AL Oppenheiser on the GT500

Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser wrote this open letter to Camaro enthusiasts on November 16, 2011 in response to internet buzz about the new 600 horse power Ford Mustang GT500.

As you know, the blogs lit up with the announcement of the new 650-horsepower Mustang GT500, and I wanted to give you my perspective on the latest challenge from Dearborn.

The Mustang has been playing catch up since the moment the fifth-gen Camaro arrived in 2009. Since then, Camaro has been the best-selling sports car in America, indicating that consumers know which car offers the best performance, style and safety.

It is no coincidence that Mustang has introduced three 100-horsepower increases to keep pace with Camaro: First their V-6 was bumped to 305; then their V-8 went to 412, and now the GT500.

Even with the 100-hp increase, the 2013 GT500 will still not match the technology and sophistication of the 2012 Camaro ZL1.

The days of “no replacement for displacement,” are over, and it’s not enough to be fast in a straight line. With the Camaro ZL1, we set out to deliver integrated performance, and be equally good at acceleration, braking, grip, and turning. As you will soon see, that’s why the Camaro ZL1 will set the performance benchmark for the segment.

Our approach was to make every Camaro ZL1 fully track-capable, from the factory. As we announced today, the ZL1 Coupe will start at $54,995 with standard Magnetic Ride Control, standard Performance Traction Management, and standard track-capable equipment such as a rear-differential cooler, brake cooling ducts, and an engine and transmission cooler.

None of our customers will have to buy extra options – or modify their ZL1 – for track-day usage. That is not the case for the current GT500, or their new car.

For Mustang fans, you’re welcome. Clearly the Camaro has encouraged Ford to throw everything they can at us.

For Camaro fans, trust me, we are always listening to your feedback, and working hard to keep the Camaro in the lead.

Al O.

Camaro ZL1 by the Numbers

DETROIT – The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds,  and can reach a top speed of 184 mph. Starting at $54,095, including Performance Traction Management and Magnetic Ride  suspension,  the ZL1 delivers supercar levels of performance and technology for the price of a sports car. “From the original Camaro to the current Corvette ZR1, Chevrolet has a long history of delivering world-class cars that outperformed competitors at several times the price,” said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy. “The ZL1 is no exception. There are very few cars at any price that can match the power, features, and track-capability of the Camaro ZL1.”

The Camaro ZL1 Coupe features a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $54,095, excluding delivery fees and taxes. For that price, the ZL1 compares favorably to much more expensive cars:

Base Price Horsepower Torque Magnetic Ride
Camaro ZL1 $54,095 580 556 Standard
Audi R8 GT $196,800 560 398 Standard
Maserati GranTurismo $122,800 405 339 Not Available
Mercedes SLS AMG $185,750 565 479 Not Available

Supercar Performance

The heart of the Camaro ZL1 is a supercharged 6.2L engine is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). – making it the most-powerful production Camaro ever. The LSA features a Roots-style blower with an efficient four-lobe rotor set and compact intercooler The ZL1 also features a  standard dual-mode exhaust system, with vacuum-actuated valves in the exhaust pipes for a refined exhaust note  at low speeds as well as a free-flowing system for peak performance. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. With either transmission, the Camaro ZL1 delivers performance that rivals some of the world’s fastest supercars:

Manual Automatic
0 – 60 mph (from rolling start) 4.0 seconds 3.9 seconds
1/4-mile (from a rolling start) 12.1 sec at 119 mpg 12.0 sec at 119 mpg
Top speed 180 mph 184 mph
Max lateral grip 1.0 g 1.0 g

“With 0 to 60 taking less than four seconds, the acceleration of the ZL1 is just awesome,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer, “but horsepower is only half of the story. The ZL1’s most significant measurement of  performance is lapping the Nurburgring in 7:41.27. That’s astounding for a 2+2 coupe, and a great testament to the acceleration, braking, grip, and balance of the Camaro ZL1. It is the well-rounded performance of the Camaro ZL1 that will set the bar for the sports-car segment.”

