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The Camaro Z28 Could Face a Real Fight from the Shelby GT350 Mustang

The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 has been rightfully billed as the best handling American muscle car of all time, but with the introduction of the new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang, the Z/28 could have a real battle on its hands in order to hold onto that title.


The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is really unchallenged in staking its claim for the best handling and most track capable American muscle car, and while models like the previous Shelby GT500 Mustang and the new Hellcat Challenger might make short work of the Z/28 on a drag strip, the Z/28 is an unstoppable force on a road course. The best handling Mustang of all time was the Boss 302 from the previous generation and when engineering the 2015 Mustang GT, the Boss 302 was the benchmark for that process. Unfortunately, the Camaro 1LE – which is little more than a Camaro SS with a collection of high performance handling goodies – made short work of the Mustang GT with the Performance Pack so it is clear that the Mustang GT had no real shot of challenging the Camaro Z/28.

However, the introduction of the new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang to the mix could force GM to park the 1LE and turn to the mighty Z/28 in order to maintain supremacy of the muscle car road racing title…but is the Z/28 good enough to hold off the new high tech GT350?

Z/28 VS GT350 –Weight and Power
The specifications on the new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang are still incomplete, but we know that it will weigh less than the 2015 Mustang GT while also having “at least” 500 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque. Through the introduction of the new flat plane V8 that should cut some of the 444lbs of the 5.0L Mustang GT engine from the engine bay along with other weight saving components, the new Shelby GT350 will almost certainly weigh less than the 3,517 curb weight of the 2015 Mustang GT. My guess is that it will weigh somewhere in the area of 3,400lbs. As for the actual power levels, those are anyone’s guess, but rumors suggest that this new Mustang will have around 550 horsepower and 430lb-ft of torque. Mind you, these numbers are all speculated, but they should be in the general ballpark of the actual numbers.

Galleries of Each:
The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
The New Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

On the other hand, we know that the 2015 Camaro Z/28 weighs 3,820 pounds without air conditioning and the LS7 packed under the hood offers 505 horsepower and 481lb-ft of torque. Provided that the estimates above for the new Shelby Mustang are close, we can expect that the GT350 will weigh a few hundred pounds less than the Z/28 while also having more horsepower, but less torque. The broad powerband of the flat plane Mustang V8 could play a big part in equalizing the Camaro’s torque advantage while the difference in both weight and horsepower should allow the GT350 to keep up with or beat the Z/28 on a speed bias road course.

Z/28 VS GT350 – Handling
While the 7.0L V8 under the hood of the Camaro Z/28 is a big part of what makes this car so impressive, the handling goodies are what make it the most track capable muscle car ever. The Z/28 features a unique Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) damper setup that is constantly working to optimize handling capacities when on the track. This system also allows the driver to pick a suspension setting that is more pleasant for road use, but this discussion is about what the cars can do on the track and when on the track, the Z/28 suspension is always making adjustments at all four corners to help the Camaro get in and out of turns as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

The new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang also has a high tech suspension setup of its own, using a magnetic ride setup to perform the same instant changes to optimize handling on the track. Based on the description from Ford, this system is similar to what is used in the Camaro ZL1 and the Corvette Z06 so while it will make this Mustang the best handling ever, it might not be quite as functional as the system in the Z/28. At the same time, the advantage in weight and power could allow the Mustang to make up any ground gained by the Z/28s suspension setup over the Mustangs new MagneRide system.

Where the Camaro Z/28 could have a big advantage is in braking, where the Chevy features a very high end carbon ceramic setup that makes this one of the quickest stopping cars sold in the world. The GT350 has massive brakes measuring 15.5 inches up front and 15 inches out back, but it will be interesting to see if this lightweight traditional braking assembly can keep up with the high priced carbon ceramic setup. Again, the weight difference could come into play here, but it is hard to imagine that the Mustang will be able to stop as efficiently as the Camaro.

Who Wins?
Really, I think that this is too close to call based simply on specs, but on paper, the new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang should be the first car to really challenge the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. The Mustang should have an advantage in weight, horsepower and possibly weight distribution while the Camaro has what seems to be the more effective suspension and braking system…but with this being a battle of inches, it will come down to which car can lay down the quicker lap when the two are pitted head to head. With the GT350 expected to arrive in the Spring of 2015, it could be a few months before we see these two duking it out – but the battle should be a great one.


Brock Horne (not verified)    November 20, 2014 - 12:24PM

I don't see a mustang being able to beat this Camaro. Being that the new Mustang does have the advantage to rival the Camaro because it is coming out after the Z/28 has already come out, I still don't see it being able to rival this Camaro. The Camaro has taken out the almighty porsche 911 turbo s, and godzilla himself. It just won't happen.

