Chevrolet engineers put in a lot of work behind the scenes making sure its cars can withstand all of the abuse its owners will throw at it. With the Camaro SS, one of the tests was the Woodward Avenue transmission test. With the newest ZL1, that testing includes 24 straight hours of lapping GM’s Milford Road Course, with the goal to push the car harder than customers ever will.
As one Chevy engineer so helpfully puts it, “There’s nothing more destructive on a car than [24 hours on a racetrack].” He’s right; often times purpose built endurance racecars can’t endure the rigors and challenges of pushing a car at 110 percent for 24 hours. How’s a pre-production street car supposed to withstand that without breaking?
Well, luckily for the Camaro ZL1, GM’s goal was to break the car so that they could learn what went wrong and fix it before an unlucky customer did the same thing. “The whole idea of the test is to break the car,” said another Chevy engineer, “So it’s not necessarily a failure when we’ve broken something on the car. We want to make sure we break it before a customer goes out, tries to duplicate what we’re doing, and breaks it themselves.”
Aside from some insight from Chevrolet’s engineers on testing the Camaro ZL1, we also get a closer look at some of the hardware that differentiates the ZL1 from the lesser Camaro SS. Some of those upgrades include things like a new differential cooler, stronger half shafts, and a dual-mode exhaust. The Camaro ZL1 will finally hit showrooms in late spring.