By on March 1, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

If you’re worried the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE unveiled this week will be the hottest round fired from the Chevrolet Camaro magazine, fear not. The famed Z/28 will reportedly live on, and not just in memories.

While the upcoming ZL1 1LE utilizes the scorching LT4 drivetrain of its brother — and adds enough downforce-generating attachments to punch through the asphalt — it doesn’t offer Camaro buyers more of what they really want. That being moar powah, obviously.

More power is, apparently, on the way.

According to Car and Driver, Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser claims the hottest variant of Chevy’s pony car is slowly growing legs in the GM stable. When will it drop? That’s classified, sorry.

The big question, which as of yet remains unanswered, is, “what lives under the hood?”

Two options exist. First, GM could massage the existing supercharged LT4 6.2-liter V8, boosting output to about 700 horsepower. That’s a tempting option for the automaker, but not necessarily ambitious.

It’s also possible the Z/28 will become home for a new GM engine family member now in development — one that does away with pushrods in favor of a dual overhead cam setup. The motors, rumored to carry LT6 and LT7 designations, would be 32-valve, all-aluminum V8s and could potentially be GM’s most powerful naturally aspirated and turbocharged, respectively, engines to date.

There’s solid reason to believe the upcoming C8 Corvette will carry a 6.2-liter version of the new engine family, though Car and Driver claims it anticipates Z/28 displacement in the 5.5-liter range. Potential output would top the rival Dodge Challenger Hellcat’s 707 hp, possibly by a wide margin. However, Mopar isn’t GM’s only worry.

Ford is expected to debut a new Shelby GT500 Mustang variant in the coming year, and topping the Hellcat’s horsepower seems to be Job One.

[Image: General Motors]

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27 Comments on “Camaro Z/28 Still in the Works, Aims to Top Hellcat HP: Report...”


  • avatar
    mikein541

    Are these things supposed to be track-only vehicles? There’s nowhere
    in this country that I know of where you let them exhibit their full
    potential, except maybe portions of eastern Utah. Otherwise, the highest
    legal speed limit I know of is 85 mph on some segments of Interstate
    highways out west. And maybe some parts of NV. But people who buy
    these things will be city dwellers with no place to run them except the
    track. Doing 150mph is a 65mph zone could be very costly …

    • 0 avatar
      Ridgerunner

      But getting to 60 in as little time as possible is fun. It isn’t always about the top end. Take a Focus RS in the Blue Ridge mountains for a day and you will never hit the top speed, but will be smiling from ear to ear if you enjoy carving corners for fun. That is my idea of stress relief. Just like the fun I have when I floor the 2.7 v-6 turbo in my wife’s car when the light turns green. No CUV needs 335 hp /380 lbs, but it is fun and how we decided to spend our money. Life is to short to drive boring cars.

    • 0 avatar
      AdamVIP

      The Z28 is traditionally a track oriented trim. Its not necessarily the highest output trim. Id like to see them keep it N/A but that’s their choice to make.

      My concern is Chevy already has an N/A track star in the Corvette grand sport with Z07 package. Right now that runs about 82k. Where is this new super track Camaro going to fit into the lineup? This article makes it seem it will be a higher trim level than the ZL1 LE1 and likely well into the 80s. Are they going to let it be better than the Vette or are they going to start updating the Vettes along side the Camaro?

      GM is awesoming themselves into a dilemma.

  • avatar
    CarDesigner

    Well, it only took THREE years!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    These special editions won’t change the fact that there remains *SIX MONTHS* of Camaro inventory out there.

    GM could stop making Camaros today, and there might still be some left to buy in September. Sooner or later, GM will be forced to reckon with this disparity.

    In sharp contrast, there are only about 2-3 months’ inventory of Mustangs.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    The Hellcat’s not the target anymore. The Demon is the new bogey.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    All the manufacturer’s are making the most powerful petrol powered cars in the history of the automobile…
    And here I was thinking the world was switching to electric cars.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    You know, as much as people complain about modern NASCAR being generic, unrelated to actual cars, etc. why not just have essentially a spec series of these turn key pony cars?

    700+HP GT500’s, Hellcats, and Z28’s would be a riot to watch. Run ’em in the big oval facilities, but use the infield courses to not just be an aerodynamic top speed free for all. The whole race is viewable from the grandstands, pits are viewable, the big screens already exist. If the other automakers have something that can hang, let ’em bang fenders with their M3(4)’s or AMG whatevers. Four place cars produced in real #’s.

    …and you can actually walk in a dealership and buy what you see being raced. Return to the heyday of the Trans Am racing series.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      True, but these cars can’t run the distance, and they’re not safe at the speeds they are capable of achieving.

      • 0 avatar
        xflowgolf

        “can’t run the distance”… doesn’t that become part of the excitement then? It creates a new baseline that needs to be pushed, engineered to, and to me that adds variables and excitement again. Nobody wants to be the unreliable brand, and if there’s a balance to found, that becomes part of the strategy (like saving tires, or preserving fuel).

