The day has finally come when Chevrolet is building flying cars. Maybe not quite like George Jetson’s ride, but at least in our eyes, it’s far more exciting. Engineers developing the 2014 Camaro Z/28 programmed in a “flying car” mode into the car’s Performance Traction Management system to compensate for the sudden loss of traction if the car goes airborne over a cresting hill like those found along the 12.9 miles of undulating tarmac at the infamous Nürburgring.

Rather than letting the PTM cut torque to the rear wheels due to a decrease in traction like it normally would, the Z/28’s driver can engage “fly car logic.” The system works by using the ride-height sensors to detect when the suspension is fully decompressed and the tires are no longer in contact with the pavement. When that scenario occurs, the PTM is temporarily disengaged allowing full torque to continue to the wheels. Milliseconds after landing, the system returns to normal and continues to manage the 7.0-liter V-8’s 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque.

Chevy says “flying car logic” gives the Z/28 up to a five-second advantage on the car’s overall lap time around the ‘Ring, which is currently recorded at 7 minutes, 37 seconds.

“Flying car logic” is available in all five PTM modes, but is said to be most effective in Mode 5, the most hard-core track setting. Even without GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, the Z/28 easily outruns the Porsche 911 Carrera S and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 around the Nürburgring. It also outguns its Camaro ZL1 cousin by a four-second margin.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior
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Chevrolet’s Camaro Z/28 is the brand’s all-purpose track star. It’s reworked and massaged to squeeze every possible second off lap times around a racetrack. Its naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V-8 kicks out 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque through a Tremec TR6060 six-speed, close-ratio manual transmission. A limited-slip differential with a helical gear set puts that power to the ground through massive 305/30ZR19 Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires.

Large, 15.5-inch Carbon Ceramic Matrix rotors and six-piston calipers up front and 15.3-inch rotors with four piston calipers out back scrub off speed. The Brembo brakes also shave an amazing 28 pounds off the car’s weight. Also cutting weight is a thinner rear window and rear seatback, among other things, to save a total of 300 pounds over the Camaro ZL1.

The Z/28 will go on sale this spring with a starting price of $75,000. Tack on another $995 for the destination charge and yet another $1,150 if you’d like the optional air conditioner and six-speaker stereo.

Press Release

Engineers call it “flying car” logic. On the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, the Performance Traction Management system delivers faster lap times on an undulating race track by helping maintain the car’s full power and momentum even if the tires briefly lose contact with the ground, in certain track conditions.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior
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Created for track use only, the “flying car” logic woven into the Z/28’s standard PTM system integrates the chassis mode selection, Traction Control and Active Handling Systems. Each is tuned specifically in the Z/28 for optimal track performance and consistency, and is activated by the driver pressing a button in the center console.

Without “fly car logic”, the PTM would interpret the force reduction on the tires as a loss of traction and reduce torque to restore it. Such an intervention would likely slow the car and reduce momentum.

“PTM uses torque, lateral acceleration and rear-axle wheel slip to define the amount of traction control required, but when the car clears a rise on the track, it normally wants to decrease torque to increase traction,” said Bill Wise, Camaro Z/28 vehicle performance engineer.

“The unique logic in the system uses the ride-height sensors to determine the reduction in force on the tires that’s unique to track driving and allows the car to continue with uninterrupted momentum and, ultimately, a better lap time.”

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior
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Technologies such as PTM and the track-oriented logic helped the Camaro Z/28 log a lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course that was four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1, and beat published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. The Flugplatz section of the Nürburgring has a rise that engaged the logic during the Z/28’s 7:37 lap time.

Additionally, PTM enables the driver to press the accelerator pedal to wide open at the exit of the corner and manages acceleration based on the given vehicle dynamics. Five performance levels, or modes, are available to accommodate a variety of driving conditions.

The track-oriented “flying car” logic is available in all PTM modes, but it is most effective in Mode 5, calibrated for the fastest lap times. The Z/28 represents the first non-Magnetic Ride Control application of PTM, pioneered on the Corvette ZR1 and incorporated in the Camaro ZL1. Engineers further refined it for the car on the road course at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Michigan and on Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior
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Like the Flugplatz, a section of the Milford course proved particularly effective in calibrating the logic. It features a hill sandwiched between turns Pahrump 1 and 2, named for and based on a pair of challenging corners on the 3.4-mile-long road course at Spring Valley Motorsports Ranch, in Pahrump, Nev.

“The hill between Pahrumps 1 and 2 is ideal for testing the feature,” said Wise. “The car noticeably lifts as it clears the top of the rise. Without the logic built into PTM, the torque reduction would unnecessarily slow the car. With it, the car receives full torque over the rise, which helps reduce the lap time – and it is part of the reason why PTM Mode 5 can be as good, or better, than a driver’s best effort, on certain track conditions.”

Complementing PTM, the Z/28’s reflexes over rises and grip around corners are competition-derived spool-valve dampers, specific suspension bushings, coil springs and stabilizer bars, a unique zero-preload limited-slip differential and 19-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli PZero Trofeo R motorsport-compound tires.

“The new Camaro Z/28 was bred on and for the track,” said Wise. “From the hardware bolted to the chassis to the software such as the “flying car” logic, every element built into it was designed to help deliver faster lap times, with consistency, control and dependability.”

Ready for the track
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the fastest Camaro ever on a track, with improved speed coming from three areas:

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior
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Increased grip: The Z/28 is capable of 1.08 g in cornering acceleration, due to comprehensive chassis revisions
Increased stopping power: The Z/28 features Brembo carbon ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration, and consistent brake feel, lap after lap
Reduced curb weight: The naturally aspirated Z/28 is 55 pounds lighter than the Camaro SS 1LE, with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.

Power comes from the 7.0L LS7 engine, rated at an SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm). A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is the only transmission offered and power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs, for optimal traction.

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