The driving experience is not altogether different than Hellcat. In fact, the first third of throttle travel feels more alert and aggressive than the more powerful SRT. Moreover, full-throttle shifts sound like artillery going off with the Scat Pack’s Hellcat-inspired active exhaust system. The power comes on quickly, and when gears are shifted manually through the steering wheel paddle shifters, you better be on your game—the rev-limiter comes up quick in the first few gears. Pulling away from the intersection, you’ve got to be ginger with the gas pedal, as the tires will erupt with squealing and chirping during what we’d call normal driving.
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.
The looks of the Shelby GT are drop dead gorgeous and the S550s finely sculpted body lines are accented nicely by all the true carbon fiber panels such as the tail light panel, rear diffuser, spoilers, rocker panels, splitter and even the functional heat extractors on the carbon fiber hood that is painted to match the car.
At Mopars at the Strip, Hot Rod magazine had a similarly optioned automatic Scat Pack Charger, and ran a 12.87/107. That’s quick for any car, let alone one that tops the scale at over two tons. Our curiosity led us to the Dynojet chassis dyno at Kenne-Bell Performance, where we put our 2015 Scat Pack Challenger on the rollers. The press-fleet example put out 434 hp to the wheels, which was 9 hp more than a bone-stock ’14 SRT 392 Challenger tested earlier on the same dyno by Kenne-Bell.
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.
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.
Some will tell you burnouts are unnecessary when driving on stock tires, we disagree. Why? Because tires pick up pebbles and debris, especially in the pits at a race track. If you try to launch with all this crud on your tires, you’ll probably spin. It’s like running on marbles. You can imagine how that would end. Doing a burnout, even a short one, cleans the tires and offers the best rubber-to-rubber contact.
Meanwhile, a Daimler-era Chrysler rounded up all their horsepower-junkie engineers, locked them in a room, and slapped an SRT badge on the door. Like a grenade going off in a small closet, it didn’t take long for these modern-day Ramchargers to scatter buckshot through the performance ranks at GM and Ford.
The inside of the 2015 Shelby GT is just as impressive as the exterior with plenty of unique touches such as the Katzkin interior, Recaro bucket seats, Shelby 3-gauge dash pod as well as a Ford Performance Racing Parts Short Throw Shifter to help you bang through the gears with ease.
Our Scat Pack was a base model with just the extra eight-speed TorqueFlite, so you can order one with a lot more gear, including a variety of seating, technology, convenience, and entertainment options. (See the sidebar.) You can even step up to the Scat Pack Shaker package, which adds the inspired legacy hood scoop with a functional cold-air intake.
Goodyear tires are used on all models: The LT features standard 18-inch wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires with available 20-inch wheels matched with Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires as an option. Camaro SS features standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires.
While the drag racing launch can be violent (we’ve all seen racers dump the clutch and blast off the line), street tires require a smooth, controlled application of power to stay hooked. Your best times will come from getting off the line clean. Finesse is key. Believe it or not, we recommend novice drivers launch as if they were driving away from a traffic light, but with more rpm and slightly quicker clutch release. We would say 2,500 is a great place to start. Using this rpm, you’ll probably bog the engine a bit. No problem—add rpm, or get the clutch out quicker.
The Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift. It also has a specific rear spoiler. The hood vents don’t simply provide an exit point for hot underhood air. They funnel air drawn through the grille out and over the car, which improves performance because it prevents the air from being forced under the car, where it can cause lift.