Chevy's Demon-Fighting Camaro Dragster Lights Up SEMA

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CARS.COM — Chevrolet’s Performance division likes tinkering with the Camaro sports car and has now started some development work on what can only be considered a crosstown rival to the infamous Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The Chevrolet Performance Camaro Drag Race Development Program’s aim is to create parts that a customer can buy through the brand’s aftermarket performance parts division. The company has already developed drag-racing parts for the Camaro SS, but it has now turned its attention to the top-of-the-line Camaro ZL1.

Related: 2018 Chevrolet Camaros Mark Hot Wheels’ Half-Century

Equipped with the ZL1’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine, a development car has run a 10.000-second quarter-mile at 137.78 mph during official testing, according to Chevy. That doesn’t quite match the 9.65-second quarter-mile time at 140 mph that Dodge reports for the Demon, but it’s really close. The car is being used as a test bed to develop “bolt-on” components for the ZL1 that Chevrolet Performance will eventually sell to the public.

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So far, the car has a couple of standard off-the-shelf or licensed performance parts that you can get at a dealership, notably solid cradle bushings from the ZL1 1LE model, a smaller rear brake system (to fit smaller WELD Racing 16-inch rear wheels with big drag tires), and ARH long-tube headers for the engine. But Chevy is working on a bunch of other parts that it may offer up for sale in the near future if development goes well.

Other parts being developed on the car include a cold-air intake system, a larger throttle body, a smaller-diameter supercharger pulley, racing tires, a racing seat with a five-point safety harness, and a roll cage. Chevrolet Performance is also working on tuning and calibration modifications to the ZL1’s components to maximize the new parts and set the car up for straight-line acceleration as a priority. New tuning for the magnetic ride control suspension, transmission, engine and electronic limited-slip differential are in the works.

If the components all test out and Chevy decides to put them into production, you may start seeing them roll out into the brand’s performance parts catalog as 2018 progresses. For now, it’s just a development car and concept — and despite the engine improvements, the car still isn’t producing anywhere near the Demon’s 840 hp, hence the quarter-mile ET that’s nearly a half-second slower than the Demon’s. Still, for drag-racing teams interested in some factory-tested performance parts, the ZL1 drag pack could be an excellent starting place.

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Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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