The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Enters Supercar Territory

Chevrolet enters supercar territory with the most track-capable Corvette in the brand’s history, the 2015 Corvette Z06. It pushes the performance boundaries for Corvette with unprecedented levels of aerodynamic downforce, an all-new supercharged engine with at least 625 horsepower and an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission, while bringing additional capabilities to the seven-speed manual transmission.

Bowman ChevyThe Corvette Z06 leverages the same driving technologies from the Corvette Stingray and also features the same aluminum frame, which will be produced in-house at General Motors’ Bowling Green assembly plant. The stiffness of the stronger frame also allows the Z06 to be offered with a removable roof panel for the first time. The advanced driver technologies and race-proven design all contribute to increased capabilities and world-class performance.

An available track-focused Z07 performance package adds unique components for true aerodynamic downforce, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors that improve braking performance and contribute to greater handling.

During its first outing at the track, the 2015 Corvette Z06 recorded some of the fastest lap times ever for a Corvette, surpassing even the ZR1.

Production for the Corvette Z06 will begin at the end of 2014 and will begin shipping to customers in early 2015.

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2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: The Most Track-Capable Camaro Ever

First introduced in 1967, the Camaro Z/28, Chevy’s most iconic model in Camaro history, has returned for 2014. The all-new Z/28 features a full aerodynamics package that creates downforce, which helps make it the most track-capable offering in Camaro’s history by enhancing vehicle dynamics. This results in improved traction, braking, cornering speed and overall performance.

While most cars are inherently designed with lift at speed because of the focus on fuel economy, the Z/28 required us to find a way to manage the airflow over and around the vehicle to optimize the vehicle performance. We achieved it, by aerodynamically designing it for downforce, which generates a downward force on the vehicle as the air flows underneath, on the sides and over the top of the vehicle.

2014 Chevrolet CamaroThe Camaro Z/28 is solely focused on track performance and capability. It’s going to appeal to the person who wants to drive their car extremely quickly around a racetrack – and enthusiastically on winding roads.

The Z/28’s capability and performance inspires confidence through every section on the track, from the straightaway, to the curves. The downforce allows the vehicle to be driven with much more speed through every corner.

Every one of the Z/28’s exterior elements has a purpose of enhancing performance, and the way it manages airflow helps it stick to the track to make it fast and stable. In fact, the aerodynamic design helped the Camaro Z/28 log a lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course that was four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1’s, and beat published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

We’re all excited for the arrival of the Z/28, which along with the January 2014 debut of the 2015 Corvette Z06, will complete Chevy’s performance-car lineup. Other additions include the Corvette Stingray convertible and SS sedan.

Check out a few photos of the Z/28 in the gallery below, and be on the lookout for updates when the Z/28 arrives in dealerships next spring – just in time for the 2014 racing season!

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tom frolingTom Froling is the lead development engineer – Aerodynamics and has worked for General Motors for 30 years. Tom has aerodynamic development and integration experience on Corvette, Camaro, Advanced Electric and Hybrid ATW and Learning Vehicles, Race Cars, Land Speed Record Bonneville E85 Cobalt along with several other vehicle programs. Tom has accumulated nearly 10,000 hours in various wind tunnels, primarily at GM’s wind tunnel in Warren. Tom spent 25 years in the Air National Guard component of the Reserves as a fighter pilot and is a combat veteran.

Chevy Technology Series Part 6: Interior Design

CHEVYBRND198According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average motorist drives 13,476 miles a year. Designers who style the outside of Chevrolet cars and trucks get a great deal of the credit for a vehicle’s image and personality, but a key to long-term customer satisfaction is how much you enjoy the time you spend inside your Chevrolet.

DESIGNING WORLD-CLASS INTERIOR

And it’s up to professionals like Crystal Windham and Dr. Tim Roggenkamp to make sure all those miles you travel are spent in comfort, safety and style. There’s no denying that Chevrolet has moved the needle with the designs of Corvette, Camaro, Malibu and the all-new Impala, but the package isn’t complete unless there’s a world-class interior packaged beneath the stylish skin. For Windham, who directs the design for Chevrolet passenger car interiors including the new Malibu and Impala, and Dr. Roggenkamp, an engineer who conquers noise, vibration and harshness issues, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Interior designers and engineers are quick to make a convincing argument that many of the most significant advancements in automotive technology in the past quarter century are the result of interior refinements — improvements that have been made with increasing demands to serve multiple masters. Style, comfort and durability have long been issues, but add safety enhancements, including the need to place multiple air bags inside those stylish confines, as well as connectivity and infotainment systems, and you have a new set of challenges.

