CONCORD, North Carolina – Contrived? Maybe only a little. However, Chevrolet’s idea to offer us a 2017 Camaro ZL1 to force to Daytona Seashore, Florida, made sense once the organization brought up the numbers: 650 for 500 to the 500.
As in 650 horsepower from the supercharged LT4 6.2-liter V-8. As in 500 miles from Concord, which is just north of Charlotte, to Daytona Seashore. And 500 once more, as within the Daytona 500, where Chevrolets would start at the front row, each from Hendrick Motorsports – more approximately that during a second – which might follow the Camaro ZL1 tempo car to the green flag, driven through the semi-retired Jeff Gordon, who gained 4 NASCAR championships for Hendrick and Chevrolet. Tidy!
It might be great for Chevrolet if we ought to document the logo received the Daytona 500, However of the route, it didn’t. Polesitter Chase Elliott ran out of gasoline, allowing Stewart-Haas driver Kurt Busch to get the past for his first win in the first race after the four-vehicle Stewart-Haas team switched from Chevrolet to Ford.
Regrettably for Ford, although, as high-quality as the 526-horsepower 2017 Mustang Shelby GT350 is, Chevrolet’s ZL1 has the clean, modern gain inside the 50-yr Pony vehicle wars. Yes, Stay clear of has the pleasant 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat. However, the chassis and aerodynamics are a few years behind the most up-to-date Camaro and Mustang.
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The primary enchantment of this ride – apart from the plain using-a-hotrod-to-a-NASCAR-race – was to peer how properly the ZL1 dealt with a 500-mile drive in a day, which brings us back to the first forestall closing Wednesday night time: Hendrick Motorsports, home of contemporary NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Elliott, and 7-time NASCAR Monster Power Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
No longer noticeably, Hendrick Motorsports was a ghost city, with a maximum of the important thing gamers in Daytona. A handful of employees in the shop that homes the automobiles for Johnson and Earnhardt banged on bodies and measured shells with templates, probable operating on vehicles for soon-to-come races in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
But that didn’t rely upon, as we came to see the large Hendrick Historical past Center, which isn’t always open to the public, no pics allowed – although if you buy a vehicle from the Historical past Middle, you get an excursion. Automobiles are available for buy range from a 1990 Chevrolet Suburban ($39,990) to Gordon’s 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a 4-time Martinsville NASCAR winner, for $four hundred,000.
The Heritage Middle – and this isn’t always to be harassed with Hendrick’s 15,000-square-foot museum, which is open to the general public–is surely packed with an eclectic series of stuff that both has a private that means to Rick Hendrick, or that he likes. There’s a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am “Smokey and the Bandit” automobile that Mrs. Hendrick offered for Rick, which has just double-digit miles. There’s a beautiful 1961 Corvette, Hendrick’s first of a multitude of Corvettes. Of simply greater than 200 Vehicles right here, half are Corvettes. And the most amazing part of the Background Center collection is the wide variety of particular Corvettes, which might be Hendrick’s favorite: 1967, 427-powered Stingrays. Thirty-seven of them. And each automobile in the collection is ready to run on the turn of a key.
If you have ever driven a Corvette powered by using a 427-cubic-inch engine – and we’re speaking any 427, Now not just the holy-grail LS7, 435-horsepower Tri-Power model – the car becomes a rocket at the dual carriageway But ponderous round metropolis, threatening to overheat or foul a plug or par-boil its two occupants in a warm climate. It shook, it rattled, it roared, and it frequently took little extra than a Sunday force to reason the Corvette-loving husband to change in his massive-block prize on something more docile or face divorce. Apologies if this sounds sexist, However men who anticipated a hundred-pound spouse to embrace a 4-velocity, 427 Corvette as her everyday motive force better have married Shirley Muldowney.
This brings us to the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1: It’s a automobile that, When you have speedy friends who could match on the package deal shelf that passes for a rear seat, is genuinely delighted to carpool around Manhattan. In particular, with the brand new 10-speed automatic transmission, which, we’ll cross beforehand and tell you currently, is the unmarried most mind-blowing characteristic of the 2017 ZL1. It replaced the 8-velocity automated we had within the 640-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V some weeks ago, the most effective characteristic we got here returned complaining about after a 700-mile weekend in the Caddy. It tended to shudder slightly because it hit eighth gear, and the engine dropped returned to four cylinders to save fuel. No such trouble inside the ZL1, However, Not lots within the manner of gas savings, either: Our mileage ran quite near the bleak EPA ratings of 12 mpg town, 20 toll road for the automatic, and 14 metropolia and 20 toll road for the six-speed manual.
