Extremely Popular Corvette WindRestrictor Product Coming Soon for Camaro Convertibles
The etched acetate and LED lit Convertible WindRestrictor Product that has taken the Corvette world by storm will be available for Camaro Convertible owners as well. (1/21/2012)
The Corvette community has fallen in love with the WindRestrictor convertible wind screen by King Penn Industries, and with good reason. While browsing through their YouTube channel I stumbled across a video yesterday that shows, without question, that they're about to release a new version of their popular Camaro WindRestrictor for the Camaro Convertible as well.
The product sets itself apart from other wind screens--a common product for the Corvette line and one I'm sure to see begin picking up popularity in the Camaro line as well--by combining the incredible functionality and wind buffering of others, but with a gorgeous and stylistic visual design. The piece is made from high quality materials that are certain to retain their look and finish for quiet some time, and which are finished with your choice of GM official licensed engravings/etchings, and LED light options. The lights provide a fantastic look, and are able to be turned on and off. If you want even more show from them, also, there's also an option for a special LED package that includes remote control and availability of switching between all color options, with dimmer and fader functions.
Here's the video for you to check it out for yourself:
And their press release concerning the new product:
"Introducing the brand new, patent pending Windrestrictor for the Camaro Convertible from King Penn Industries Inc. No we do not own rights to this song but it is All American just like the Chevy Camaro so we hope you enjoy! This product is now available through our online shop at www.KingPennIndustries.com or simply give us a call at 972-487-5987. The all new Camaro Windrestrictor is an official licensed product of GM. Our product will fit the SS Super Sport, and all other models of the Camaro Convertible. Our patent pending design is the only product in the world that you can fully customize. You can choose from multiple color options. We offer Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple and Pink LED illumination systems. Or, if you prefer, we offer an "Extreme Lighting Kit" with remote control. This option allows you to choose whichever color you want at any given time. It also has a fading option that is HOT for car shows. Our product will be featured at the world of wheels show in the Grabiac Chevrolet Booth as make sure and stop by and check it out! Our windscreen for the Chevy Camaro is also customizable with different graphics options. You can choose from multiple GM licensed graphics or you can use your own and make it custom! Don't do another burn out without having one of these hot, head turning products on your Camaro. It's the best personalized accessory for the Camaro that is available today. Also, it's brand new so be the first in your city to have one! There is no comparrison between our version and others on the market. We also have this awesome product available for the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac XLR, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Crossfire, Mercedes SLK, Honda S2000 and the Porsche Boxster. If you were to do a side by side review ours would wind hands down every time! The Windrestrictor for the Camaro is already highly reviewed by owners! This is the only personalized Camaro Windscreen in the world! Windrestrictor is a registered trademark of King Penn Industries Inc. All GM Trademarks are used under licencse to King Penn Industries Inc. If anyone knows about GM coming out with a convertible model of the Camaro ZL1 please let us know! Don't wait another day to add this product to your wish list of Camaro Accessories!"
Here's a great product I came across that's available at a great price: Painted Aluminum Camaro License Plate Frames. Trying to keep up with a semi-regular product spotlight series, these seemed--based on their quality, great looks, and affordable price--like a logical next product.
The manufacturing for these is really cool, and, SouthernCarParts--who is one of the major retailers for them and a company that I personally enjoy dealing with (I feel like, as far as Camaro products go, they're like my everyday Cheers-esque bar)--provides a lot of information for how they're produced. Beginning with a solid brass, heavy cast mold, the base aluminum plate is formed. Each plate is then CNC machine cut for precision, and given a precise, fast machine engraving. The Engravings on these are of the Camaro lettering, with your choice of either RS or SS badging emblem to accompany it. Once engraved, the plates are given a multi-coat paint job using actual GM paints. I questioned this, but, was assured that the paint being used is derived from the GM WPA code, and, I'll be damned if the one I received didn't match perfectly. The paint is applied in a multi-coat process, with a final clear coating, for shine and durability and looks just like the stock Camaro paint job.
The last part of the production process is the one that impresses me the most. The Camaro engravings on these plates are actually hand-filled with an acrylic epoxy. Typically, hand-filling means that a product is prohibitively more costly than machine ones, but these are definitely affordable. The quality of the acrylic epoxy is perfect, there are no imperfections, and the plate looks awesome to be finished off with these emblems. These things are absolutely gorgeous.
As with any license plate frame, this is easy to install. The painted screw caps are a nice touch to help keep the whole thing looking uniform, and once installed, the plate really looks like it belongs on the vehicle. All-in-all, I'm really happy with the product, considering that it cost under $115 and adds more Camaro badge-ing with an OEM (or better) quality finish. That can never be a bad thing, can it?
