No announcement yet.

Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

    Chassis Development Thread for 5th Gen Camaro: In this thread we will discuss the development, testing, racing and parts we have worked with on the 5th gen Camaro. Admittedly we were a "bit late to the party" for the 5th gen, but we have our reasons. While we made our first suspension parts for the 2010-15 Camaro "Zeta" chassis back in 2012, we just never saw a whole heck of a lot of these cars at autocross or track events until the last few years.

    The "track guy in a Camaro" market has been pretty small, so we didn't jump onto this chassis as early as we did with others cars. While the 5th Gen and the S197 Mustangs sold in similar numbers, we would easily see 10-30 times as many S197 Mustangs at track events and autocrosses (which makes up our customer base), so our development efforts went into the S197 chassis first.

    Lately it seems that used car 5th Gen SS model prices have become more attractive, so we're seeing finally more and more of these cars on track. Admittedly these cars have some known faults - namely higher weight and poor visibility from inside, compared to the same year Mustangs. And no, we don't consider the Challenger a "challenger" to either of these pony cars. For every Challenger we've seen at a track day or autocross we've seen 300 Mustangs and 10 Camaros!

    I will be the first to admit - We are still learning more and more about this Zeta platform Camaro as I write this in 2016. We know there are other shops that have more experience with this chassis, but many if not most of those are concentrated more on straight line performance. Here in this thread we will concentrate on the road course and autocross potential of the 2010-15 Camaro SS, 1LE and Z/28.

    The Optima/USCA series is somewhat unique and there are a few big names really pushing the 5th gen Camaros there. I'd venture to guess that two of the most heavily funded efforts in Optima history are 5th gen Camaros. Of course it is that car's LS series V8 that makes this car popular with that crowd, but that's not at all a bad reason to like these cars! The 6.2L LS3 engine in the SS and 1LE has TONS of upgrade potential, especially when compared to the Coyote 5.0 used in the 2011-14 Mustang GT and Boss302 (those cannot gain the displacement or power of the LS series engines).

    Back in 2012 we made a camber plate for the 5th gen, which was tested on the LG Motorsports GTS race car that ran in Pirelli World Challenge. Our prototype design started with an OEM 2011 Camaro strut tower, then we modeled the curvature of the tower with clay, took a bunch of measurements from the cast shape, made a 3D printed design to check fitment, then had a prototype machined in aluminum by an outside shop.

    Since then we've learned that this is not exactly the most efficient way to create a prototype camber plate. And while it may seem that 3D scanning or CMM measuring the tower would be easier, the costs associated with those technologies are still in the 5 to 6 figure range for anything we can use with the level of accuracy we need.

    Since late 2014 we have had our own in-house CNC machines which has helped us to dramatically shorten our development cycle - now we skip the 3D modeling phase completely, and of course do not have to wait on an outside machine shop. This has cut development time down from weeks to hours. Example: we made a new camber plate for the 2015 Mustang S550 chassis in 48 hours, from the time the car rolled into our shop to the time it we had production quality camber plates installed.

    This rapid machining process was replicated in 2016 with our customer "Scottish" Joe's 2013 Camaro 1LE. There were some issues we needed to improve on our original prototype 5th gen plates we made for the LGM race car which we remedied on the pre-production set for Joe's Camaro earlier this year.

    Chevrolet also added a strut tower brace on some models that wasn't present on the 2010-11 cars, so the shape of our plate was changed to fit around that. The camber plate itself is a fairly straightforward affair - two plates (with more intricate shapes than seen here) sandwich the top of the strut tower. To adjust camber our "spherical bearing holder" slides in and outboard relative to this sandwich. There is no caster adjustment in our design, and the other designs we've seen only change caster by rotating the main plate (which will change caster and camber concurrently). We made it this way for a reason - this chassis has plenty of caster and needs all of the camber adjustment (and easy track side re-adjustment) it can get.

    We have a production batch of 5th gen plates being machined here later this week, along with a new OEM spring perch option to go along with the 3 coilover spring perch sizes we offer for this car now. I'll show some red anodized, production pieces in my next post.


    I'm trying to keep this first post brief and will cover more of our parts development and testing in future posts. We've tested Bilstein PSS10s on these cars, made custom brake cooling backing plates and inlets, fitted 19x11" Forgestars and 305mm tires at all four corners, installed Cobra racing seats, full length headers, brake pads, and more. We've learned several tricks along the way that I will share, too.

    If you are new to Vorshlag build threads you will soon realize we post a lot of pictures and videos - and almost all of my pictures here can be clicked on to see higher rez versions. Pictures speak a 1000 words, and videos even more.

    We have also done a few CAM class autocross events in Joe's 1LE and had a great showing at the 2016 Texas CAM Challenge, which was held last weekend. I will talk more about these events + some upcoming track tests in my next posts.

