After the introductions of the base sixth-gen Camaros and recently, the high-po ZL1s, what’s missing from Chevy’s renewed pony car range is the more extreme Z/28 replacement, and we think this is it.
To be precise, we believe that this bad-ass Camaro tester with the huge rear wing that we spied lapping the Nürburgring today is the Trans Am Camaro Z/28 that General Motors product chief Mark Reuss hinted at last year.
Chevy’s original Trans Am car from the late 1960s was a special version of the Z/28 with a unique 302 cubic inch (approx. 5.0-liters) small-block V8 developed specifically to homologate the new Camaro for SCCA’s popular Trans-Am road-racing series. Only 602 examples were built in 1967.
Speaking to Autonews last year, Reuss said that Chevy is studying a rebirth of the car. “We’re looking at the original formulas of the Trans Am homologation of the Z/28,” he said.“Why was the 302 engine so special? So, the formula may change a little, but it still needs to be a wicked fast track car more capable maybe than the comfort- and driver-oriented models.”
This narrative fits with what we’re seeing here in these spy shots, as the camouflaged prototype looks like a dialed up 2017 Camaro ZL1 with a more extreme body kit that includes front bumper corner canards and a deeper lip spoiler, a much bigger rear wing and different wheels hiding larger brake discs.
Undoubtedly, such a hardcore model would come with weight saving measures over the already lighter 2016 Camaro – the previous 5th gen Camaro Z/28 was 100 pounds (45 kilograms) lighter than the naturally aspirated Camaro SS and 300 pounds (136 kilograms) lighter than the Camaro ZL1.
What will power the next Z/28 is a big unknown at this point other than it will be a V8 engine. The previous Z/28 used a naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter LS7 V8 rated for 505hp 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm) which helped it record a faster Nürburgring lap than the Lexus LFA and Lamborghini Murcielago at 7:37.47. It’s very likely that Chevy will keep the Z/28 naturally-aspirated to further differentiate it from the new ZL1 that borrows the Corvette Z06’s 640hp (477 kW) and 640 lb-ft of torque (868 Nm) supercharged 6.2-liter V8 LT4.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops