Flogging 2 brilliant — and unlikely — rivals with sports-auto ace Andy Pilgrim
We’;re in a Barber Motorsports Park garage in Birmingham, Ala., on a brisk morning with pro race-vehicle driver Andy Pilgrim — along with the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Porsche 911 GT3, the newest, street program-focused street automobiles for 2014. Cadillac Racing pays Pilgrim to pilot a CTS-V coupe in the Pirelli Planet Challenge series, but right now he is our hired gun to give us top-level suggestions around the difficult 2.38-mile circuit.
Pilgrim’;s résumé boasts wins at the 12 Hrs of Sebring, Petit Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in addition to quite a few Le Mans podium finishes. And even though he has bagged 5 expert sports-auto championships, it is his articulate, thorough feedback about a car’;s behavior at the restrict that is much more worthwhile to us on this day.
We know what you happen to be contemplating: A Basic Motors factory driver? A Chevy and a Porsche? Stacked deck, anyone? Not so rapidly. Rather, Chevy having no issue letting us drop Pilgrim behind the Camaro’;s wheel (and that of a 911 track machine carrying a $ 60,000 premium) speaks volumes about its self-confidence in the Camaro. Not a lot of producers have the stones to participate in that variety of comparo. But Chevy aims massive with the Z/28.
Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: Bowtie Bomber
Enthusiasts’; wait for the return of the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 ends this spring when the very first of the 3,000 cars lands in dealerships wearing a $ 75,000 cost tag, creating it the most high-priced Camaro to date. Horsepower-centric individuals may well be disappointed: The significantly less-costly, supercharged ZL1 packs 580 hp, although the Z/28 “only” has 505. But they’;re missing the point. The Z/28’;s principal objective is conquering road programs, and all its purposeful hardware adds up to one particular mission: shaving lap times.
An LS7 V8 powers the Z/28 and is practically 64 pounds lighter than the ZL1’;s LSA, strengthening front-to-rear stability and connecting to a 6-velocity guide gearbox. A Torsen limited-slip differential distributes electrical power among the rear wheels the diff works with an upgraded functionality traction-management method featuring “flying auto logic.” In other phrases, it doesn’;t cut power when the car will get airborne all around, say, the Nürburgring Chevy check drivers say the technique saved them approximately 5 seconds a lap on the Nordschleife.
Suspension revisions consist of stiffer springs, bushings and racing-type spool-valve shocks, enabling the engineers to tune the setup a lot more precisely. Chevy says the alterations yield a 1.29-inch decrease center of gravity than the Camaro SS and up to one.08 g of cornering acceleration. Supremely sticky 305/thirty ZR19 Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires wrapped about forged aluminum wheels also assist in corners. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes get the most from the tires below deceleration.
The Z/28 gains an unique front splitter, hood vents, Gurney-lip fender flares, rockers and a rear spoiler to help create 150 lbs of downforce at 150 mph. A dealer-installed wickerbill is accessible for even better downforce. Recaro sport seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel come normal.
Although the engine, brakes and wheels yielded great bodyweight cost savings, engineers whacked even much more: Air conditioning is an alternative there is no sound-deadening material — or floor mats, trunk trim or tire-inflator kit redundant wiring in the harness is gone. There is a lighter rear seat, smaller battery and thinner rear glass. The consequence? The base Z weighs 3,820 pounds, fifty 5 lbs lighter than a 1LE. Our test car has air conditioning and a 6-speaker sound program, bringing it to 3,851 pounds.
Pilgrim is impressed after just a number of laps. “It’;s extremely secure and predictable at the limit,” he says, removing his trademark cartoon-covered helmet, this 1 adorned with “South Park” and “Squidbillies” characters. “The balance, mechanical grip and chassis setup allow you carry excellent mid-corner speeds. It’;s sticking recovery is great and it isn’;t going to come to feel like a 3,800-pound automobile with these Trofeos trying hard to hold you on rails. Brakes are superb with no hint of fade. Mode 5 [race mode] on the functionality traction technique is great I did not come to feel it come in at all.”
Without a doubt, even though Pilgrim operates the Z/28’;s tenacious cornering capacity and powerful brakes all around Barber’;s large-load corners, our guts truly feel shoved up against our body’;s left side. Braking for turns one and 8 bounces our brain into the front of our skull — feels like it, at least. However, that is subjective, seat-of-the-pants evaluation, so the Camaro engineers enthusiastically rig up GPS timing products — they want to know exactly where they stand — and send Pilgrim back out.