Buy the automatic, and you’ll pay $1,595 extra than the manual and $2,100 within the federal “gas guzzler” tax ($1 three hundred for the six-pace). This brought the sticker of our loaded ZL1 convertible with the automatic to $72,325. The six-speed coupe we drove, which had a base rate of $ sixty-two,135, turned into about $five 000 greater than that out the door.
And talking of out the door, we had been Thursday morning, after a briefing on the auto. Car magazine has already given you the details in multiple stories; this time, our task informs you of how it all worked on an actual journey.
The primary half of the 500 miles we spent inside the aforementioned six-pace coupe turned into optioned heavily, which includes the $495 MyLink audio machine with navigation and an eight-inch touchscreen. It’s exceptional to look at the expenses of nav structures dropping given the truth that all of us have smartphones or, lacking that, a wonderfully first-class $89 TomTom from Walmart.
The six-speed guide is nicely matched to the engine’s prodigious Electricity. The shifter itself is stiff. However, the car was logo-new, and after a few thousand miles, it’ll be great. Seize action is firm However doesn’t require a lot of stress, even though take-up is a touch abrupt.
Clutch take-up is definitely abrupt then until you get the grasp of modulation. Especially, as I learned, if you don’t know how to power a guide, as my car-mate did No longer, or at the least hadn’t driven one in years. Or don’t. Both ways, we made it to the checkpoint unscathed. We swapped the coupe for a convertible, grey because the Ferrari pink and yellow models tend to be dual carriageway Patrol magnets.
The convertible pinnacle drops and increases fast and works at hurries up to 30 mph. Wind buffeting is present, However tolerable even at 80 mph and beyond. Inside, the Recaro seats, standard, are great – thin and light as you would expect in a performance automobile “looking after” its weight (4,148 pounds with the automated in convertible shape, 2 hundred kilos lighter than its predecessor), However secure and supportive even after an extended day inside the cockpit. Gadgets and controls are reasonably intuitive, but they are regarded as more complicated than vital, having just popped out of a 2017 Lexus GS F.
Coupe or convertible, outward visibility remains a problem with the Camaro, though admittedly lowering the pinnacle provides for your sightline. The new Camaro is better-looking than the previous model, Mainly the extensive-bodied model used here to squeeze the large, very capable Goodyear F1 Supercar tires below their respective fenders. But it’s nonetheless pretty excessive-waisted. Even at the top of six toes, resting my arm in the open window is much less relaxed than I want it was because, given the ZL1’s exhaust note, I’d force it with home windows down plenty.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 rear three areas 02
As referred to, as we cruised down Interstate 95 beyond the Florida nation line closer to Daytona Seashore, that 10-velocity automated, which we feared might be annoyingly busy, was something But. It is a transparent transmission, seemingly inside the right equipment regardless of the circumstance. It’s a winner.
And so is the magnetic-ride suspension, which continues to prove its really worth in almost every software: stiff whilst you need it to be, and pretty compliant while you don’t, it’s a actually all-reason system that, matched to the large Brembo brakes, works equally nicely on the track and the street. Even inside the stiffest putting, the journey became tolerable at the Interstate. Properly done.
So we made it to Daytona Beach within the Camaro ZL1, if Not pretty to Daytona Global Speedway, wherein – since the Daytona 500 is a restrictor-plate race – we would have arrived with greater horsepower than any automobile NASCAR had on the track this weekend, and for that remember, at least as an awful lot horsepower as any entry inside the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports activities-vehicle staying power race some weeks ago. It’s a right of passage for any high-horse street automobile to power thru the lengthy flip-one tunnel beneath the music and, um, display what the car feels like below heavy acceleration. Didn’t get that hazard. Maybe next time.
And talking of subsequent time: Saturday afternoon, Chevrolet amazed all and sundry at the experience while it unveiled the 2018 Camaro ZL1 with the 1LE package. In brief, in case you just ordered a 2017 ZL1, you’ve got already been trumped.
Camaro ZL1 WIKI
The 1LE is avenue-legal, with aircon and all that. However, it’s a clearly committed song rat with a suspension advanced using Multimatic (the organization that builds the brand new Ford GT), and among the mounting factors at the ZL1, which are cushioned with the aid of a nice rubber, bushing, are honestly metal-to-metallic on the ZL1 1LE. This means superb stiffness at the tune (desirable!) and ideal stiffness for your day-by-day power (Perhaps Now not so top! See the connection with 427 Corvette above).