The cat is finally out of the bag and on the streets. The Camaro, in keeping with tradition now has a sibling—the convertible. The new age pony car sibling to the mighty coupe has begun to hit streets all over the US, and with it comes the long anticipated warm weather. The Camaro has come out just in time for spring and summer and the perfect top down weather. The best time of year to sport a topless car is here, and what better way to do it than in legendary style and power in the SS convertible?
Don't feel bad—we couldn't think of any other better ways either.
The lack of a lid on this can of whoop*** holds no weight against the traditional argument of "ah, well convertibles are so much heavier and the handling is so much poorer…" The new SS convertible is only 246 pounds heavier than the coupe. When you couple that with the ability of being able to take the top down, the extra weight (essentially the equivalent of your really big beer bellied buddy- not such a huge difference overall on a 3800lb car) really isn't that bad of a deal. On top of that, Chevy decided to up the ante and add some structural rigidity improving modifications to
the car as well to stiffen things up. Perhaps the biggest weakness of a convertible is the absence of a lid and a more importantly a B-Pillar. This means a lot less structural rigidity to the chassis overall and the solution is to improve handling characteristics through other means of chassis strengthening. And that my friends, is exactly what Chevy did. The engineers in charge of strengthening the chassis decided that just like your awkward 13 year old yearbook picture—braces were in order. The front receives a strut tower brace, which aids in tightening the front end up a bit, and the underside of the car receives new V braces under the front and rear of the car, a new transmission brace and a new sheer panel below the driveshaft to aid in bracing the chassis. From what we've read, the handling is superior to the coupes and steering response is improved. The steering wheel is unchanged however, so the same wheel many have come to despise in the coupe still resides in the convertible. The added weight is also said to bring the weight distribution closer to a 50/50 point, and coupled with revised damper settings, the combination of all of the above further increase handling.
When designing a convertible, the aesthetic exterior styling is most definitely the hardest task to achieve. There have definitely been convertibles in the past that go down as being somewhat… how do you phrase it—awkward to look at. Motor Trend pointed out the Nissan 350Z, and Audi A4 convertibles. The Mini Cooper Convertible is another that immediately comes to mind, as does the Volkswagen Beetle convertible. The Camaro Convertible design team however did a fantastic job.
The top fits smoothly, and isn't an awkward oversized top that looks like an "emaciated horse." The top folds down into the trunk in about 16 seconds after you unlatch the top with a simple pull downward and a twist to the right. There is an optional tonneau cover that can be affixed once the top is down neatly covering the folded soft top. The cover is all a matter of personal preference, of course, as it is certainly not mandatory, and leaving it off eradicates a step in the top up/down procedures. However, going back to a full soft top again seems to be a bit more of a tricky (read: slower) situation. The top unfolds back up to the original position in about 25 seconds, so—if you do find yourself in an unexpected downpour count on packing an extra pair of clothes and probably a towel in the trunk, as you're probably going to be a bit more than damp. The Camaro might not be for those of you in the rainy cities. But then again, I've heard that you can stay dry if you keep moving…
As far as space in the trunk goes, the convertible is understandably a bit lacking. The coupe has 11.3 cubic feet of cargo space, and the convertible has 10.2…unless the top is down, at which point is has a little less than 8 cubic feet of space. But, with the top down, I'm sure you won't be too taken aback about the lack of trunk space. The upside of the convertible is a lack of B-pillars for lane changes, something the coupe has become notorious for not doing well. Backseat passengers will also appreciate the fact that the rear quarter windows now roll down on the convertible, making sure not to leave passengers out of the fun. On the other hand though, the convertible is exactly the same as the coupe from the windshield forward, so the absurdly large A-pillars are still present blocking views off the front corner of the car, but roll over protection is something Chevy doesn't take lightly.
The convertible also comes with the Heads-Up-Display or HUD for short, a digital display that shows up on the windshield just below the driver's line of sight that reads out pertinent information like vehicle speed, radio information, and engine speed. Think of it as a secondary digital dash that you can see through that doesn't require you to take your eyes off of the road. While nothing new in the car scene- a nice added touch for the new model. The convertible will be available in the SS trim model, as well as the LT trim model with a 3.6L V6 that outputs 310 horsepower. V-6 convertible will start at $30,000 and the V-8 will start at a respectable $37,500. The V8-powered SS model makes 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, 0.2 second slower than the SS coupe. The soft top does 13.2 seconds in the quarter-mile at 109.2 mph, just behind the coupe, which runs the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds at 110.8 mph. 60-0 braking took 107 feet, one foot shorter than the lighter coupe's 108-foot performance. On the skidpad, the convertible was able to pull 0.89 g, a bit worse than the coupe's 0.93 g, and ran through Motor Trends figure-eight course in 25.9 seconds at 0.61 g compared with the coupe's 25.2-second lap at 0.73 g.