    Last edited by Fair!; 05-25-2016, 11:44 AM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev

  • #2
    Re: Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

    Thread Update Sept 19, 2016: We have done a number of upgrades to our tester Joe's 2013 1LE Camaro this year. After testing a revised version on it, we made a production run of 5th gen Camaro camber plates. Since then many have been been sold to racers. Over the summer I raced this Camaro in two autocross events in the CAM class, then this past weekend I was able to get my first track laps in the car. I also made laps in a 2017 C7 Corvette Grand Sport and a 2012 C6 Corvette Z06 that same day. Compared to these two "sports cars" this 3800 pound Camaro gave some very surprising results! Video and data is below.

    As I mentioned in my last post, Vorshlag has worked on maybe a dozen 5th gens in the past 4 years, but recently we have been digging deeper under the skin. Joe's '13 1LE has really given us an opportunity to try a few things and I wanted to share some here.

    The 6th Gen Camaro is better in almost every way, and I can't wait to tear into one of those. I damn near bought one, and I'm still seriously tempted. But as the 6th gens become more prevalent, used prices continued to fall on the "forgotten pony car" 5th gen, and we are starting to see more and more of them at track events - especially Optima events.


    SCCA has a category called "Street" (formerly "Stock) where, for a few years, the 5th gen Camaro saw enormous popularity with autocrossers. Racers in the SCCA F-Street class used the 1LE package for the best results. This car was competitive in it's class and had a huge advantage there due to one smart thing GM did on the 1LE: They put really big freagin wheels on this model! And the fenders allowed for some serious tire without modification.

    Long time racing buddy Doug Willie autocrossed his 2013 Camaro 1LE in F Street (and Optima!)

    5th Gen 1LE's came with 20x10" fronts and 20x11" rear wheels, with 285mm tires at all 4 corners. This was compared to a 19x9" wheel on the 2011-14 Mustang GTs they raced against in F Street. The SCCA allows a +/-1" change in wheel diameter in Street class, keeping the stock widths and within 1/4" of stock offsets. Tire width was unlimited, so many 1LE racers jumped to 19x10" and 19x11" wheels with 305/30/19 or bigger tires. Even with a 200 pound penalty compared to the equivalent year S197 5.0L Mustang, and with similar power levels, the Camaro had a massive wheel width and tire width advantage. This helped these cars overcome their weight disadvantage, and the 1LE Camaros put the screws to the Mustang GTs for a few years in F-Street class.

    For some reason the SAC moved the E46 and E92 M3s to F-Street

    Then the SCCA allowed two generations of BMW M3s into F Street, and those car's better suspensions, lower weights, and some optional factory wheel offerings made them pretty strong there - which has pretty much made the pony cars obsolete in this class - for the time being.

    The 6th gen Camaro 1LE might have a better shot in autocross (assuming it is classed in F Street) if GM offers a very wide wheel in stock form (1LE) again, allowing those racers to squeeze more tire under the fenders, to level the playing field (2017 Camaro 1LE comes with 285/30ZR20 front tires and 305/30ZR20 rear tires, so it sounds like 20x10F/20x11R wheels again). These 6th gen 2016+ Camaros are around 200 lbs lighter than the 5th gens (even the Z/28 model), have a strong 455 hp LT1 engine, better rear IRS, but somewhat limited visibility.


    The best part of a 5th Gen Camaro SS is the drivetrain. If you are smart and picked the manual transmission SS you got a big 6.2L aluminum LS3 with 426 hp mated to a strong Tremec 6060 manual 6-speed transmission. The automatic equipped SS had a different V8 producing 400 hp - the L99. They are generally shunned for track and autocross use, as are the hot running supercharged 6.2L LSA supercharged V8s in the ZL1. The Z/28 came with a magical 7.0L LS7 V8, but these cars were fairly expensive and had some problem parts, namely the carbon ceramic brakes, which I will talk about below.

    Our main tester "Scottish Joe" has been a customer for a few years and at our old shop we installed full length stainless steel American Racing Headers as the first mod we did. Of course I always tell pony car owners - DON'T DO POWER MODS FIRST! But they never listen.

    The 426 hp LS3 would seem to have enough power for track use, and it is quite good in stock form, but like most red blooded American males - and Scottish blokes - Joe wanted a bit more. Who can blame him? I did the same thing to our 2011 Mustang, and had a hunch the same ARH long tube headers would add a big chunk to low, mid range, and top end power to the LS3, just like on our Coyote V8.

    The stock log manifolds are pretty heinous on the LS3, and going to a full length header adds the easiest power you are going to find on a 5th gen. They do take some time to remove but its nothing like a the 6-8 hour Coyote Mustang long tube install.

    It only took us 3.75 hours to swap the stock manifolds for these 1-7/8" primary ARH long tubes and cats. Joe wanted to keep the stock Camaro exhaust after the cats, which is a bit restrictive, but I've seen much worse "cat-back" factory exhaust systems. At best there's another +10-15 whp left in a custom dual exhaust upgrade (that's what we saw on the Coyote 5.0L when we went from ARH long tubes + stock exhaust to a custom dual 3" exhaust).

