The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 undergoes wind tunnel testing
Chevrolet spent more than 100 hours of testing in their aero lab, and the result is apparent: The Camaro ZL1 will be the first performance car from GM to generate neutral or negative lift, possibly generating downforce.
Lead development engineer–and retired F-16 pilot, so you know he means business–Thomas Froling demonstrates how new additions like the front splitter, hood extractor and rear spoiler help to keep the car glued to the ground. That's essential to a car hauling a 6.2L V-8 powerhouse with 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft. of torque.
Despite the car's major power, Chevy is emphasizing the handling and aerodynamics – perhaps in an effort to change the stigma of big, American muscle cars that are allergic to curvy roads. How is that working out so far? Last month, the Camaro ZL1 laid down a Nurburgring test time of 7:41.27, more than a second faster than the Corvette Z06 (7:42.9) and just a tick off the pace of a Porsche 911 Turbo S.
So will this new focus on handling, drag and downforce make its way into other models in the Chevy lineup? The research and subsequent developments in the Camaro ZL1 have to bode well for future performance cars like the C8 Corvette, expected to debut in 2013.
Check out the video for plenty more technical and visual goodies.