These challenges must be met across the board. Customers for the Spark mini car deserve an interior that is no less satisfying than the one in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which “reestablishes what a Chevrolet flagship is, by drawing on a rich heritage of bold and expressive design,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America.

Untitled-1The Further Refined 2014 Impala

Indeed, the 2014 Impala — available early 2013 — takes interior refinement to the next level. The priority for Impala’s success: “Attention to detail,” said Windham. The obvious boxes were checked: premium materials, such as carefully selected wood accents; a color palette that is contemporary and handsome; carpet and headliner materials that benchmarked properly against premium competition; unique, soft ambient lighting that shines through chrome accents — all that plus user-friendly gauges, switches and controls, and front and rear seats that are as comfortable at the end of a long journey as they are for a trip to the corner store.

With every new vehicle, Windham said interior designers have a specific set of goals — the amount of leg room, for instance, as well as shoulder space, head room and cargo space. With the Impala instrument panel, she was able to give it a pleasing curve that accentuates the Impala trademark dual-cockpit personality, but she was also able to move it forward slightly and “nestle” it into the door pockets, giving the driver and front passenger more room for ingress and egress. “We talk to the exterior designers from day one,” she said. “Constant communication has helped us both raise the bar on what we accomplish.”

Perhaps, though, it’s the little triumphs that make Windham and her staff the proudest. Example: The available 8-inch display screen in the Impala center instrument stack is motorized, allowing access to a compartment behind the screen that has a light, a USB port and some generous, unexpected storage space.

Taking Silence Seriously

On a model like the new Impala, silence is golden — a goal that was met beyond targets. Dr. Roggenkamp said it has long been possible to make a car almost entirely quiet, so long as you didn’t mind the fact that it would weigh as much as a tank. Making a vehicle quiet and light has been a challenge largely addressed by new materials that either block sound or absorb it.

Among the tools in his kit is acoustic-laminated glass, used in the 2013 Malibu, the quietest Malibu yet. Typical laminated glass is two sheets of glass, with a laminate in the middle. In acoustic-laminated glass, that laminate is special, and it is “amazingly effective in cutting wind noise and high-frequency road noise,” Dr. Roggenkamp said. Chevrolet is also near the forefront of active noise cancellation — generating a low-frequency sound from speakers, in response to engine noise detected by in-cockpit microphones, that cancels out the offending frequencies — a technology already available on the Chevrolet Equinox.

Cruze Seals the Deal

Similarly important is simply sealing the car. “You know how you can be in a room, and you barely open the door, and a surprising amount of noise comes through? It’s that way with a car — sealing it properly keeps the noise out,” Dr. Roggenkamp said. The doors in the Chevrolet Cruze, for instance, have triple seals and feature fiberglass “blankets” that serve as water, airflow and noise barriers. Doors close with a solid, precise sound, and no resonance. There are, in fact, 30 distinct acoustical treatments in Cruze — including that acoustic-laminated windshield. Noise-reducing technologies are applied across the lineup, making every vehicle as quiet as possible. 

Spark has seals installed along the hood lines and between the rear edge of the hood and air induction panel that are designed to eliminate potential sources of noise. Nylon baffles and expanding foam in hollow sections of the body structure close out the passages to eliminate transfer paths of noise. An acoustic headliner isolates and dampens interior noise, and damping patches on the interior body structure, as well as extensive sealing throughout the vehicle, reduce sound by putting acoustic treatments in strategic locations.

Dr. Roggenkamp, a self-professed “sound geek,” has worked on noise and vibration issues since 1985, and he said the progress made in his specialty is dramatic. “I know we’ve come through with a really good product when I take a new Chevrolet home and my wife says, unsolicited, ‘This is really quiet.’ Then I know we’ve done a good job.”

Windham said one of the biggest changes she has seen in her 18-year career is how much computer-aided design and analysis have helped her do her job. “For example, they can help guide the location and placement of the gauges and controls, and provide a great foundation for seat comfort.” But, she said, “They are not a complete substitute for the final human interface and verification. The human factor is important — and I think anyone who sits down in the new Impala will see that we’ve done our homework, and then some.”

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