As the spirit of Christmas is all around most of us, you would think that watching a YouTube video of a modified Camaro Z/28 being trashed around a circuit couldn’t transform the holidays into an even more cheerful way of spending your time. You would be very wrong though, as that is exactly what the footage above achieves — all you need to do is pump up the volume, hit the “play” button and get ready for a visual and aural experience to last you until 2015.
In short, the video shows a Hennessey-tuned 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 while it gets driven hard by former GM performance division engineer and SCCA national champion John Heinricy. With 505 horsepower squeezed from a naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V-8, a drastic decrease in weight, carbon-ceramic brakes and sticky Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires, a stock Camaro Z/28 would be more than enough to throw you out of its bucket seats during a thorough track session. With that being said, I can only imagine what a Hennessey HPE600 variant would do to its passengers’ internal organs when let loose on the MSR Houston circuit, like John Heinricy does in the footage above.
Despite what its name might imply, the HPE600 upgrade for the Camaro Z/28 doesn’t have 600 horsepower. Instead, its has 636 of them created via ported cylinder heads, a modified valvetrain, new camshaft and Hennessey ECU upgrade and last, but certainly not least judging by the hair-tingling sounds in the video, long-tube headers for the exhaust system. The result, apart from keeping its engine naturally-aspirated as GM intended, pretty much takes the track-ready Camaro to all-new heights in terms of performance. That WW II fighter plane exhaust sound would probably be worth it alone.
Why it matters
Most professional tuners out there would have probably dropped a couple of turbos on the Z/28’s LS7 V-8 and called it a day, but that is not what Hennesey is about, though the company does offer more powerful twin-turbo packages for the Z/28. The Texas-based performance company actually went to all the trouble of squeezing every ounce of extra horsepower it could find in there without resorting to the much easier route of forced induction with the HPE600. That definitely counts for something, and the result is probably the most track-ready car in the entire GM lineup, including the recently-unveiled Corvette Z06.
Sure, the Z06’s performance numbers would contradict me, but old-school track cars follow the exact recipe of the Z/28, especially when it comes equipped with the Hennessey HPE600 package. There is a reason why Chevrolet doesn’t consider the more powerful Camaro ZL1 a better track model, instead charging almost twenty grand extra for the privilege of driving a true road-going racing car: the Z/28.