2+2 configuration but the rear bench is nine pounds lighter thanks in part to the use of a high-density foam. Recaro bucket seats with manual adjustments come standard, and the driver is treated to a flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel.
The instrument cluster consists of four analog gauges separated in two pods and a TFT screen in between them. The car is designed to be as light as possible so there is no infotainment system to be found, but a simple AM/FM/CD audio unit connected to a single speaker is mounted on the center console. Bluetooth connectivity enables the driver to make hands-free calls.
The Z/28 is almost 300 pounds lighter than a Camaro ZL1 thanks to weight-saving modifications such as a thinner rear window and a smaller LN3 battery. The tire-inflator kit has been removed (except for cars sold in states where it is legally mandatory), HID headlights and fog lights are not available, and air-conditioning is only offered as an option.
Like all Camaros, the Z/28 comes standard with six airbags, electronic traction control and stability control.
Driving aids such as blind-spot detection and active cruise control are not available, but the Z/28 packs a Performance Traction Management (PTM) function with five settings that gradually tone down the traction and stability control. PTM is designed primarily for track use.
The Z/28 faces competition from the Ford Mustang Boss 302, a 444-horsepower coupe based on the Mustang GT.