    We didn't cheat and run the Camaro without catalysts - that's a massive fine for any shop caught doing that to street cars. We chose the high flow cats from ARH to keep the emissions in check.

    Once we got the headers installed we took the car to our local tuners, True Street Motorsports, where they did an initial dyno pull. It made 426 whp with the headers and existing K&N cold air kit. They then tuned it with HP Tuners using a conservative "road course / street tune" for 93 octane and achieved 437 whp and 423 wtq. It makes power everywhere and comes on very smoothly. Full length headers are the best bang-per-buck power modification on a modern V8 if you are going to be running the car on a road course.

    Superchargers and other forced induction options can make huge power bumps on modern V8 cars - they work well for dyno queens, drag cars and hard parkers, but boost SUCKS on a road course. These systems always heat soak within "ones of laps", even with giant intercoolers, and there is no getting around that fundamental problem with blown V8s.

    Even OEM supercharged V8s, the Mustang GT500, Camaro ZL1, Corvette ZR1 and C7 Corvette Z06, overheat quickly on track. I've seen C7 Z06 Corvettes overheat and go into limp mode in LESS THAN ONE LAP at tracks like COTA in the Texas summer heat. If your supercharged V8 isn't overheating on a road course, you are either: driving very slowly, you are blind, or your car doesn't have accurate gauges.


    This is the second best thing about a 5th gen Camaro SS: the brakes!

    There were three different braking systems that came on the 5th gen Camaro V8 cars (again, we are ignoring the V6 cars). The SS came with 4-piston Brembo calipers and large diameter vented rotors at all 4 corners.

    This system uses a decent brake pad profile, good OEM style Brembo calipers, and decently sized rotors. The front rotor is a 355mm x 32mm (14" dia) vented rotor that weighs about 25 pounds. The rear is a 365mm x 28mm rotor (14.4" dia) that is 24 pounds. Rotors are under $100 each and you can even get rebuilt calipers for about the same price. These are appropriately sized and easily fit underneath 18" diameter wheels. Why on earth did GM slap heavy, gigantic 20" diameter wheels ("Twingos") on these cars? This was a Victim of Style.

    The ZL1 came with upgraded front brakes but the same SS rears. The rotors were 14.6" diameter and the calipers were 6-pison Brembos. Are they needed? I don't think so, but they would help by adding a larger heat sink with the bigger rotor. Is it worth $4150 to upgrade the SS front brakes? Not in my book. There are better Motorsport level brake options at lower prices.

    This is a popular 6-piston caliper in GM's parts bin, similar to the one used in the Gen II CTS-V. The 2-piece front rotor is also pretty slick but it isn't light, and at $400 each, it's not cheap to replace. The larger rotors limit you to 19" wheels, but so do some inboard physical constraints in the front spindle, so 18" wheels are difficult to run on these cars (without grinding on the front spindle).

    The Z/28 came with Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes (CCM), but you probably do not want these. Why? Replacement rotors can cost up to $2500 each and a fast driver can kill CCM rotors in as little as one track weekend. Replacement CCM brake pads can cost $1000/axle (just priced some for a C7 Z06 customer from a local GM dealer). And the pads and rotors still DO wear out, and they can wear MUCH more quickly if you don't watch out.

    Similar to how Carbon/Carbon brakes you see in Formula1 cars, once these Carbon Ceramic Matrix rotors reach a certain critical temperature they start to wear VERY quickly, lose braking effectiveness, and just stop working. They can even fail catastrophically, especially if they are chipped. Iron rotors can get super hot yet still work, as long as the brake fluid doesn't boil. They don't crack if you look at them funny, and are super rugged. And much more cost effective.

    Image of a Carbon Ceramic Matrix brake rotor after 10 track days

    We have talked to the AP/Essex folks at trade shows and they do a brisk business selling iron based brakes for sports cars that originally came with CCM options, like the ZR1, Z/28, GTR, GT3 and more. Once someone gets fast enough on track, they can and will kill $6,000-12,000 worth of rotors in a weekend or two. Then they will gladly pay AP for iron brakes that have more reasonable wear and replacement costs Scroll down on this page to read more about the problems with Carbon Ceramic Brakes.

    Potential Pitfalls with Carbon Ceramic Discs
    • Oxidize at track temperatures
    • Low airflow and rapid heat transfer
    • Expensive, limited range of compatible brake pads
    • Poor feel
    • High replacement disc cost
    • Damage-prone
    • Splinters (carbon splinters in your skin!)
    • Greater sensitivity to burnishing/bedding-in

    To summarize - Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes are a gimmick for Rich Pimps, and of little value to non-millionaire track drivers. Yes, they are lighter than iron brakes, and if you are a hard park queen who never drives their car, these might last the 90K miles claimed. But if you will be tracking your car and drive faster than Mr Magoo, CCM brakes should be avoided if at all possible.


