Good Afternoon, Camaro Comrades and Firebird Friends!
Some of you have already heard the 'buzz' that there IS INDEED a new Book in the making that talks about the 5th Generation Camaro..........
"Camaro - A Legend Reborn" by Larry Edsall is a book you WON'T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN once you start to read it.......
We've been privileged to proof-read the book -- it takes you from the dark day in August of 2002 when the last 4th gens went down the line at Ste. Therese -- to the present as we work to get the new Camaro on the street.........
You can pre-order your book by going here:
Estimated date of warehouse is February 15, 2009 -- one day before we start building YOUR new Camaro.
We hope you'll order this book -- and that it will give you a much deeper insight as to some of the elements in vehicle development......
Here's a few excerpts:
Saddle up!” says Stephen James. James is a vehicle integration engineer, overseeing fuel economy and drive quality on the new Camaro. But in early December 0f 2007, some 14 months before the scheduled start of production, he’s also serving as trail boss for the first real test of Camaro prototype vehicles, a drive up through southeastern Australia’s “alps” and along its seacoast.
After so many months of work, this so-called 65-percent development drive will be the engineers’ first real opportunity to taste the fruit of their work.
“We’re getting the big bits dialed in,” vehicle line executive Gene Stefanyshyn sees as one of the primary goals for the excursion. “Do you like the suspension set up? Is it too soft? Too firm? Do you like the steering? How does the braking feel? Does the throttle progression feel right? How does the shifter feel? How’s the HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) performance? Is the temperature of the engine where it should be? All that kind of stuff.”
After the engineers do their driving, they seek third-party feedback, inviting Australian auto racing superstar Mark Skaife to do some hot laps at Holden’s Lang Lang proving grounds, which, Skaife notes, “usually brings out the worst characteristics of a car.”
Skaife notes that through one particularly fast section of the circuit, “my marker [for judging a car’s capabilities] is 160 kilometers [per hour, or just under 100 miles per hour] and on the second lap we made 105 miles per hour. That’s really good.”
In the early spring of 2008, a Camaro prototype, IVER No. 75, underwent testing unlike any that any previous Camaro had experienced. This test was held not only in front of the public but in front of General Motors’ own competitors. This test was held on the famed Nordschliefe, the historic northern portion of Germany’s Nurburgring.
While the historic track now has limited use for racing, it has become the test track where the world’s automakers prove the dynamic capabilities of their sportiest cars. Engineers working on recent generations of the Chevrolet Corvette have tested at the Nurburgring for several years and those developing the Cadillac CTS have used the track to verify the car’s viability and competitiveness with vehicles such as the sports sedans built by BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
John Heinricy heads General Motors High-Performance Vehicle Operations group. In addition to being a long-time development engineer, he is an accomplished racecar driver with 11 Sports Car Club of America national championships. He says that to even come close to learning what can be gained from a single trip to the Nurburgring, engineers would have to visit at least seven racetracks spread across the United States and Canada, but even then they couldn’t duplicate everything the ‘ring exposes about a vehicle’s dynamic capabilities. “It’s very total vehicle here,” he says, listing “brakes, powertrain, powertrain cooling, suspension ride and handling and all of the various computerized control systems and how all such systems work together.”
“We get learn a tremendous amount about our car coming here,” adds Doug Houlihan, chief engineer for the Camaro. “Number one, it’s a confirmation of the tuning that we’ve already done. It provides us critical feedback on our up-level Brembo brake fade performance, highlights any deficiencies in our chassis tuning and verifies our engine and oil and transmission oil cooler capabilities. This is a good confirmation of the testing and the development we’ve done so far and we see how it handles on this track.”
The car handled the track very well, “but there’s still more work to make it the best it can be,” notes chief engineer Doug Houlihan. “We know what we need to do when we get back to Melbourne. We will not stop until this car is perfect. Anything less is a failure and unacceptable.”