Every time I ask a Chevy engineer about the Nurburgring — that "green hell" of German race tracks used as the gold standard of testing by European automakers — I hear a variation of the same response: Yeah, it's good fun, but we use it only to shake things out, and we're not into swapping hot laps with the competition. This line sounds less than credible today, after Chevy announced it had taken the 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 around the 'Ring in a time that outpaced the new Porsche 911 Carrera S — hitting 161 mph.
In the rain.
With a recorded time of 7 minutes, 37.47 seconds, the Z28 completes the lap four seconds faster than the ZL1 Camaro, not to mention the stock 911, the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Murcielago. With 505 hp moving a car that's 300 lbs. lighter than the typical Camaro — and can generate 1.05 g of cornering force — the handling prowess of the Z/28 shouldn't be that much of a surprise, although at several points in the video above, GM driver Adam Dean has to dab some oppo to keep the nose pointed forward.
Chevy says the run was part of what it calls a "24-hour test" — running a day's worth of laps at various tracks, with only brake and tire changes allowed, to measure a car's durability. And based on the data from the wet lap, Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser contends the Z/28 could have gone a couple seconds faster on a dry track.
At the moment, Chevy has the momentum in the American muscle-car field to itself; Ford has gone silent ahead of the next-generation Mustang out next year, while the Dodge Challenger has to soldier on with minimal changes. When those cars get their updates, they'll have to prove themselves any number of ways — including, it now seems, on a long stretch of German racetrack. Maybe the Chevy engineers will tell them where to go for bratwurst.