    As good as the factory 4 piston Brembos are on the SS, they are not infallible if you run less than ideal pads and/or fluid. We had been seeing Joe get faster at track events for a couple of years while he was running EBC green pads and some ding-dong brand of slotted rotors. I have never been impressed with EBC pads or faux-upgrade slotted rotors, and I warned Joe that he was on borrowed time. Our crew performed a quick track brake fluid flush and bleed on this car at ECR once after he had boiled the stock fluid, and again the next time he was in our shop for an HPDE inspection on the car back in 2014.

    I noticed that his calipers had gone from Red to BROWN... which we call "BROWNBO" brakes. That's a condition when the calipers have been overheated so badly that the red powder coating gets cooked. That is well into the brake system "Danger Zone". I had been begging Joe years to do some sort of brake cooling and/or better brake pads after seeing this.

    Left: The factory red powder coating on the front Brembos. Right: "Condition Brownbo"!

    I showed a brief glimpse of the brake cooling on Joe's 1LE last time, but did not mention why that was needed. Well there was an issue with brake heat at an HPDE event at ECR one day in 2015 and... this happened.

    These are pictures he showed on Facebook, along with in-car video. Total brake system failure after so many warning signs were ignored. I'm guilty of the same thing - and never want that to happen to me or anyone! After too many spirited laps at this brake-intensive track, the pedal just went to the floor in a fast ~100mph braking zone (ECR, Turn 11).

    Joe reacted well and went off straight (turning could have rolled the car), over the tire barrier and down a small hill. It ripped the front fascia off, did some minor cosmetic damage & popped some airbags. Surprisingly the car took the hit like a champ - nothing major was bent or mangled - and after a long 9 month hibernation, I begged Joe to bring us the car.

    He was able to drive it to our shop, where we looked at it, took some pictures, and sent them to our friends at Heritage Collision. They quoted the work, we told Joe the numbers, and then I delivered the car to them for airbag + cosmetic repairs.

    continued below
    Last edited by Fair!; 10-14-2016, 09:15 AM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • #3
      Re: Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

      continued from above

      Left: BEFORE Camaro SS front bumper cover. Right: AFTER with the ZL1 front end

      We used this "opportunity" to upgrade a number of things in his braking system, exterior cosmetics, seats, and safety gear. The Heritage crew replaced the front SS bumper cover with a ZL1 version, along with the associated ZL1 lower lip and lower grill.

      They did a superb job for the money charged (not an insurance repair) and replaced all of the airbags, airbag controllers, ZL1 front bumper cover, and ZL1 rear diffuser. We also did the brake cooling & suspension work shown below, then Brad detailed the car, buffed the carbon fiber-ish hood, and cleaned up the wheels. No more traces of mud from "the incident" and the Camaro looked better than ever.

      We addressed the brake cooling issues by creating new 5th Gen Camaro brake backing plates with 3" inlets for cooling air. We made these by hand but scanned the final design for future production after some track testing.

      These backing plates are fed by inlets in the ZL1 grill and the ZL1 brake cooling inlet ducts we sourced from GM. But like most factory "brake cooling" solutions, the inlet ducts just pushed air into the wheel well area and hoped it would reach the brake rotors. That's not good enough.

      Our crew made these 3" oval duct adapters that fit onto the end of the factory plastic duct tubes. These give us something rigid to clamp the 3" brake cooling hoses to that protrudes into the wheel well area.

      The images above show the 3" oval adapters in place and then with the 3" brake cooling hose attached to these + the brake backing plates.

      This is the final result - proper brake ducting that force feeds high pressure air from the lower grill, through smooth OEM style ducting, into 3" high temp hose, then into the brake backing plate. The air is then pumped inside the opening of the 14" front rotor, around the front wheel bearing and through the vented rotor vanes like a centrifugal pump. This is how to cool brakes properly. No need for heavier 14.6" ZL1 2-piece rotors, or CCM Z/28 rotors, just proper cooling for the OEM iron brakes. We would need to test this later on track to validate their worth before moving forward with any of this as production parts.

      We also flushed out the RBF600 and went with a higher temp RBF660 fluid then upgraded the "EBC Green" pads to proper track pads using G-LOC R10 compound fronts and R8 rears. They are more heat resistant and have a higher braking coefficient but do make more dust and noise. That's the price you pay for proper brake pads.


      While the above brake system upgrades were being done we were also developing a production version of our existing 5th gen Camaro camber plates.

      This Camaro already had Bilstein PSS10 monotube inverted coilovers installed by a previous shop, from before Joe met Vorshlag. Like most PSS kits, these Bilsteins came with a "hybrid" spring that is 60mm ID at the bottom and is larger at the top, to fit inside the OEM upper spring perch and strut top mount. Jason rated the spring (roughly 350 #/in with some rate variability) and we spec'd out a firmer rate from Hyperco (450 #/in straight rate 60mm springs - still a very reasonable rate for street use). We left the rear springs alone for the time being.