The introduction of the convertible, as Motor Trend pointed out, comes at a very opportune time for the Chevy marketplace. Mustang sales have been steadily catching up to the Camaro, after the Camaro outdid the Mustang in sales during the 2010 fiscal year for the first time in 25 years. The convertible enters the scene just as buzz is waning on the coupe, and considering the coupe was all the Camaro had competing against the Mustang coupe, convertible and GT500—their run has been good, and will hopefully continue into the new year with the introduction of the ZL1 alongside the convertible.
When it comes to Camaro Parts, just about every Camaro owner gets a battery charger. Battery Chargers have come a long way in the last few years and CTEK is certainly leading the charge. They have recently released a line of battery chargers that they coin "the smartest Battery Chargers in the world". I have always associated a Battery Charger as something fairly and clunky, nothing that I would want permanently mounted in my car nor would I feel comfortable leaving it connected to my car, boat, or Motorcycle without supervision. The CTEK Battery Charger will completely change the way you look at battery chargers, guaranteed! The CTEK is rugged, outdoor safe, dust and water proof while still maintaining the sleekest and sexiest look I have ever seen in a battery charger.
It can be mounted in the engine compartment as a permanent addition to your car or just used as a temporary solution during the winter months. Either way, you can leave it connected to your battery all the time without the worry of overcharging or damaging the battery. Unlike other battery chargers, the CTEK Charger does not require the car battery to be disconnected from the car prior to use. The CTEK 3300 Battery Charger is perfectly safe to use with your car battery connected to the car. The charger will not damage your vehicles computer or electrical equipment. Once the charger harness is connected to your battery it has quick release clips that allow you to remove and install the charger easily at any time. The charger is spark proof and reverse polarity proof so that you do not have to worry about accidently connecting it backwards, try that with a traditional battery charger.
The CTEK Battery Charger is 100% automatic, just hook it up and turn it on….It does everything else. You can leave it connected for months and months without any concerns. All CTEK chargers come with a 5 year guarantee and are shock proof, weather proof, dust proof, and certified for outdoor use. For the money (less than $100 bucks) it is the best darn charger I have ever seen and would recommend it for just about any application. I was so impressed with the CTEK charger that I installed the CTEK US3300 in my C6 Corvette Z06 permanently.
The CTEK 3300 is the charger I recommend for all Auto's, Motorcycles, and ATV's. It charges them all, with the simplicity of hooking it to the battery and plugging it in, that is it, very simple. CTEK also offer a CTEK lighter adapter, which allows you to use the CTEK3300 charger to charge the battery through the cigarette lighter plug.
People sometimes ask, why should you buy a CTEK battery charger instead of one that costs half as much and looks virtually the same (even the product description is the same)? But this is not the whole truth. CTEK products have a unique system (patented functions) not available in other legal battery chargers that can therefore not offer the same performance. As for "copy cats" or forgeries, it is guaranteed that they will not maintain the same standards as a CTEK charger. It is impossible to use the quality materials, hire qualified engineers that produce the right product composition, maintain an even and fine level of quality control while at the same time keeping the price down. The "copy cat" battery chargers do not meet the standards that CTEK enforces and do not guarantee to be non sparking, reverse-polarity proof, and electronics safe.
Before his death, John Lingenfelter built an engine for a '69 Camaro that exceeded 220 miles an hour. That is brutally fast. To put that into some perspective, an Agusta A109E police helicopter tops out at 193 mph. The Kawasaki ZX14R (1400CC) superbike's top speed is 213 mph when unrestricted. The Lamborghini Diablo GT's top speed is 214 mph. To say that the man liked speed is an understated remark. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) has become an industry leader, and set a somewhat high bar for the standard for creating the most lethal, precision tuned, beastly machines on the road. LPE has once again outdone themselves and brought our beloved Camaro's a Lingenfelter package that sets the bar absurdly high.
Do you like speed, power and the reliability of a 3-year 36,000 mile warranty? How do you feel about 800 horses and 800 lb/ft of torque? With Garrett ball bearing turbochargers- that's right- two of them, and enough custom goodies from Lingenfelter, this package is enough to make even the grumpiest of old men click their heels with joy and grin from ear to ear. The Lingenfelter package consists of a complete teardown and removal of your stock LS3 (or L99) and replacing it with a LS7.
A raw meat eating, Mustang devouring, snarling warrior of an ass-kicking LS7.
