2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 first look: When most isn’t enough

The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 made its debut at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 made its debut at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

When the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 isn’t enough Chevy for you, might we introduce the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28?

Chevrolet did at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

The new 2014 Z/28 is a ZL1 that went through Navy SEAL training. While the ZL1 is the strongest guy on the block, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 isn’t the muscleman but instead is meanest guy in town, stripped down and ready for just about any fight you want to throw at him…though still civilized enough to walk down the street.

Introduced at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, the 2014 is the ZL1 without the frills. According to Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, “The build sheet is the wish list of any racer: lightweight, high-revving, dry-sump LS7 engine; carbon-ceramic brakes; integrated coolers for track use; true aerodynamic downforce, and a significant reduction in curb weight.”

The engine to power the Z28 is the regular—if any engine that produces 505 horsepower can be called “regular”—LS7 naturally-aspirated pushrod V-8, rather than the supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 of the ZL1 Camaro rated at 580 horsepower. The extra few ponies doesn’t mean as much on a road course as the better balance and lesser weight of the engine without the supercharger.

Lighter weight? Farewell audio system. Chevy would have taken out every speaker, but had to leave one for the various mandated safety chimes. The naturally aspirated Z/28 tips the scales 300 pounds lighter than the supercharged Camaro ZL1, with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.

Chevrolet claims the Z/28 is capable of 1.05 g in cornering acceleration, due to “comprehensive chassis revisions, and stops quicker with Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration, with consistent braking, lap after lap.

The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was in fact designed for track use over comfort, mimicking the original Camaro Z/26 produced Camaro’s first year. That car was designed for competition in the Sports Car Club of America Trans Am “sedan” racing series.  The original Z/28 had a 302-cubic-inch V-8 to stay under the five-liter displacement limit for the class (unlike Chevy’s 307-cubic inch engine of the time), plus improved weight balance. Chevrolet’s speed mavens also included quick-ratio steering and heavy-duty suspension designed for track use. The 1967 Camaro Z/28 also was not available with automatic transmission or air conditioning, although of course racers would take the Camaro even further for racing.

Though street legal, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is intended for track use and too single mindedly Spartan for all but the most hard core performance enthusiast. Air conditioning is available, but only as an option.

Unlike the original 1967 Camaro Z/28, the 2014 version but wasn’t built for any specific race series. The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is only the fastest street-legal track-ready Camaro Chevrolet has ever built, It’s still too early for pricing. Look for it on the track in the summer of 2014.