Jason (not verified)    November 20, 2014 - 10:30PM

Although I'm here as a Camaro guy, I'd LOVE to see the GT350 beat the Z28, and redesign the GT500 to kill the ZL1.

GT350=track car

GT500=exotic car (458, Huracan, Gumpert Apollo, 911, GT-R side of exotic, of course)

Ford GT, which may be coming back in two years=F12, Aventador, Huayra side of exotic (like Corvette)

brad truelove (not verified)    November 21, 2014 - 6:53PM

*** This is all a projected outcome and I think Patrick Rall was very fair in saying this will be a great battle. I'm a Mustang fan but I'm glad to see real competition taking place between the big three Detroit manufacturers. It ultimately means the real winner will be the consumer and the rest of the world is taking notice of American engineering.

Steve (not verified)    November 22, 2014 - 9:37AM

It really seems to me that Ford built the GT350 to complete with the ZL1. Unlike the Z28 the GT350 will be available with a full lineup of luxury items - like the the ZL1. Also R&T reported Ford plans to follow up the GT350 with an 'R' version specifically built to knock the Z28 off it's perch.

Cory (not verified)    November 22, 2014 - 6:02PM

This gt350 is a direct competitor to the 1LE don't believe me but that's how the line up goes. the GT350R will compete with the Z28 which is rumored to have CCB. So it equates mustang gt vs Camaro SS gt350 vs Camaro 1LE gt350r vs Z28. I can't wait to see final results. Btw anyone hear about British top gear bashing the Z28 for not being comfy

Brian (not verified)    November 24, 2014 - 6:25PM

Someone needs to tell ford that when they want to step up to the big boys and compete with GM they need to build a better car to do it in!

Now if GM didn't keep it's best engine's for it's top of the line corvette and those engine's were placed in a camaro with the same hp (ls9/lsx).

Fact of the matter is GM wins ford loses again!

Greg Lotman (not verified)    November 26, 2014 - 4:31PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

Chevy is the big boys, lol. Ford is and always will be better however, this GT350 is a functional car as to where Chevy went straight to racing with all the limitations outside of the track in mind. In January they will be releasing a GT350R that will be aimed more toward the Z/28.

Cory (not verified)    November 26, 2014 - 9:39PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

Then supercharge or turbo charge the ford then retard and ford passes Chevy up again. You can't add a mod on fictitiously and then claim the win. That's like saying if I was better at football I would be in the nfl.

brian (not verified)    November 27, 2014 - 3:53AM

Ford brings their best engines to the fight with the Mustang and act like they are beating GM, but GM is using detuned Corvette engines in the Camaro to compete with Ford.

If GM didn't feel the need to keep the Corvette engines hp levels to only the ZR1 then Ford would never be able to compete with GM in the pony car wars!

Only a moron like you would not be able to understand this!

If I offended you then you needed it!

Cory (not verified)    November 27, 2014 - 9:19PM

In reply to by brian (not verified)

You're right fm does use their flagship sports car technology on their pony car because it takes a corvette to beat a stang. You don't see ford building their former LeMans beast GT40 and putting those racing bits in their mustang. Nope it's pony car tech from pony car guys. you have same dumbass logic. You're either a child/teenager or you're from a very rural area. One of the two. Don't be stupid and argue with me I'll simply make you look foolish.

K (not verified)    January 19, 2015 - 2:26AM

In reply to by brian (not verified)

Chevy need 50% more displacement to compete, rofl. I would love to see a 5.0 liter chevy engine that gets more than 300 horse power. Push rod dinosaurs.

Brian (not verified)    November 28, 2014 - 12:41PM

GM keep the power levels of the corvette and camaro apart so customers are forced to buy the more expensive corvette!

If you think that ford doesn't use info from it's racing program on it's street cars then you are just as clueless as thinking that I'm a kid or that I'm from a small town!

In the pony car wars the camaro has lead ford in sells for 5 years now, it must say something about why people are lining up to buy a camaro and not a mustang.

In the current form ZL1 vs gt500 the camaro version gives up 80 plus hp, and 300 lbs and the ZL1 still out runs it on road coarses around the country! The detune LSX engine that GM puts in the ZL1 so that it doesn't step on the toes of the ZR1 is why it's down 80 hp to the gt500.

If you were not so ignorant to understand why this is the case then you would be able to understand how bad the gt500 would get beat if the ZL1 had the LS9 in it!

Face it GM is playing chess ford is playing cheakers!