      Having the OEM (upper) sized spring and factory top mount installed on this car let us develop both an OEM perch solution (with no change in ride height) as well as a coilover solution (for 2.25", 60mm and 2.5" ID coilover springs). The prototypes on Joe's car are polished aluminum units shown below but the production units are red anodized aluminum main plates and also red OEM perches. We made Joe's pre-production prototypes in March and have had to make two production batches of 5th gen plates since then - more popular than we had expected. Most have been sold for folks using the stock springs or OEM-style lowering springs.

      Unlike most modern McStrut cars, the 5th gen Camaro has no bolt holes for attaching the stock top mount. Instead GM went old school and had a VW style "clamshell mount" that sandwiches the top mount above and below a hole in the strut tower.

      We installed the firmer 450#/in Hyperco springs when we installed the camber plates and used a conservative -2.5° front camber setting for a mix of street, road course and autocross use. Joe isn't an autocrosser but he was out of the country for over a month and wanted us to test his car while he was gone, so we ran it at a couple of autocrosses (see below) over the summer to try to dial in the setup, before going to MSR-Cresson for some track testing in September.

      We had high hopes that the firmer front springs and added camber would transform this 3800 pound V8 pony car into a more nimble cone carver and road course HPDE ride.

      Shortly after making the pre-produciton set for Joe's 1LE, we made another polished set with custom engraving for a long time friend, CAM autocrosser and Optima racer Doug Willie's 2013 1LE affectionately named "Big Snoopy". This car had the OEM shocks and springs and needed camber badly. With these camber plates and 315mm Rival-S tires the car picked up a lot of speed and kept from eating the shoulders of the front tires.


      "The Incident" led Joe to listen to not only our suggestions of better brake cooling but also our calls for better safety gear. I had pushed hard for a semi-gutted interior and proper roll cage, after the air bags had been popped. Headliners and interior panels often get borked-up when the bags pop happens.

      But I didn't win that battle. Joe insisted on keeping the interior (it was repaired) and supplied this Sparco harness bar for us to install instead. This unit is well made, and is fine for autocross use, but questionable at road course speeds. How will this bar deform in a real road course shunt into a hard object? Joe luckily only does HPDE events on Texas road courses, which are very safe; most turns here have 100s of yards of flat run off... so in this situation, it was acceptable. His "off" at ECR was one of the few times I've seen someone find a tire barrier on a Texas track. It is the exception, not the norm, like we see on many East coast tracks (which all seem to be lined with concrete walls, trees or armco).

      Typical road courses in Texas have no trees, tire walls, barriers, or other things to hit

      Before the 2015 "off" Joe had purchased a pair of Cobra Suzuka GT racing seats from us. These are composite (Kevlar) FIA approved fixed back seats suitable for racing, and they CAN be used for street use - if you install them correctly + re-install the OEM seat belts.

      Joe brought these to us when the car returned from the body shop and he had purchased some off-the-shelf brackets made for the 5th gen Camaro. These brackets included a lower bracket to bolt to the chassis (mostly), included sliders and side brackets that were made to fit "most" racing seats. The lower brackets were made of plate steel and were somewhat heavy, as shown in the weight above right (this is a 19 pound seat).

      We installed these brackets with the Cobra seats per the instructions but also added provisions for the anti-sub harness anchors onto the lower steel plate. That laser-cut steel plate was PLENTY thick so it was appropriate. There wasn't a good place on the aluminum side brackets to add anchors for the lap belts so we added Schroth anchors in the floor.

      One side was the normal loop-style steel threaded anchor for clip-in harnesses, which we provided (above left). Joe wanted to use this crazy Schroth "loop plate" for all of the lower anchors, which I was none too crazy about. Apparently these are popular in the UK but I had never seen them. We did some research and sure enough, they can be used like this. So I machined some spacers and installed this loop plate at the factory reinforced floor mount for the stock 3-point belt. This is the same spot in the floor where the Sparco harness bar "foot" went, but with the proper style hardened bolt and the custom spacers, it all worked and the stock belt could still swivel properly with no slop.

      We quoted the install a year earlier at our "3-4 hours per side" estimate we usually use for most cars. This is how long it takes to properly engineer, measure, fabricate, and fit a seat to a car for a given customer. Seat mounting is hugely important, and often overlooked by most folks - especially if there is an easy, bolt-in, off-the-shelf "bracket solution" for a given car. We have yet to see one of these solutions that didn't have major drawbacks.

      Well both seats were installed using the customer provided brackets. We installed a pair of Scroth Profii-II 6-point harnesses into the 4 anchors for the laps and anti-subs and the shoulder harnesses wrapped around the Sparco harness bar. The initial seat mounting wasn't acceptable at all. Tons of slop and too much "wasted space" made the seats sit up SUPER high, even on the lowest mounting holes that would fit.

      Joe was out of the country for an extended period so I made the first video above to show him how poorly these brackets functioned in the Camaro. There was no intent to sabotage this install - we wanted the brackets to work because the factory front floor mounts were FUNKY SLOTS that later proved to be difficult to work around. But these brackets just had a too much slop that was simply unacceptable, which you can see in the video.

