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?
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.
Also, keep the rpm steady, as this will keep the Traction-Lok rear engaged properly. Floating the throttle can cause the dreaded one-wheel peel. Once you have the tires clean and warm (you can see if they are smoking by aiming your side mirrors at the rear tires), drive out of the burnout under power. This helps get rid of any residual water, and it’s fun.
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.
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.
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.
While the new S550 platform is a huge improvement over the previous generation when it comes to gripping through the curves and making use of all the power, Shelby American knew they could make the 2015 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT even better. Naturally, they did just that and built what you could honestly call a track ready daily driver, the 2015 Shelby GT—a 650hp supercharged beast that will shove you into the seat if you mash on the throttle or cruise all day long on the highway without a hitch.
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.
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.
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.
“In the best Shelby tradition, we took our already high-performance 575 horsepower Shelby Raptor and made it even more capable,” said Shelby American Vice President of Operations Akos J. Feher. “Fifty lucky owners will have the baddest, best-handling and best-looking Shelby truck we offer. Not to mention, all of the interior fit-and-finish people expect from Shelby. It’s a truck that can thrive under the most extreme conditions.”
But Scat Pack isn’t only about power and performance. Dodge has done a great job enhancing the interior with comfortable and supportive seating, quality materials, attractive instrumentation, and lots of standard features, including 6-way power seating, 4-way power lumbar, 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth, decklid spoiler with backup camera, keyless entry, power windows, dual-zone climate control, media hub, six-speaker stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, electric power steering, paddle shifters, and lots more.
The Dodge boys tried nibbling at the edges of the performance/value proposition with cars like the GLS, GLHS, Viper, and even V-8 Dakota, but the engineers in Auburn Hills never had all the right goodies in the parts bin to snatch victory from their cross-town rivals in Detroit and Dearborn. They kept trying though, and once the LX platform came on line in 2005 with the 5.7L Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum, a nascent ember of hope grew into a large movement that has ignited Mopar faithful and conquest buyers alike.
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.
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.