The LS7 that ousts your (once thought to be pretty boss in itself) original engine consists of the following:
- Chevrolet LS7 7.0 L aluminum block
- Chevrolet LS7 aluminum heads
- Callies 4340 forged steel crankshaft - 4.000" stroke
- Lingenfelter CNC porting of LS7 cylinder heads
- Lingenfelter multi-angle valve job, cc, surfacing & assembly
- High temperature Inconel exhaust valves
- Competition Cams dual valve springs, titanium spring retainers, 10 degree locks
- JE Forged aluminum pistons and tool steel pins
- Manley 4340 forged steel "I" beam connecting rods
- Computer balanced crankshaft & rotating assembly
- File fit rings, heavy duty rod & main bearings, head gaskets, head bolts
- Professional assembly and blueprinting of engine
- Properly sized fuel injectors and high capacity fuel system
Basically in a nut shell, this thing is built to the hills, and ready to romp on the most unsuspecting of combatants (and this isn't even half of it). One of the most beautiful things about the LPE package, is the exterior of the car can remain as original as you want to keep it. Meaning you could leave everything exactly the same on the outside as the day it was born. Personally I'm a big fan of the "sleeper;" all go and no show. So when that kitted up Mustang rolls up next to you with a single chambered exhaust and a cam at the strip thinking he's the bee's knees- you can tear his world up from the inside out. And on top of that, as if the above build wasn't enough to make you pee your pants a little bit- remember Lingenfelter loves speed. Big power and big speed don't come from naturally aspirated cars. As much as I hate to admit it- it's true. The real cohunes behind this monster build are the twin Garrett turbochargers that when all things are said and done, put your right foot in its most ecstatic state and your back into the seat. Hard.
These ball bearing pups come hand in hand with the glory of no expense spared, and no shortcuts taken to provide you with the most reliable setup and the best warranty you're going to get on ANY heavily modified Chevrolet anywhere. A 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty is embedded with your new engine when it rolls out of the bay doors in Decatur, Indiana. I know what you're thinking, "WAIT! So you're saying I can have my cake and eat it TOO?!" The answer my friend, is yes.
- Twin Garrett oil lubricated & liquid cooled true ball bearing turbochargers
- Lingenfelter turbo compressor housings & exhaust housings with integral waste gates
- Lingenfelter super high efficiency air to air charge coolers
- Lingenfelter 304 Stainless steel 4 into 1 custom exhaust manifolds & turbo outlets
- Lingenfelter belt driven turbocharger scavenge pump & turbo oil drain reservoir
- Lingenfelter custom molded silicone air ducts
- Two S&B 360 degree conical air filters
- Stainless steel / ceramic heat shields & stainless clamps
- Port matched LS7 intake manifold
The two beauties that so mercilessly force air into that engine are so meticulously tuned to each motor, that once the car has been assembled it receives a custom tune and upon pickup of the vehicle you are presented with the complete dyno sheet and tune history, along with the Lingenfelter certificate of authenticity. Another trademark of LPE monster builds is that the original drivability is not sacrificed, and on the Camaro- the highway MPG is not affected whatsoever. And of course, after your 800 stamping horses are under your right foot, mile one of your thirty-six thousand mile warranty begins. I know I keep harping on the warranty, but when you start playing with forced induction, and extreme horsepower, there is A LOT that can go wrong. A simple air/fuel miscalculation at a certain engine speed could spell disaster and put you out hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Peace of mind on a professional installation is worth its weight in gold. Especially considering how new this generation of Camaro is- it's not like you could go pick up another shell for 800 bucks at the local yard. This is a $45,000 investment, so protect it!
Here are the finishing touches in the package:
- 160 Degree thermostat
- Ported & polished LS3 throttle body
- Professional engine installation, testing & tuning
- Chassis dyno report before & after installation
- Excellent drivability, highway mileage not adversely affected
- Lingenfelter 3 year/ 36,000 mile warranty
- Lingenfelter certificate of authenticity
The whole package rings in at just under $65,000 from start to finish. But honestly, if you're going to be pushing that kind of power, and looking for the best route to go- look no further. The history and lineage that is Lingenfelter is simply unsurpassed. Look up some videos of the Lingenfelter 'Vettes. They were (and still are) a real force to be reckoned with, and now the Camaro can join that elusive club of insane power, and unsurpassed reliability. The LPE Camaro not only meets the stringent demands that John Lingenfelter would have laid down, but surpass even the wildest dreams of what a warranty equipped, 800 HP monster muscle car could ever be expected to do. And do it with air-conditioning, and a radio with factory leather.
Good on ya Lingenfelter!
At the top of the automotive journalism food chain, there are a few select individuals with the right strings to pull that can get sneak peeks of just about anything. The guys over at Motor Trend happen to have the know-how and some pretty fantastic connections and were able to set up some (relatively) "alone time" with Chevy's answer to the GT500 and Boss 302. Instead of taking it on the chin, like we've been doing for the last couple of years- Chevy listened when we complained about our spankings. The answer they have given to us and the world of motorsports is nothing short of a pants-wetting great answer. The ZL1 is a monster. The time that they've put in to creating this magnificent piece of power is starting to show and we can only hope that it will be a Ford stomping beast.