      I made the second video above to show how properly mounted Cobra Suzuka seats should fit. The first car had this same seat with a custom set of brackets we built along with a Cobra dual locking slider. The second car (#DangerZone) was bolted directly to the reinforced floor via the side brackets. Both installs show how rigid a seat mount should be.

      We would normally have had the customer come by and see for themselves how poorly this worked on one side before tackling the other, but with Joe out of country it was difficult to explain - hence the videos. We had a test autocross event scheduled so I ran it this way, with no lower cushions to save height. It was a hot mess.


      I will be brief but this first autocross event in the 2013 1LE was an initial test of the new springs, camber plates, and seat setup. The new wheels (see below) had been ordered but were not here yet, so we ran on the factory 1LE 20x10/20x11 wheels and the well worn and old 285mm Michelin Pilot Super Sport (MPSS) tires for this event. The tires looked pretty ragged but I had hoped they would scrub-off some of the old crusty rubber and give some usable grip (they didn't). I entered the car in CAM-C in preparation for the Texas CAM Challenge event later that month.

      The video above summarizes my thoughts on the tires and seat bracket pretty well. The MPSS tires were totally shot (3+ years and likely a dozen track days on them) and we learned the limits of the ABS in low-grip situations at this event. After 4 runs of losing the ABS system completely only almost every braking zone, I had to dial back my normally aggressive left foot braking technique to get a clean-ish and fast-ish run in. It felt like I was driving a wet course with no brakes.

      continued below
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #4
        Re: Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

        continued from above

        As you will hear the announcer say in the autocross video above, after this "dialed way back" 5th and final run I had jumped from 3rd to 1st in class, briefly. 20 minutes later when the cone sheets were audited they found that I hit a cone on this run also (like every other run that day, ugh) and I fell to 2nd place with the 2 second penalty. Still, while I knew these tires were shot (they durometerd very poorly), the car still had lots of potential. The shocks and rest of the suspension setup felt good, the tires just sucked.

        But those seat brackets?? HA! You can hear the constant clunk-clunk-clunk sounds in that run, which were the damned seats flopping around in the sloppy mounting joints. Re-making those brackets into something usable was a top priority the day after this autocross event. It didn't help my driving since I was 3 inches too close to the steering wheel and that my head was jammed up into the roof sideways. GRR! I hate janky seat brackets! That makes a good racing seat worse than the OEM Barcalounger seats.

        The forward factory floor mounts for the front seats have two pairs of slots on each side (see above). The factory seats have some "hooks" that go into there and then the rear mounts are bolted down. This aftermarket set of brackets tried to copy the stock hooks but the shapes were off and this is where all of the slop was.

        After checking the interwebs and not seeing a proper "fix" for this (other than race cars with modified floors), Ryan came up with the solution shown above. After cutting the hooks off, these "nut plates" were fished between the slots and a hole was drilled to secure them to the floor. You can see more details if you click for higher rez images on the two pics above, but basically he made a proper threaded hole under the floor so that the factory seats could go back in one day. There is only a pair of small holes (for the M6 bolt that secures the nut plate to the floor) and a pair of bigger holes (for the main M10 bolts) added. Otherwise this can be completely un-done in minutes, since this isn't a dedicated race car build.

        With the hooks and slots removed the slop was completely gone. Ryan also took over 2" of stack-up height out of the arrangement when he removed the giant hooks, plus some mods to the rear as well. Last but not least the range of motion of the slider was improved several inches by drilling all new holes, which let the seat move more rearward.

        This third and final seat video above shows all of the changes we made. This was made when just the driver's seat was modified and you can see the difference in height and slop with the unmodified passenger seat bracket.

        I made these pictures and videos to not only show the owner why the work was needed, but to show YOU FOLKS READING THIS why it is important to invest in custom seat brackets when you are installing fixed back racing seats into any car. This work IS NOT EASY and we have yet to see GOOD bracket solutions that really just "bolt-in" for all cars. There are a few exceptions, and we have had some degree of luck from this brand in other cars, but the 5th gen setup was just unacceptable.


        After the camber plates and springs were installed we test fit some 18x12" Forgestar F14s to the car.

        These were the 18x12" wheels with some 335/30/18 Hoosiers mounted from Project #DangerZone, my 1992 Corvette race car. The rear looked promising with the setup as-is, just a hair of rear poke (unlike many 5th and 6th gen racers, where we often see up to 1" of wheel poke). We could have squeezed the 335 under the rear fenders, no problem.

        The real limitation was at the front. There just wasn't as much room for a 12" wheel to fit under the fenders without some mild flare work. The 18" wheel barrel also runs into the top of the front spindle, so a 19" wheels is favored by most (or you can just grind the spindle a smidge and the 18" fits inboard). We spoke to Joe about the newly popular 305/30/19 tire size, and his request for the same offset front to back for easy rotation. Between the new tires available and the spindle issue, moving to a 19" wheel was an easy choice.

