We spent a week with this yellow screamer hitting all the local hot spots, including Bradenton Motorsports Park, home of the NMRA Spring Break Shootout. Our GT was equipped with the standard rear gear (not 3.73s) along with the Getrag MT-82 six-speed, and we ran the car 100 percent stock—so no drag radials or tune. Heck, we didn’t even cool the engine! Traction was good, but the temperature was 84 degrees with mild humidity—not mineshaft conditions, by any means, but not sweltering either. Based on our experience we were hoping to break in the 12s at about 110 mph.
In short, it was kind of like a chunky guy buying an off-the-rack sport coat because the party was tonight. The Gen 6 Camaro, on the other hand, appears to be precisely tailored and draped over the chest of somebody who’s been taking pilates classes. It’s leaner in both appearance and substance, and it’s one of the few vehicles these days that can boast it’s lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Chevrolet says the overall weight loss is more than 200 pounds. That’s a pretty significant and welcome reduction that will pay dividends in everything from agility to fuel economy.
The time-honored question car enthusiasts often ask is undoubtedly, “What will it run?” Meaning, how quickly can a given car cover the quarter-mile. Drag racing is universal and allows us to compare cars and driver skill no matter where in the world the car is raced. Sure, a great ’Ring time is important, but how many of us will travel to Germany to race? Going quick in the quarter (or eighth-mile) requires a favorable power-to-weight ratio, good traction, and some driver skill. With the 2015 GT, you get 435 ponies and the weight is about 3,750 pounds. So, what will it run and how will the IRS perform on the strip?
Our technique in the 2015 GT is the same as in previous Mustangs. We find an upright driving position to get good leverage on the shifter, and keep our hand on the shifter during launch so we’re ready to go.
If you think you’re ready to own what will likely be one of the most off-road capable pickup trucks on in the world, the limited edition Shelby Baja 700 starts at $45,000, not including the base Raptor. Keep in mind that only 50 will be available and each will be numbered and documented with a unique Shelby CSM number and entered into the official Shelby Registry.
We ended up with a few 13.0 runs and a best of 12.94 at 112.58. It took a little longer than we anticipated to find the sweet spot for launching. As always, more time would have equaled better e.t.’s. In the end, our best run came from revving the 5.0 to approximately 3,200 rpm, and by releasing the clutch smoothly and rolling the throttle to the floor, rather than smashing it open. Drag radials and 3.73s would have gotten us in the 12.50s or 12.60s, based on the mph.
Enthusiasts will tell you there are three types of shifting: granny, speed, and power. Simply stated, if you shift aggressively but lift off the gas, you’re speed shifting. If you ram the gears with the throttle held on the mat, you’re powershifting. Granny shifting is not worth talking about. In any case, you want to complete the shift as quickly as possible and with as little flare in the rpm. Timing is everything. Practice makes perfect. If you’re uncomfortable powershifting, try it at a lower rpm until your shifting is seamless.
In Launch Control mode, follow the prompts to set up your rpm. Once you’ve staged you can put the throttle on the floor and keep it there for launch, or for the entire run if you’re powershifting. When you step off the clutch to launch, the Mustang will do its best to give you maximum acceleration. Using Launch Control still requires a smooth release of the clutch to give you the best performance. While the system allows some spin, excessive spin will cause the computer to apply rear brake and kill a bit of power to regain traction.
We spent a little time in preproduction V-6 models and came away impressed. Very impressed, in fact. With more power than the previous V-6 channeled into a lighter, more agile chassis, the effect is enlightening. Power delivery is strong and immediate, with a strong feeling of torque at low rpm. We look forward to driving the SS, but the V-6-powered LT is no slouch.
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.
Chevrolet is also making Magnetic Ride Control available on the Camaro SS for the first time, and all models offer Brembo brakes (they’re standard on SS). For the Camaro LT, the available brakes include 12.6-inch front rotors with four-piston calipers and 12.4-inch rear rotors with single-piston sliding calipers. The Camaro SS features 13.6-inch front rotors with four-piston fixed calipers and 13.3-inch rear rotors with four-piston fixed calipers.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side but that’s to be expected in a car that is setup for the track. Trust us, you wouldn’t want a floaty suspension with 650hp on tap. Speaking of suspension, Shelby has really done their homework with the Shelby GT as we were able to carve around more than a few corners at speed while the car gripped the tarmac and took it like a champ.
The all-new Mustang has garnered rave reviews from editors and critics for the enhancements in handling. The suspension provides amazing compliance and has better balance than any Mustang to come before, but what about straight-line acceleration? What’s it like to do a burnout, launch, and powershift your way down quarter-mile? Will there be wheelhop, broken half-shafts, and scattered differentials?
Production of the 2016 Camaro begins later in the year at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, in Michigan. It’s the home of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, which is appropriate, because that’s the architecture on which the new car is built. Those Caddies have been hailed as dynamic equals or better than German competitors such as the BMW 3-Series, so having that structure as the Camaro’s foundation is as good as it gets.