The ZL1 has been rumored to be released in February of 2012, so we can speculate that it's going to be a few more months before we get to read a review of exactly how aggressively this beast can be driven around a track. But the LSA powered monster has been seen at the 'ring doing some pretty impressive hot laps. So until the clock really winds down on the release date, we'll just have to wait to see what the big boys think. Regardless of how it drives, Motor Trend got to hear how it sounds and thankfully for the rest of the world- they brought a camera. There's really only one word to sum it up: magical.
The raspy LSA with its ever so faint whine of the supercharger is incredible. In person, I'm willing to bet it will make old men cry, small children wail, and panties drop from coast to coast. It's going to be a mean machine. With the supercharged LSA, and magnetorheological suspension and brakes derived straight from the ZR1- it's power and handling should be superb. 550HP is a spectacular number, and so is the ability to put it to the ground in a thorough fashion. The 20x11 (yes, you read that right- 11 inches wide) rear tires should help this feat immensely.
The car looks mean, sounds mean, and I'm sure it's going to drive mean…but will it be enough to put the Shelby in its place? I honestly think so. If for nothing else, these two will be so closely matched that it's going to be such an epic battle to see who comes out on top, it will be worth paying attention to regardless of the outcome. The Shelby GT500 does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, and the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds. With 550HP/510LB-Ft, the Shelby will certainly be a contender at 3,820 lbs and revised gearing for the 2012 model year. It has lost 120lbs since the 2011 model year with the implementation of an aluminum block instead of the previously used iron block. The ZL1 should be somewhere right around 3,900 lbs and with an ever so slight advantage on gearing, it just might be enough to put the Shelby in its place.
Between the two it will be a show of who has better handling and the ability to keep the most traction while putting the most power to the ground. Needless to say, I can't wait for the new Camaro to come out, and really can't wait to see the competition between the two get heated. Until time crawls closer to the final due date, we'll just have to wait and dream.
Until then, marvel at Motor Trends unique first listen to the beast:
One thousand seven hundred and four hostages have been taken by Allied trucking company.
Ok. A bit dramatic, but nonetheless the 1,704 "hostages" happen to be 2011 Silverado's and Camaro's from Chevy with an estimated worth of $47 million. General Motors-it goes without saying- is obviously far from pleased with the situation. The original rift that sparked the "hostage crisis" came after Allied (AAG) attempted to cut union members pay by a whopping 20%, yet was unable to do so due to stipulations in the company's labor contract. The union- Teamsters Local 414 responded with a 72 hour strike notice to the pay cuts. The recent surge in fuel prices from the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa prompted the logistics group to apply a 15% surcharge to the bill with GM. GM refused this unexpected surcharge (although Ford Motor Co. had agreed to the charge) and then severed ties with the logistics company on March 16. The rebuttal from Allied was to keep the 1,704 cars that have already been bought and paid for (think dealerships more so than consumers-although certain customers awaiting delivery of cars/trucks will find themselves in limbo until things are resolved) by GM and were awaiting shipment across the nation.
GM filed suit against Allied, and the following day Chrysler filed suit against the logistics company as well. Chrysler has already reclaimed at least 200 of 700 vehicles reportedly being held at Allied locations, made possible through court order. The Chrysler Corporation has now outsourced the delivery of their vehicles to numerous other logistics companies, and plans to continue to do so in the future.
Allied transports vehicles for big names in the car industry like Toyota, Honda, Ford, and until recently Chrysler and GM.
The odd thing about the entire situation, which only adds to the absurdity of it all, is Teamsters Local 414 is not out of work. Nor are they on strike. A competitor of Allied Auto Group, known as Jack Cooper Transport, has stepped in to fill the void from Allied. Teamsters Local 414 supplies workers to both Allied Auto Group and Jack Cooper Transport. So, in effect- for the union members, the only real difference in their days work is who the company is that they call "boss" at the moment. There are expected to be no interruptions in production from the split, and the cars in "hostage" will be dealt with in the coming days and weeks, probably via court orders.
Let Operation Recovery Horsepower begin.
For sources, and further reading on the situation please visit:
Carbon fiber was only the stuff of Formula One fifteen years ago. Today it can be had for your Camaro. Out of the many manufacturers that produce carbon fiber components for the automotive industry, there is one that consistently stands above the rest. APR has time after time proven to be the heavyweight contender when it comes to the industry of making solid quality, aerodynamically tested, great pieces. They have made pieces for world record setting race cars to show stopping trophy queens. APR doesn't just arbitrarily come up with random cars to produce pieces for, they take a car that is designed for performance, and then they focus on how to make it better. In the case of the Camaro, they have started with the front diffuser.
