2014 will be remembered by Chevrolet faithful as the first time that a Camaro Z28 received Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car Award. As a matter of fact, it is the first time that an American made car of any type has won the prestigious 7-year-old award.
It should come as no surprise that a car which has been heralded as the most capable and best handling Camaro ever produced would win an elite Best Driver’s Car Award. This award is reserved for cars that have been significantly modified to enhance performance and launched within the last 12-months. The editors of Motor Trend Magazine conduct objective and subjective testing at Mazda’s Laguna Seca Raceway, as well as a 4.3-mile closed circuit hill climb on a rural highway, to determine which vehicle performs most masterfully under competitive driving conditions.
After completing the battery of tests on a panel of preselected automobiles, the editors of Motor Trend wrote,
”The transformation of the fifth-generation Camaro from ‘muscle car that handles pretty well’ to Best Driver’s Car winner is astounding. You feel the superior engineering in how the car responds to inputs both internal and external. From within, the car reacts immediately and precisely to your commands but doesn’t punish your mistakes. From the outside, the Z28’s suspension attacks bumps and dips with an unbridled passion for keeping the tires on the pavement.”
Joining the ranks of world renowned sports cars like the 2007 Porsche 911 GT3, the 2008 Audi R8, the 2009 Porsche Cayman S, the 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, the 2012 Porsche Carrera 25, and the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, and winning such a lauded award lends validity to the overall mission of General Motor’s Global Product Development Team to further the outstanding legacy of the original SCCA Trans AM-series contender, originally introduced in 1967.
Using technology borrowed from virtuallly every facet of racing, the exterior of the Z28 is designed to produce enough downforce to press the car against the track enabling greater grip and faster lap times. A lower center of gravity, specially designed stabilizer bars, higher rate coil springs, and other exclusive chassis and suspension components of the Z28 help to enhance lateral acceleration and deceleration rates to a level acutely optimized for the track. Racing inspired dampers, high-speed Z-rated tires, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and lightweight wheels maximize performance and keep the Z28 predictable and consistent as the lap count tallies. Using carbon-ceramic brake components, lightweight glass, and carbon-fiber body panels engineers have maximized the power-to-weight-ratio and given the Z28 an improved overall balance.
Using a massive 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine (rated at 505-horsepower and 481 lb.-ft. of torque) combined with the weight reduction properties listed above the Z28 manages a power-to-weight ratio of 7.6:1. If your perfect car includes air conditioning and a navigation system as standard equipment, then the Z28 is probably not your cup of tea. However if you are seeking a sports coupe bred on the racetrack for optimum power output at the rear tires and handling that rivals a roller coaster then Motor Trend’s 2014 Best Driver’s Car can fill the bill.