The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is finally returning to its racing heritage when the new Camaro Z/28.R race car takes part in the GS class of the IMSA Continental Tires SportsCar Challenge, a 2.5-hour endurance race regarded as a support series for the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona.
To be campaigned by Stevenson Motorsports and CKS Autosport, the Camaro Z/28.R will be one of the most production-based competitors in the event, as it shares engine, aero and axle components with the new 2014 Camaro Z/28. The 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona commences on January 24, at 1:45 p.m. EST. It is the first of the 12 races in the 2014 season.
Mark Kent, director of racing for Chevrolet, remarked that they designed the original Camaro Z/28 for racing and it has managed to become an iconic performance car. He added that the debut of the Camaro Z/28 marks the beginning of a new chapter in racing.
Chevrolet developed the track-focused Z/28.R alongside the production Z/28, which allowed the latter to share the same performance elements to become the most track-capable Camaro so far. For instance, both models have the same downforce-generating aero package such as its front splitter, rear spoiler with wickerbill, hood extractor vent, rockers, wheel-house extensions and front tire deflectors as well as a belly pan. Moreover, both the Z/28.R and Z/28 are powered by the same LS7 7.0L V-8 engine as well as the same helical-gear limited-slip rear differential that helps deliver more power while exiting from corners.
Of course, there are some differences that set the Z/28.R apart from the Z/28 like the series-mandated equipment and the specialized suspension components required for endurance racing. With all these, the Z/28.R could be considered as production-spec race car.
The entry of the new Camaro Z/28.R race cars in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – as fielded by Stevenson Motorsports and CKS Autosport – marks the continuation of a legacy of the Camaro endurance racing that commenced in 1967, when the original Z/28 was launched for the Trans-Am series. As of the recent years from 2011 to 2013, six races were won by the Camaro GS.R in the Grand Sport class of the Continental SportsCar Series. In fact, this model helped Chevrolet finish second overall in the GS championship last season.
Up for sale starting spring, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is seen as the most significant redesign of the Camaro since the fifth generation was unveiled as a concept car in 2006. The new Camaro – compared to its predecessor – boasts of a number of design tweaks both on the front and the rear, allowing it to don a wider, lower and more modern look.
Up front, the new Camaro features a fascia with a wider lower opening and a narrower upper opening. The RS package effectively updates the looks of the iconic "halo ring" HID headlamps while the SS package comes with a functional hood vent that could reduce heat and lower aerodynamic lift. The rear end of the new Camaro, meanwhile, is defined by horizontal lamps, sculptural decklid and a diffuser.
Chevrolet has provided the new Camaro Z/28 with a full aerodynamic package that could generate ample downforce at track speeds. The package includes a large front splitter that is linked to an underbody panel, as well as an aggressive rear spoiler and a functional diffuser. The package also includes fender flares over the front and rear wheels, as well as extended rocker panels.
Moving inside, the new Camaro Z/28 is trimmed with Octane matte-metallic finish and features a ZL1 flat-bottomed steering wheel. Recaro seats with microfiber suede inserts are standard on the new Camaro Z/28, and they come with seat cutouts that take inspiration from the five-point harnesses of racing seats. The seats also feature aggressive bolsters for high-performance driving. The front seats are now lighter, thanks to the incorporation of manual adjustment. Of course, the rear seats have also been made lighter by nine pounds (four kilograms).