The Camaro is a performance driven machine. It is a front engine, rear wheel drive car with a big engine under the hood. What APR has done is design a front splitter for the front end of the car. The idea behind a front splitter is to direct wind over the splitter which is attached to the front valance. What this does is direct air up into the front air dam, while simultaneously producing downforce on the front of the car-keeping the front tires planted better. With a firmer stance at the front of the car, and a better contact patch on the tires, the ability to perform better at higher speeds goes up. High-speed cornering, driving, and traction are all improved while the effect of lift is reduced. The effect is an aerodynamic win/win for the driver. So, after the contact patch is provided with a better grip, the tires and the suspension can perform better. In short, by altering one facet of our aerodynamics, we can change a host of things suspension and traction related. Basically, aerodynamics is the key to a good handling car, and to make a good handling car handle better. Better aerodynamics = better traction, better traction = higher speeds and better cornering, which in turn means faster lap times, which means better driving.
In all, a front splitter will not make you win on its own, but it will help you add some more traction up front and reduce front end lift. I would really only recommend this for the track, or shows, because if you live anywhere like I do, the number of potholes, and high curbs turning into the gas station could pose a threat to the splitters well being. However, on the track this guy will work like a charm. The guys at APR also took the time to write up a couple of great articles on their website about aerodynamics, and some cool pictures of the splitter installed on a number of different cars, from full race Porsche's to show winning Volkswagens. However, to install a splitter, it must be noted that this is a job that does require some ingenuity and a little bit of fabrication. The stresses on a splitter can exceed 100 pounds of vertical force on the splitter's surface. So, in order for the splitter to handle this kind of force, it needs to be mounted properly. Usually, a splitter is mounted to the bumper via the frame, and if necessary there are brackets that can be fitted to the front frame rails. If you plan on tracking the car, your regular track speed shop should have the knowledge to do this kind of installation. APR does provide a great article on how to mount the splitter if you do decide to tackle the job yourself.
Here's a (funny) picture for an example of how much stress a splitter should be able to support.
This is a link to the article on Southern Car Parts website that has a great explanation of the aerodynamics for a splitter:
Wilwood, Brembo, SSBC, StopTECH, and AP Racing are a few of the big names that immediately come to mind when the phrase "Big Brakes" gets thrown around. What's lesser known is that a large number of people misinterpret information like rotor size, drill patterns, pad material, and the number of pistons in a caliper. I'm writing this article to try and put a cap on some, if not all of these issues for the reader out in the world wide web of information. The goal is to try and explain some of these terms and concepts and their meanings to the best of my abilities, and narrow a couple of brands (maybe even one) down that seem to stand above the rest, in terms of fitting the needs of the new Camaro. But in order to do that, we must first understand the basics of braking, and how it is best achieved. Believe it or not, it doesn't start with how big your brakes are…
It starts where the rubber meets the road. Literally- your brakes don't stop your car, your tires do. Your tires are your first point of contact in the war against momentum. Think about it this way- if you can lock up your stock brakes, then you don't need bigger brakes, you need stickier tires. This is the point of contact on the road for everything- turning, acceleration, and braking. But before you go out and purchase a brand new set of Mickey Thompson drag radials to run on the street, let's briefly discuss a few basics on the tires. I am not advocating one tire supplier over another in this article, but the Tire Rack articles I reference happen to be some of the best tech articles on the internet for informational purposes. I'm sure most of you are well aware that each tire has a size to it. But, for those of you that don't here's a basic rundown of things to look for when choosing a set of tires. Size is obviously most important and is measured by width, aspect ratio, and rim size. This is stamped on the side of each tire in the width/aspect ratio/speed rating and rim size format. So a tire that is 225/50/R16 (like the one shown in the diagram from Tire Rack) is 225mm wide, has a 50mm aspect ratio to the wheel, is a radial tire and fits a rim size of 16 inches (tire size article here). The next most important piece of information for our purposes will be focusing on tread wear rating. Basically, in short the tread wear rating achieved on a tire is a good indication of how sticky a tire is. Plainly speaking, the stickier the compound the better the tire grips the road but the faster it wears out. This translates to having to replace tires more often, and wet weather driving should be approached with extra caution. So without writing a full tech article on how to determine all of these factors, I have provided another link to Tire Rack's tech articles outlining each of these points (tread wear/ UTQG test standards here). So, now that you've gone out and bought the stickiest tire you could legally run on the street, (***It bears repeating once again that when purchasing tires, a general rule of thumb is: the stickier the tire, the lesser the tread life, and generally speaking the worse the wet weather traction is going to be. ***) you want your braking to be improved further. Understandable.
Press on eager eyes, press on.
Suspension is the next area I want to touch on briefly as well. I'm not writing a tech article on how to modify your suspension today, but think of it this way: your tires are only able to remain connected to the road as much as your suspension keeps them planted on the road. In short, your contact patch (the area that your tires are actually touching the road-generally less than one square foot); can only be efficiently used if it is firmly planted on the road. So, on the new Camaro SS (or any new car for that matter) this shouldn't be an issue initially, but aftermarket springs and shocks go a long way in terms of keeping your car planted to the road firmly and more effectively. Factory suspension is designed to be comfortable and usually not maximized for the track. So, if your plans are to track the car, I strongly encourage upgrading the suspension for better handling and traction. The more effectively your car is connected to the road, the more the contact patch is efficiently used. The more your contact patch is efficiently used, the better the traction. The better traction is maintained, the better the braking. See? Great braking starts with great tires and great suspension.