        There’d obviously be some race prep allowed like other spec series, nobody’s expecting them to run stock brake pads or improper safety gear. As for not safe at the speeds they can achieve? That’s also why I think having a road course format within an oval arena would be ideal to slow them down from just being top speed battles.

        • 0 avatar
          CarnotCycle

          I agree it would be interesting to see actual stock-car racing given capacities of modern vehicles. The liability issues would be huge though, and the Congressional hearings after first season’s bodycount would be, as they say, ‘bad optics.’

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      World Challenge racing is pretty much this concept. Its nice to real cars out there and not templates with stickers crashing constantly (NASCAR).

      While my inner child loves this current high HP war it is becoming total madness… you can’t use this power on the street and you really can’t use it on the track either without some serious upgrades. I’ve been in an R/T (Hemi) Charger on the track and it could not get out of single turn without being sideways due to its huge power level compared the (repetitively) skinny factory tires. It also cooked its oil after only a handful of hot laps. Clearly it was meant for drag strip blasts and not full road course work.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        My Mustang seems to work just fine with 526 horsepower on the track? Also runs repeatedly without cooking anything. Never overheats, brakes don’t fade, oil never gets past 250 degrees.

        Granted that’s generally in 30 minute bites with about an hour for cool down but there was this one time I tossed the keys to my instructor and told him to have at it right after my run so practically an hour with only maybe 10 minutes to cool down. The car was stock and only had 1k on the clock he finished up, we talked about Miata for maybe 30 minutes and I jumped in the car and drove 3 hours back home.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          There is a huge track readiness gulf between a GT350 and a Charger R/T. You would definitely needs some modifications (brakes, tires, at least the Pursuit oil cooler, etc.) to run more than a few laps with the Dodge.

          The full-on SRT stuff should do better but I doubt it would feel as at home on a road course as the Shelby. Really if you want a track FCA, you need a Viper or 4c. Maybe the 124 Abarth or Giulia QV.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    A 6.2 liter NA DOHC V8 topping 707 hp? That would be one high-revving engine. It would sound unreal. It would be GM Ferrari or GM VTEC.

    I have a VERY hard time believing the business case would be there for it, though. That’s a much bigger project than slapping a blower on a pickup truck engine.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      I totally agree. Just from first approximations, 6.2 naturally aspirated liters making >707hp needs to spin above 8000rpm.

      Ferrari approximates that spec almost perfectly with F140-FC engine…using 12 cylinders.

      A V8 that could do such a thing at same displacement would be so oversquare as to be useless for any other purpose, and probably bespoke for the task.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        The 6.2 liter LT engine has a shorter stroke than the 5.2 in the GT350 and in that car with its 8250 rev limit the mean piston speed is 1535 meters per minute, by comparison GM’s 6.2 could rev another 100 rpm using powered metal rods and forged pistons along with a forged crank.

        Titanium connecting rods and lightened pistons would up that obviously or even use the same conventional materials and like the LS7 use a 105mm bore on a 90mm stroke and maintain a similar piston speed to the 5.2 FPC V8 in the Ford while revving to 8500 rpm

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The LT1 would have to then add an additional 1500 rpm. That’s going to be hard to do reliably. But I don’t think that is impossible but getting there will not make economic sense. Howe many of these hi-strung engines will really be needed?

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          I doubt that the production OHV valve train in the LT could handle that for long. If GM would have been able to rev past 7,000 rpm with the LS7 they probably would have and that was the top of the heap when it came to 2 valve pushrod cylinder heads. I should have clarified my comment by indicating I was talking solely about the reciprocating assembly.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    I thought the Z/28 was supposed to be a GT350 competitor with a NA big bore V8 (7.0L? LT7!!!!!!) and less HP than the ZL1?

    • 0 avatar
      AdamVIP

      Doesn’t have to be a large engine, but it does have to compete with the 350R.

      For fun here is John Lingenfelter’s (RIP) flat plane crank LS motor. 621bhp @ 9000rpm. Less than 6 liters of displacement. I wonder if anyone got him to put one of these in their vette?

  • avatar
    lon888

    The Camaro is trying to out-horsepower the Hellcat. Why?!? Are there that many small-penised men in this country? Dear automakers – grow up!

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Not all men who like big horsepower have small penises. Just because you like big horsepowered cars doesn’t make you a representative sample.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      As opposed to what? These are hero cars for the brand, rolling billboards meant to demonstrate the capability of the manufacturer and to provide the fans with something to cheer for.

      Comparatively few will be sold but it will keep people talking (well bench racing as they compare ‘ring times and 1/4 mile runs and shoot outs) about the cars

      Generally its a win/win for every party involved. The manufacturers, the dealers, and brand loyalist as well as sites like this.

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