Exclusive, track-capable technologies 

To deliver that well-rounded performance, the Camaro ZL1 comes standard with several track capable technologies  that are exclusive to the sports car segment. For example, the Camaro ZL1 is the first sports car to feature the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. This advanced suspension system employs valve-less damping and  Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid technology to varies the suspension firmness to match the road and driving conditions. “Traditional suspension systems at some point   compromise ride quality for road-holding grip and  body control,” said Oppenheiser. “With Magnetic Ride Control, we can offer customers the best of both worlds: A comfortable ride that makes the ZL1 appropriate as a daily driver and the incredibly precise  body control that takes the ZL1 so enjoyable on the track.” Also standard on the Camaro ZL1 is Performance Traction Management (PTM), which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, PTM is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power steering response to enhance performance. For example, the launch control feature (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 100 times per second to maximize the available traction. Similarly, on a road course, the driver can apply full throttle when exiting a corner and PTM will automatically manage acceleration dynamics to maximize exit speed based on available traction. In addition, the Camaro ZL1 has been engineered to be track-capable from the factory, including a rear-differential cooler, an integrated engine- and transmission-oil cooler, and brake cooling ducts as standard equipment. As such, the ZL1 offers many technologies and features not available on the Ford Shelby GT500:

Camaro ZL1 GT500
Magnetic Ride Standard Not available
Performance Traction Management Standard Not available
Factory engine and transmission coolers Standard Dealer-installed option
Factory brake cooling ducts Standard Dealer-installed option
Factory rear differential cooler Standard Dealer-installed option

Additional features and options  

The interior of the Camaro ZL1 features standard leather seating surfaces with suede microfiber inserts, and  heated, powered-adjustable front seats. Standard technologies include a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics® audio  system; USB and Bluetooth connectivity; and rear-park assist with a rear-view camera display integrated in the center rear-view mirror.

The Camaro ZL1 is available with six options:
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift controls is $1,185
  • 20-inch, bright aluminum wheel package is $470
  • Power sunroof is $900
  • Stripe package is $470
  • Exposed-weave carbon fiber hood insert is $600
  • The suede package, including sueded microfiber accents on the steering wheel, shift knob, and shift boot is $500
The Camaro ZL1 Coupe will go on sale in the spring of 2012, as a 2012 model. The Camaro ZL1 Convertible will go  on sale in the summer of 2012, as a 2013 model. Pricing for the Camaro ZL1 Convertible will be announced later.

Camaro Aces NHTSA Crash Test Ratings

Is the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro the safest car on the planet?  Maybe so.

What comes to mind when you think of Camaro?  Performance, history, popularity? Same here.  Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ran the 2012 Chevy Camaro through the barrage of safety tests.  Little did they know the end result would be the Camaro scoring a perfect five star rating!

That isn't really news as many other vehicles end up with a five star rating, but the Camaro is the only one to do it in all six categories (front barrier crash test ratings for the driver and passenger, side crash ratings for the driver and passenger, a rollover rating and the vehicle's overall rating).

Hats off to the people that make up Chevrolet's engineering center for this accomplishment!  Thank you or bringing us one of the coolest cars on the road and keeping us safe in the process!

Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept die cast collectible

Are you a Hot Wheels Collector Club member? If not, you might want to be...

Chevrolet® designers and Hot Wheels unveiled the 1:1 scale Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept debuted at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Now it's your turn for a little wish-fulfillment: just be here on Tuesday, November 15th at 9:00 AM PT when the RLC window of opportunity opens on the 1:64 scale Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept!

In a case of life imitating toys then toys imitating life, the 1:1 scale Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept was inspired by the Custom Camaro® 1:64-scale toy that was part of the original 16 Hot Wheels cars released in 1968, which in turn inspired the 1:64 Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept you see before you. (For all the details on the development of the 1:1 vehicle, click here.) Like the original 1968 1:64 version and the 2011 1:1 version, this one is gets a gorgeous green finish. It features authentic logos and a license plate commemorating "SEMA 11," all sitting on a full-metal, matte black chassis. It's features like these that make this cool custom a most-wanted for both Camaro® and Hot Wheels collectors alike:
  • Spectraflame green finish
  • Black stripe deco and authentic logos
  • Thin five-spoke wheels w/red foil lip
  • Full-metal, matte black chassis
  • Light smoke tint windshield
  • Gray Interior

Nestled safely inside an acrylic case featuring both the Hot Wheels and Chevrolet® logos, and the vehicle name, the Hot Wheels Camaro® Concept can be yours for just $19.99 plus S&P (shipping & processing) each. There is a purchase limit of TWO vehicles per RLC membership on the first day of availability. If quantities remain after the RLC 24-hour Priority Window, it will be available for purchase by all basic HWC memberships, with a purchase limit of two vehicles per membership during the second day of the sale.

Offers available to RLC members only for a
24-hour Priority Window: 11/15/11, 9:00 AM PT

Any remaining quantities available to
ALL HWC members: 11/16/11, 9:00 AM PT

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