Rotors: Cross-drilled vs. Slotted vs. Blank
Now I'll move on to perhaps the biggest debate in aftermarket braking: rotors. I repeatedly hear people debating whether or not cross drilled is better than slotted rotors, or whether slotted rotors are better than blank face rotors and vice versa for each of those, or a combination of the two. This is not an easy debate to settle, but before I anger the World Wide Web, we should examine the strengths and weaknesses of each. Cross drilled, although they may be the cooler looking of the bunch, are susceptible to cracking under heavy use (such as track time). By drilling holes in something (this may be obvious…) the structural rigidity of said object is reduced (it should also be noted that it substantially reduces un-sprung rotating mass, but this is negligible compared to the downfalls stated later). Brakes work on the principle of friction, and when friction happens- the byproduct is heat. Rotor temperatures can reach upwards of 900 degrees Fahrenheit when used heavily on the street and occasional track days, temperatures on the track have been recorded for an F1 brake rotor generating heat in excess of double that at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. So as these components heat up, they also cool down, expanding and contracting putting these stresses on normal metal or alloy components is harsh enough; let alone drilling them full of holes. So, after repeated use in these conditions, the weakest area of the rotor tends to give way to the stress. This is evident in the manifestation of cracking around the weakest area of the rotor: the holes. A prime example can be seen in the picture below. This can result in catastrophic brake failure, which not only can be dangerous to you and others, but be extremely costly to repair. When the big names in racing technology like Brembo, Wilwood, etc. recommend against using cross drilled rotors on the track, their advice should be heeded. The only exception to this rule I can see is when the manufacturer uses ceramic or carbon/ceramic brakes, a markedly more expensive option seen on the feet of Ferrari, Porsche GT series cars, and other high end supercars.
After ruling out cross drilled rotors as a serious track or heavy use option (in my honest opinion, I question why they are even still made as an aftermarket option) the next rotor face design most heavily debated is slotted rotors. Slotted rotors serve multiple functions in their design: they help to expel hot gases as they are generated against the face of the rotor and the pad, while simultaneously sweeping the face of the pad free of dust, and any (in the uncanny event) debris that might have been sucked into the rotor/pad braking surface. Slotting rotors also helps the "bite" characteristic of the pad- much in the same way drilled rotors have the same effect. Slotted rotors have been around for quite some time now, and have proven themselves to be a viable option over blank faced rotors. However, the reasoning behind a slotted rotor is the same as a drilled rotor without the apparent disadvantages, and has proven so in various forms of racing.
The next option is a blank faced rotor; this is structurally the strongest of the three discussed options. But a blank face rotor lacks the advantage of slots to help expel heat and debris from the pad and rotor area, effectively running hotter than the slotted rotors. However, a vented, blank face rotor seems to be the rotor of choice for most race teams. By venting the rotor, with vanes inside the rotor itself, the air in the surrounding wheel and hub is effectively impelled through the surface of the rotor itself drastically dropping temperatures on the rotor face. Many manufacturers have developed an excellent system, as seen in the cut away picture from StopTECH-the impeller design pulls air through the surface of the already drilled rotor aiding in cooling. It is a fact that the heat generated by the braking process must be dissipated. The rotor (disc) handles roughly 80% of this job; therefore any advances in cooling this component are of great benefit. Vented rotors were initially introduced by Ford on the GT40 in 1966. With this we should also note that cooling is a large part of effective braking. Although not practical for most street cars, large ducts are often used in race car design to aid in cooling brakes; less heat means longer life, and less wear.