        So we specified a 19x11" wheel that fits front and rear using the same offset, well under the fenders, with no spacers needed. We also spec'd a 305/30/19 Hankook RS3-V2 tire.

        This tire was chosen for several reasons. First, it was stickier than the MPSS tires or most other 305/19s available in "200 treadwear" at that time (this was months before the RE-71R came out in this size). He wasn't looking for a race tire but was open to the Hankook since they were only $1095/set. Cost was reason two. For comparison, the then unavailable new Bridgestone RE-71R is $1416/set and the Michelin PILOT SPORT CUP 2 is $1700/set. As most HPDE guys know, you need fresh tires and you need them often, so cost always matters. Thirdly, the Hankook ran a little bigger than most at 11.4" of tread width while most other 305/30/19s are 11.0" wide.

        We ordered the wheels from Forgestar (and ran them at the CAM event) in "raw", saving weeks of time normally spent waiting for wheels at their powder coater. We later dismounted the tires and had this "blood red" powder coat color added, at Joe's request. A pop of color on a silver and black car somehow works.

        When it was back at our shop having the newly red powder coated wheels installed we added a custom tow hook to the front. This was a custom mount with a bracket welded to the crash beam. The "threaded tower" was made so that it passed through the black plastic lower grill, NOT through a hole in a painted panel. We try to do this routing with all of our tow hooks. Then this threaded, red anodized tow hook was screwed onto the tower for a removable track tow hook - just in case a wrecker ever needed to pull this Camaro out of the rough.

        When the front bumper cover was off we were able to get a shot of the factory ZL1 brake duct inlets and how they attached to the ZL1 lower grill. The aluminum sections were the custom bits we added to clamp the 3" brake hoses to.

        Once again Brad put the shine onto the Camaro's exterior and we delivered the car back to Joe like this, after we ran it at two autocross events (at his behest). We don't normally borrow customer's cars to race in, but he offered, so we gave it back to him cleaner than ever (and chipped in for some of the tire costs and discounted some of the work).


        Vorshlag was an event sponsor for this CAM Challenge event as well as the Texas ProSolo, so since I was gonna be there to cook for people anyway... I found co-drives at both events in some of our testers' cars.

        Event pic and video gallery:

        For the Texas CAM Challenge I was driving Joe's Camaro in CAM-C class, with Brad our shop manager co-driving it. We had several Vorshlag customer and/or tester cars entered in other CAM classes, including Mark's C5 Corvette (with our prototype spherical shock mounts and 18x11" Forgestars), Matteucci's 2015 Mustang GT (with our prototype S550 camber plates and 18x11" Forgestars), and Doug's 1LE on our pre-produciton 5th gen camber plates.

        Three Vorshlag test vehicles all running in the Texas CAM Challenge

        After driving this 5th gen at that Regional event on the crap tires I was hoping the sticker set of 305mm Hankooks would be better, and maybe minimize the ICE MODE of the ABS system.

        It still had a bit of a push at lower autocross speeds, and you can see the understeer we dealing with in the video above. With little more than a small front spring change and a tick more front negative camber and we could have this one really dialed in for cone dodging.

        With 3800 pounds of fun I came in 2nd out of 19 CAM-C cars (with our shop manager Brad coming in 8th in the same car) at the 2016 Texas CAM Challenge, and damned if I didn't run the time to win in the brackets, but coned it. I lost in the Saturday runs by 1.4 seconds to an old friend and Vorshlag tester Brian Matteucci in his white 2015 GT, shown above.

        Mark and co-driver Chase were mired a good ways back in the CAM-S class, driving the C5 and fighting with "dead" tires. They were about 4 seconds slower than what we ran in the Camaro, which shouldn't be the case in an 800 pound lighter car. All year BFGoodrich kept running out of 315mm and 335mm Rival-S tires, and this was one of those periods where the C5 was shod with "compounded out" old tires (they had 200+ runs on them at this point). Later that summer we added 18x12" rear wheels and fresh 315F/335R Rival-S tires and it was much faster.

        There is no substitute for fresh tires. Joe's car was transformed from the previous event weeks earlier and the 305 Hankooks were damn near on par with a 315 Rival-S - and Hankook doesn't tend to run out of stock for months at a time like BFG does.

        continued below
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


        • #5
          Re: Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

          continued from above


          If you have been waiting through this MASSIVE write-up for some road course testing, its finally time! I have driven the MSR-Cresson 1.7 mile CCW course dozens of times over the past decade but starting in July, I have been there almost every week testing several cars in various states of tune.

          On this beautiful Friday morning in September we had both Joe's 2013 1LE and his newly acquired 2017 Corvette Grand Sport 7-speed manual on hand for some test laps. Joe asked me to trailer out the Camaro while he drove out in the GS, and I was slated to take some "baseline" laps in both cars. I also ended up driving a customer's stock C6 Z06 the same day. Good references to compare the Camaro to, but I was worried the 1LE would be far out matched by these two generations of Corvettes. I was pleasantly surprised at the results.

