Since Street & Race Technology’s debut in 2003, they’ve punished would-be performers in every segment, including compact, truck, SUV, sedan, luxury car, ponycar, and exotic categories. And in case you hadn’t noticed, none of SRT’s successes would be possible if they weren’t good at math—specifically the performance/value quotient.
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.
Next-generation Camaros don’t come along very often the 2016 model is only the sixth in the nearly 50 years since the car went into production so when one does appear, it’s an understandably big deal.
First came Hellcat, forever changing the gearhead meaning of the numbers “707.” Hellcat almost overshadowed what was arguably the more significant performance/value breakthrough—the 485hp Scat Pack Challenger and Charger. Nevertheless, it hasn’t escaped our attention, and we hope it won’t escape yours either.
In addition to giving you the scoop on our quarter-mile times, we figured we would include our driving technique and offer a few tips so you can get the most from your Mustang. This can be applied to any Mustang, old or new, stick or auto. Ultimately, your best times will come once you’ve refined your driving technique and your talent in regards to burnout, staging, launching, and shifting. Let’s begin with the burnout.
There’s also a new interpretation of the Camaro’s iconic red, white, and blue “banner” insignia, displayed on the front fenders. We are told it was pushed by the Chevy design studio’s younger members, who thought the nod to earlier generations was wholly appropriate. We agree.
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.
A set of Rouge Racing upper and lower control arms offer a heavy duty suspension package that can hold up to the stresses of high-speed off-road jaunts while a set of King 2.5-inch coilover remote reservoir shocks soak up the hard hits and smooth out the bumps. Out back, a set of King 2.5-inch bypass shocks keep the truck floating over the whooped out roads.
To help the Shelby GT grip through the curves while laying down all its newfound power, a set of Shelby specific 20-inch Weld Racing forged aluminum wheels wrapped I sticky Michelin rubber are used. A set of 6-piston Wilwood calipers up front and 4-piston Wilwood calipers out back help reel in this pony when jumping on the binders. A brake duct kit ensures the brakes stay cool during spirited driving at the track while adjustable rear control arms and camber/caster plates allow the suspension to be finely tuned for any situation.
Of course, the Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. And yes, it also employs variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). Output is 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most-powerful standard V-8 ever in a Camaro.
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.
All of the new Camaro’s powertrains sound enticing in their own ways and we’re very much interested in what tuners will do with the turbocharged four-banger. Moreover, the promise of the sixth-generation car’s stronger yet lighter chassis and a more driver-focused cockpit are attributes that, on paper, should make it the best Camaro ever.
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’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
Chevy was apparently listening to all that feedback at tuner events, because there’s also a new LED ambient lighting system with 24 different colors that can be switched to a car show mode when the car is parked. It creates a theatrical light show that we can only assume will be hacked to strobe in rhythm to bands like, well… we’re too old-school to hazard a guess. Kids today and their music. Let’s just move on to the engines.