At a glance, the design of the 2016 Camaro may seem evolutionary, but there are some serious details in it that become more apparent when you see it in the flesh. Chevrolet says it’s more sculpted and we have to agree. From the various planes seen in the hood to even the form of the outside mirrors, there is tremendous attention to detail in it. There’s definitely some C7 Corvette in the details, giving it a familial look, too.
We were impressed with the Scat Pack’s acceleration, turning, and braking—all of it happening with relative ease. It’s a comfortable car with a generously proportioned interior. You never feel cramped, sightlines are good, and there’s plenty of headroom. And unlike other competitors in the ponycar segment, there’s room for passengers and stuff, since the Challenger is based off a slightly shorter version of the same platform as the Charger and 300C.
If you have 3.73 gears (or numerically higher gears) do the burnout in Second gear. With 3.55s or less, use First. The idea is to create wheel speed, as this gets the tires cleaned quickly, without putting too much load on the clutch. And please don’t upshift with a stick in the burnout. Why? When you step on the clutch to shift the tires stop, and since they are already sticky, it’s hard for them to get going again and this will wreak havoc on your clutch. Yes, Pro Stock drivers upshift in the burnout, but they use a clutchless trans.
But more than the history and visual cues, the Scat Pack package is a nod to all the engineering and performance upgrades that must necessarily accompany a powerplant of this magnitude. Improvements over the 5.7L Hemi R/T Challenger include larger four-piston Brembo brakes, wider and taller 20-inch rubber, a larger-diameter 2.75-inch dual stainless-steel exhaust system, Performance Pages, aerodynamically enhanced spoilers, an uprated 3.09:1 limited-slip rear, higher-output 220-amp alternator, and High-Performance suspension. And except for Performance Pages, it’s all needed to safely meet the needs of the Scat Pack’s 177 mph top speed.
Shelby American is a name that is famous for power and performance in the automotive world thanks to its long historic racing pedigree in the early 1960s to present. Many Mustangs have rolled out of the Shelby’s doors to conquer both the street and track and for 2015, they are pulling out the stops with their all-new S550 Shelby GT Mustang. The S550 Mustang also features a fully independent rear suspension on its entire lineup, which has all corner carving enthusiasts excited.
As with many cars these days, the gauge panel is a mix of analog instruments and digital readouts. In the Camaro, there’s a big, 8-inch high-def screen in some models and it’s matched by another 8-inch screen for the MyLink “infotainment” system. Like many other Chevys for 2016, it is compatible with Apple CarPlay, which means you can plug your phone in and “project” many of its controls and apps to the MyLink screen. Again, progress can be a wonderful thing.
So how does the 2015 Shelby GT handle? Lucky for us, we got the opportunity to take the car for a spin and we got to experience just what this 650hp beast is all about. While it feels incredibly fast, you aren’t constantly worried about giving it too much throttle and spinning out. The traction control seems to keep it tracking straight when you crack open the throttle and the sway bars help it hug the curves, even under power.
Start by remaining focused on the tach and listen to the engine—most times we have a specific rpm in mind, but generally we shift by feel. Naturally, you want to shift before the engine hits the rev limiter, but with the Coyote engine you want to get close to redline. In the 2015 we were shooting for 7,000 rpm.
Also like the Corvette, the LT1 (and 3.6L V-6) is available with a dual-mode exhaust, which features electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, uncorking the engine and more importantly enhancing the sound level. You can even personalize the exhaust sound, from a “stealth” mode to the most aggressive “track” mode.
If you’re looking for a good elapsed time, shallow staging is a must. Prestage, stop, collect yourself, and then carefully inch forward until you barely turn on the Stage beam. I’ve seen lots of racers dump the car in both beams in one motion, which usually results in the car being “deep” staged. Since your time starts when your front tires break the stage beam, shallow staging gives you a running start on the timing system. Shallow versus deep can be worth as much as two-tenths of a second!
So how do you make the Shelby Raptor even better, how about slapping on King off-road racing shocks, all-new 35×12.5R18 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires wrapped around a set of custom 18-inch wheels and, oh yeah—stuffing a supercharger under the hood to give it 700hp.
The 2015 is comfortable and nimble on the street. It has good power and a great sound too. We were anxious to get on track, do a real burnout, and launch on a prepped surface. What we found is that the 2015 Mustang is tricky to launch compared to the out-going S197 Mustang. Why? In layman’s terms, the live axle in the S197, which is considered somewhat crude, provides great feedback for drag racing. The three-link suspension does a fantastic job of planting the tires and transferring the torque loads to the body to create pitch rotation (nose lift) to transfer weight from front to back. The heavy axle assembly also gives lots of feedback to the driver and really communicates what the tires are doing.
The 2015 Shelby GT Mustang starts off with the very same 5.0L Coyote V8 from the Mustang GT but the similarities end there as the Shelby GT features a Ford Performance Racing Parts 2.3L TVS supercharger that bumps the power output all the way up to 650hp. You’ll also notice the unique Shelby aluminum caps on the overflow tanks that give the Shelby GT a little more sophistication under the hood. A Shelby cold air intake ensures the supercharged Coyote gets an adequate supply of air to let all 650 horses loose at a moment’s notice while a set of 3.73 gears allow the Shelby GT to get moving in a hurry.