We tend to preload the shifter just a bit, then stab the clutch and rip the shifter. We repositioned our hand from a side grip to a top grip to ram the shifter forward for the Two-to-Three exchange. In the new GT you’re shoving it almost directly forward—aim too much to the right and you’ll find Fifth, which happened to us twice. Then, get ready to pull straight back for Fourth. For Fourth, put your elbow away from your body to prevent yanking the shifter into Second gear.
More on all of them below, but it’s worth noting for anyone having philosophical reservations about a four-cylinder Camaro that at 275 horsepower, it’s more powerful than any small-block V-8 offered between 1972 and 1992 and at 335 horses, the new V-6 flat-out trumps every small-block from 1967 to 2002. Progress can be a wonderful thing.
There’s also a new center console that shows Chevrolet was listening to its more enthusiastic Gen 5 owners. It is designed specifically for easier shifting with a manual transmission, thanks to a repositioned armrest and the elimination of the mechanical, pull-up parking brake. In its place is a simple switch for an electric park brake.
Never has this much power been available to performance enthusiasts for so little money. The Hellcat is nice, but if we face facts, very few of us can afford the price of entry at $60K (plus dealer markup). The 392 Scat Pack is available for $20 grand less, and is sold at every Dodge dealership, not just the SRT-approved stores. The Scat Pack name itself is a blast from the past, and along with the Super Bee logo and Scat Pack specific styling elements, evokes the famous four-year run of Scat Pack products put out by Dodge beginning in 1967.
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.
You can feel slight chirping or slipping of the tires and apply power and clutch accordingly to get maximum traction and acceleration. The IRS provides excellent grip on launch, but it also reduces some of that feel because the tires are more isolated from the chassis. Because of this, it’s harder to feel exactly what the car is doing, which is important when you’re on the ragged edge of slip or grip. This forced us to drive more conservatively to find consistency. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem with drag radials or slicks.
Despite having enough power to bury the speedometer quickly, the Shelby GT feels very refined and composed. You could easily daily drive it or take a road trip in one without going deaf from a loud exhaust drone. The Borla exhaust gives the supercharged 5.0L Coyote an aggressive tone that harks back to the early days of the Shelby Mustangs that just simply can’t be beat.
Dimensionally, the new Camaro is slightly trimmer in all exterior dimensions and notably in a nearly 2-inch reduction in wheelbase but the overall effect is more dramatic, particularly with almost fastback profile. It simply looks lean and taught.
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.
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!
It was certainly a big deal when Chevrolet resurrected the car for 2010. The “heritage”-style homage to the iconic first-generation design was an unqualified hit. To date, Gen 5 Camaro sales have surpassed 500,000 and has outsold the Mustang for the past four years. In an age when car buyers are turning increasingly to crossovers, that’s no small feat.
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.
We use the release-pause-release method, and it works really well. Let us explain. Since you don’t have a huge sidewall (like slicks have) to absorb the initial “hit” during launch, you’ll need to create a buffer to absorb the initial movement at the tires. If you don’t have a buffer, you’ll just spin. When it’s time to go, release the clutch quickly, but controlled. Then, just as the car is transferring weight, pause your left leg for a moment.
Standard lighting includes halogen projector beam headlamps and taillamps. RS and SS models add HID projector-beam headlamps and LED “signature lighting” daytime running lights including a sweeping LED light pipe integrated in the headlamp and an LED light pipe integrated into the front fascia. RS and SS models also feature LED lighting for the rear taillamps, including auxiliary LED light guides that mirror the shape of the front signature lighting.