He promptly bangs in a one:36.29 lap on a track he’;s never driven ahead of nowadays. Some standpoint: The quickest lap a GS-class Camaro GS.R race vehicle did close to Barber in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race final 12 months was 1:36.02. So a Z/28 off the showroom floor can run with race-prepped autos in the Continental Tire series’; quickest class. Yeah, chew on that for a bit.
Double-Threat Porsche 911 GT3
Subsequent to the Camaro Z/28, Porsche’;s most track-targeted 991 Carrera drips with relative luxury. Our Porsche 911 GT3 check automobile, graciously provided by Champion Porsche in Pompano Seaside, Fla., characteristics navigation, satellite radio, leather- and Alcantara-lined interior with carbon-fiber trim — and floor mats! And, of course, loads of GT3 go-quicker bits.
The drivetrain is a reworked 911 Carrera S 3.8-liter H6. The dry-sump lubricated engine makes 475 hp with a sky-high 9,000-rpm redline thanks to forged-aluminum pistons, forged-titanium connecting rods, new cylinder heads and rocker-arm valve handle. Not like previous GT3s, Porsche delivers this 1 only with a dual-clutch transmission that includes light-weight gears and shorter ratios shifts take place in significantly less than .10 second.
The chassis sits about an inch and a half decrease than a base 911 Carrera and has aluminum shocks, revised wheel bearings and lighter springs. A 2-mode variable damping program and torque-vectoring locking rear differential come common. Likewise, you get active rear-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels one.5 degrees in the opposite path of the fronts at up to 37 mph and parallel to the fronts at much more than 50 mph.
Porsche’;s 2014 911 GT3 comes normal with upsized brakes and cross-drilled steel rotors. If you want carbon ceramics like the Chevy has, go ahead and pony up another $ 9,210. The GT3 also rides on far more street-oriented Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (245/35 ZR20 front, 305/30 ZR20 rear) mounted on center-lock forged wheels.
The GT3 is right away recognizable thanks to a broad physique, a signature fixed rear wing and a front fascia with large air dams for greater cooling. In addition to seeking the element, the GT3, via its sport exhaust, also sounds like a proper track auto. Pilgrim’;s pied piper-like very first buzz down the front straight draws everybody from the pits to the wall for an earful of screaming boxer operating toward that 9,000-rpm redline.
Pilgrim quickly cruises down pit street. The 991’;s conduct surprises him. “The GT3 went to charm college there’;s significantly less rattle and hum within. It feels much much more like a everyday driver” compared to old GT3s and the Z/28, he says. Pilgrim provides the GT3’;s transmission and brakes high marks, but the car proves to be a lot more of a handful at the limit. “The rear finish is trickier, but the traction and stability control work properly. It feels slower via the corners due to a lot more tread squirm and less mechanical grip. The Porsche is swift down the straights, but the Z/28 sticks better in the corners and feels a lot more like a race car. It really is going to be close.”
As if on cue, here come the Camaro boys and their bag of timing tools. Right after some laps Pilgrim describes as “edgy,” the information displays 1:35.76 — .53-2nd faster than the Z/28. Further data dissection displays the one particular location in which the Porsche GT3 is producing up time on the Camaro: down the straights. On the front straight, it truly is 6 mph more rapidly, no doubt thanks to its lighter curb weight (3,153 lbs), slipperier entire body and quicker shifts
A Winning Pair
Surprised by any of this? Never be. These are 2 vastly different vehicles serving a broad audience, obtaining the task accomplished in contrasting methods. Which a single you may possibly deem “better” depends on what you value and, of program, your budget.
The 911 GT3 is not only quick on-track but far more street friendly than just before, thanks to cushier interior confines — nice on the way back from a prolonged track day. Nonetheless, tapping its complete track prospective is much more difficult than with the Camaro. “Simply place, significantly less mechanical grip and the require for more rear downforce in the GT3 equals a lot more sliding and longer slide-recovery instances,” gives Pilgrim, “and this would be a lot more unpleasant for regular track-day warriors.”
The Z/28 is a track-ready vehicle created in the identical vein as Porsche’;s RS versions hardcore weekend warriors will appreciate its better-lap-instances-at-all-charges personality, with 50-treadwear rated tires that you will be lucky to get 2,000 miles out of, a dearth of amenities and what Pilgrim considers a lot more very easily reachable limits. “I can say it’;s less complicated for me to go rapidly in the Z/28, and if I owned one, I would positive go looking for GT3s to play with at any track day.”
Go for the Camaro Z/28 in excess of the Porsche GT3 and you will have a spare $ 56,000 to acquire much more Trofeo R tires. It’;s a tough formula to beat. As Pilgrim says, “These autos are immensely capable and have state-of-the-art stability and traction control for track-day novices. But, if each of these are in my garage, it would be GT3 for the street and Z/28 for the track, every single time.”
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