indy 500 pace car
Patrick Rall's picture

Indy Champ: Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Shatters Preconceptions of American Muscle

IndyCar Champ Dario Franchitti will rely on a new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to lead the field of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 in 11 days and having spent some practice time in the official pace car ahead of the big race – the 4-time series champ and 3-time Indy 500 winner claims that the new Camaro Z/28 shatters preconceived notions about American muscle cars.

Dario Franchitti is one of the most successful drivers in the history of IndyCar racing while also being a lover of all things motoring so we would expect that the retired champ may have an opinion on the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 which will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 2014 Indy 500. Dario has not only driven some of the world’s best handling race cars while competing in the IndyCar series, but he has also had the opportunity to drive a great many classic road cars from the biggest names in global performance. Unfortunately, the cars that Dario Franchitti has based his career around are known for their pinpoint handling while American muscle cars are typically looked down up in the European performance circles due to their tendency to flourish in a straight line and struggle through the turns.

While American automakers have come up with an impressive collection of sports cars that could handle with the best that the world has to offer such as the Dodge Viper and the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – those cars are a far cry from muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. Perhaps unfairly, American performance is more closely acquainted with the muscle car segment and for the most part, cars like the Camaro have typically not handled well relative to many other sports cars from around the world. However, with the constant push for vehicles to compete better on a global level, General Motors designed the new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to be the most track capable Camaro of all time while very likely also staking its claim as the best handling muscle car ever.

According to Dario Franchitti, those efforts have paid off as the IndyCar champ claims that the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 shatters preconceived notions that American muscle cars are quick while being very unrefined. In speaking with the New York Daily News, Franchitti said that his practice time in the Camaro Z/28 around the Brickyard left him “absolutely shocked”. He did point out that he was able to feel the rumble of the 36 inch strip of bricks that still mark the start of a lap while driving the Camaro Z/28, but he was never able to feel the bricks through the chassis of his race cars in the past decade. Based on that, it sounds like Franchitti didn’t like how much of the road that he could feel – but he was still very impressed with how the new Z/28 gripped the track at high speeds. That is high praise from a man who knows what he is talking about when it comes to grip.

General Motors wanted the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to be the new standard for muscle car handling and according to what Dario Franchitti said after his practice laps, the automaker has succeeded in building a true American muscle car that packs the proper punch of a muscle car while also being able to handle like no Camaro, Mustang or Challenger from the past.

Source: NYDailyNews.com


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.