Brake pads are another serious point of contention for many enthusiasts and racers. The brake pad itself is a shaped conglomeration of friction material bound to a backing plate usually made of steel. Pad material can and has been made of various materials including asbestos (not commonly used anymore for obvious health reasons), ceramic, Kevlar, copper, aramid fibers, and other various organic and semi-metallic combinations. For the sake of argument I will not delve deeply into the "best" pad or pad materials, but there are a myriad of companies that produce brake pads, and each generally defines the differences between common light economy car use, and those designated for heavy truck, street performance or race only abuse. Some commonly noted companies include Hawk, EBC, Porterfield, Project Mu, Brembo, and so on. Different pads are geared towards different goals, some value less noise over less bite, others value less dust over less noise, and others still are designed for maximum performance regardless of noise or dust. The choice in pad is almost as unique as the driver, but more importantly the goals the driver has for the car and its performance and how the driver likes the brakes to perform at a certain point. Some racers prefer a harsh initial bite, making braking less initially modulated; while others prefer a moderate bite to help them gauge modulation in extreme braking situations. Again, pad choice is as unique as the car and varies uniquely from driver to driver,
Ahh, those big shiny, colorful, name bearing beauties we all see behind the wheels of the cars on the greatest circuits in the world, clamping down on massive rotors slowing the car in impeccable fashion. These beauties are engineering feats in themselves, and are the final product of months of R&D, reshaping, resizing, structurally balancing, and finally matched to the car for perfect clamping force distribution. That being said let's delve into some of the different setups that calipers come varied in. There are many different configurations for a caliper that go into play in order for it to function at its maximum efficiency. Things like number of pistons in the caliper, caliper material, piston material, the brake fluid being used, the size of the piston(s), the weight of the vehicle, the intended use of the vehicle, etc. The list goes on for quite a while longer, but for our purposes I will explain very simply how the caliper functions. In a nutshell, the process goes as follows: your car has a brake fluid reservoir usually behind a brake booster/master cylinder. This master cylinder is connected to the pedal which pivots on an axis- acting as a lever. When you place your foot on the pedal and apply pressure, this lever (pedal) amplifies the force of your foot and forces fluid in the brake master cylinder and through the closed system traveling throughout the vehicle to each corner at the same time, expanding and driving the piston out of the cylinder in the caliper against the pad to clamp down on the rotor. A simple cutaway of a caliper is below courtesy of howstuffworks.com and for a further in-depth explanation of how disc brakes work, please click on the picture to link to the article.
Now that we know how a caliper works, let's examine how companies reach a conclusion on which size rotor, what size caliper, and what size piston within the caliper to use, and how many of them. This is an extremely complicated process that focuses on the corner weight of the vehicle, and starts and ends with the factory braking bias. The engineers of each braking system from the factory, for every car and manufacturer, had to put the system/car through an extremely stringent series of tests. In order for the car to pass, it had to be deemed road worthy after hundreds of hours of testing and reevaluating and ultimately the approval from the DOT and other governmentally mandated safety laws. In reference to braking bias, it is logically apparent that when you brake, weight shifts forward, and say you had just slapped some no name (or-as popular in the sport compact world, taking a higher performance model and installing its bigger brake setup on the base model car) bigger brakes, and would actually find that your stopping distances increased. What? Bigger brakes taking longer to stop the car? That's right; by upsetting the braking bias you upset exactly how much pressure the brakes apply to each corner. By installing a bigger rotor, with a bigger set of pistons, it might be setting the braking bias too far forward resulting in the undue amount of pressure being put up front with not enough bias in the rear consequentially creating longer braking distances.
Fluid and Lines
Fluid is an entirely big subject in itself, and for our purposes I will refrain from making extreme recommendations, but if I was to over broaden the subject and make a **GENERAL** recommendation, I would say that it would be safe to do three things regardless of brake set up. Initially, I would recommend first and foremost following the exact specifications of any brake kit manufacturer that you end up purchasing. The amount of time these companies have spent researching which fluid works best for their kits, and the components that they use in each kit (rubber seals, and different metal components of the system react differently with different chemical make-ups of different fluids). Secondly, for a performance application, avoid DOT 5 fluids as they are silicone based and more compressible over glycol-ether based DOT 3, 4, and 5.1 fluids. Thirdly, I would recommend bleeding your brakes 2-3 times a year, more if you drive hard or especially if you track the car, or live in a humid climate. But honestly, this is not an easily approachable subject for the amount of depth we're going into for this article. But on the subject of lines, I am a firm believer in stainless steel braided, Teflon coated lines. They do not expand in the same way that factory rubber lines do, creating a stronger pedal feel with better response. Dollar for dollar, it's probably the cheapest and most noticeable performance upgrade you'll spend on brakes.
Summary and Notes on Fitment
So, how do we determine which kit is better for our Camaro SS? There are a few big name companies with great kits on the market, namely Wilwood, Brembo, and StopTECH. These are all big names and can offer incredible quality, and superb fitment. They each are 6-piston front/4-piston rear kits with the options of either slotted, or drilled and slotted rotors. As discussed earlier, slotted is the better option when choosing high performance rotors. Each kit comes with a set of stainless lines, and requires a minimum wheel size of 18 inches. It should be taken into consideration also when purchasing a kit of this magnitude that these will be larger than the factory brakes, and wheel fitment is crucial. The minimum clearance for each of these brake manufacturers is 2mm. This is easily accounted for when you follow the brake manufacturer's directions for test fitment. The manufacturer will provide a FREE template online to be printed out to scale and then applied to poster-board or cardboard and then cut out placing this inside the wheel and double checking measurements and fitment. Pretty straight forward and easy to do with the wheel obviously removed from the vehicle. I hope that this article has helped clear up some of the misconceptions on big brakes, and brakes in general.