          This was only the 2nd time Joe drove the Camaro on track after the gaggle of changes we made in 2016, but it was my first time to ever put any miles on a road course in any 5th gen Camaro. Or any C6 or C7 for that matter. What should I be worried about? They are just cars, right? If it has a V8 under hood and drives the rear wheels, I'm down for whatever!

          We got there early on a member day and the weather was good. I managed to get out on course in the Camaro when the course was devoid of traffic - Joe was in his GS and I was in the Camaro, without another soul on track. This made for some easy laps where I clocked off some quick ones.

          Car handled beautifully on track. The setup that had a touch of understeer in autocross was perfect for road course use. I was able to put the car to about 90-95% of the limit and get a good lap time in it safely. The racing seats and harnesses made driving effortless and I wasn't having to "hang on" like I did in the C6 Z06 (which frankly had terrible stock seats).

          More Data Logged Track Videos at MSR-C 1.7 I have driven:
 - 1:22.56 in the modded 2013 1LE Camaro
 - 1:21.89 in the stock 2017 Grand Sport
 - 1:22.63 in the stock 2012 C6 Z06
 - 1:27.40 in a stock 2016 Focus RS
 - 1:31.90 in a stock 2013 Scion FR-S

          For reference those links are to some of my other videos showing lap times in street cars on street tires that I have run on this same course layout in 2016. All of these laps are using 200-300 treadwear street tires and the same AiM SOLO lap timer / data logger. This AiM unit is within 0.1 sec of the AMB timing loop whenever I run NASA Time Trial events here, but the on-board "PDR" data logger from both of the two Corvettes was about 1-3 seconds optimistic. Always be wary of using phone apps or onboard automotive timer systems.

          Of course a better driver could wring out more from these cars than me, but I just wanted to show my other relative lap times to this 3800 pound Camaro, with the same driver on the same course.

          The Camaro's stock brakes (with cooling, good pads, and proper fluid) were absolutely infallible - watch the g-traces and you can see how I abused them (1.1-1.2g stops on every corner, every lap) and yet never had a hint of fade. The Hankook tires worked great, generating 1.3g lateral in some places, mostly 1.1-1.2g. Joe drove the GS twice and the Camaro once at MSR that day - and was quicker in the 1LE! We both felt it was easier to drive fast. Of course the $76K Grand Sport was GLORIOUS in its own right.

          The C6 Z06 was the slowest of the 3 cars I drove that day, which was the biggest surprise. It was rolling around like a wet noodle and the seats were terrible. Both the C7 Grand Sport and C6 Z06 were on very fresh 285F/335R MPSS tires. Nobody running with us there that day could believe the Camaro's times until they saw it and timed the laps themselves. Amazing lap time for a 3800 pound with some tweaks and bolt-ons. This is a beautiful car to drive on the street, other than a little brake pad noise.

          WHAT'S NEXT?

          So that was a big post covering 2 years of work on this one Camaro alone. Thanks for sticking with it - we have touched a lot of systems on this car, and it has been fun to see all of that hard work produce lap times faster than a stock C6 Z06 and within spitting distance of a C7 GS! To beat a GT350R on Sport Cup 2 tires by 3 seconds on the same track was just icing on the cake.

          We have been working with more 5th gen Camaro owners ever since we rolled out our production camber plate, and out plates are popping up on Optima racers and autocrossers cars left and right.

          Joe recently bought the 2017 Grand Sport, and after driving it he hadn't planned on keeping the Camaro. It might go for sale soon. But the lap times the 1LE produced, and as easy as it was to drive, it is giving him pause... He also has a Mark7 VW GTI we have used for testing (our new Mk7 camber plates) that he normally drives around town in. What probably makes the most sense is selling the Camaro and keeping the GS for weekend fun and the GTI for daily driving - why have two track toys with such similar capabilities?

          Left: I ran a 1:28.1 lap Joe's 2015 VW GTI with our camber plates. Right: Stock GT350R ran a 1:25.6 on the Sport Cup 2 tires

          I just hate to see this Camaro go - all of our 5th gen development work is tied up in this car, it looks great and is performing far above our expectations. If I had the cash I'd get this car for myself - it is still a GREAT street car with full interior, AC, touch screen ICE, back up video camera, and a cushy ride. But it also makes great power, has excellent brakes, and handles beautifully. It does everything right, and can trounce supercars on track. Why would you sell such a beast??

          Who knows, maybe sanity will prevail and he will keep this one. I can hope! I will update this thread again if we go further with this Camaro and/or when we get our hands on another. We have some more ideas we would like to test out, just need a good tester willing to let us make it better...

          Last edited by Fair!; 10-13-2016, 07:43 PM.
          Terry Fair -
          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


          • #6
            Re: Vorshlag 5th Gen Camaro Development Thread

            I like how you installed the Bilstein monotube and made the custom brake cooling backing plates and inlets. Can you tell me if the "hybrid" spring that is included replaceable?

            By the way, any new updates on this Camaro?