The most important consideration for any track-day special is not horsepower, suspension setup, brakes or tries. Ask any Formula One team, Le Mans racer or local SCCA guru; the number one consideration is cooling. If the car doesn’t stay cool, the car won’t run. You can have a million horsepower, but does no good if you are sitting in the pits waiting for your engine to cool.
General Motors understands this well, so for its new track-focused Camaro Z/28 it has taken every piece of the car to the drawing board to help improve cooling and overall performance. One of the biggest changes to the car ended up being the smallest; the Flowtie.
During wind tunnel testing, engineers noticed that the shining gold bowtie on the grille was forcing lots of air away from the radiator. Richard Quinn, one of the Powertrain Cooling Development engineers, decided to take the bowtie off and he cut out the gold insert, leaving just the chrome outline. The results spoke for themselves with a 3-cubic-meter increase in airflow every minute. The net result of that was a 2-degree temperature decrease.
The newly christened Flowtie is now standard on every Z/28. If you have ever hacked at your car with a grinder, you are now justified.
If that wasn’t enough proof that Chevy believes the Z/28 is a true track machine, think about this. General Motors will provide you full warranty service even if you cane your Camaro at the local track. There are essentially no other manufacturers that will cover your engine explosion in turn 6 at VIR.
It is at this point where I believe GM would “drop the mic” and walk off dramatically.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is the newest track focused car to come from General Motors. It takes the Camaro, and adds the same 7.0-liter LS7 V8 from the C6-generation Corvette Z06. Horsepower sits at 505 with the torque rating coming in at 481 pound-feet. If you are a fan of superlatives, that makes the LS7 the most powerful naturally-aspirated regular production small block ever created.
Weight is also a strong focus of the Z/28 and the car weighs 300 pounds less than the supercharged ZL1 model Camaro.
Gallery Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
In developing the 2014 Camaro Z/28, the team scrutinized every component looking for ways to improve track performance, lap after lap. Even the iconic Chevrolet bowtie faced audit.
During aerodynamics testing, Powertrain Cooling Development engineer Richard Quinn noticed that the bowtie on the Z/28’s grill was displacing air away from the radiator, which can impact engine cooling – an important aspect for all vehicles, especially track-oriented cars.
Removing the bowtie altogether did not seem to be an appropriate solution. Instead, Quinn took a cut-off wheel to the gold fill of the bowtie, leaving the silver outline intact. He installed the prototype on the grill and retested to see the results.
“There are engineers in our team that race as a hobby,” said Quinn, “and we used that racer’s mindset to look for ways small or large to get better performance out of the Z/28. Even the smallest details on the Z/28 were weighed for cooling benefit, and this is one that stuck.”
The “Flowtie,” as the engineers now affectionately refer to it, is just the chrome outline of the traditional bowtie, with the center removed. This simple solution alone was enough to allow three additional cubic meters of air into the engine per minute. Engineers found the Flowtie dropped the temperatures of engine coolant and engine oil by 2°F (1.2°C) during extended track sessions. That seemingly small improvement was enough to justify making the Flowtie standard on every new Z/28.
“The Flowtie is just one example of the team’s focus on track performance,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “That same attention to detail is evident throughout the cooling systems for the LS7 engine, as well as the carbon ceramic brakes and the differential.”
The naturally aspirated Z/28 weighs 300 pounds less than the supercharged Camaro ZL1 and 55 pounds lighter than the Camaro 1LE - with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.
“The Camaro Z/28 has more than 190 unique parts, compared to a Camaro SS,” Oppenheiser said. “Like the Flowtie, each of these parts were changed with one objective: to deliver incredible performance on the track – not just for the first lap, but lap, after lap, after lap.”
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 arrives in dealerships this spring.