If the engine of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro were the beating heart, the exterior is the tone, agile body which houses it. It has to be cut and lean in order to accentuate the power said heart delivers to the wheels.
“The importance of aerodynamics increases exponentially as we increase vehicle performance,” explains Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design Manager for the Chevrolet Camaro.
After 350 hours of wind tunnel testing at non-stop rates of 24 hours a day, the new Camaro glides more evenhandedly though the air for a noticeable improvement in reduced aerodynamic lift.
Yet, to get there, it’s taking into account the fine balance of items related to performance car dynamics.
“As engine output increases, we need more engine cooling,” Bennion said. “As acceleration and top speeds climb, we need to reduce lift for better high-speed stability.”
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Aerodynamics Team set goals of improved performance, stability, cooling and lower wind noise intrusion but to get there, changes needed to be made.
Very carefully, however.
“We could not make any changes at the expense of increasing drag, which can hurt fuel economy,” Bennion said.
For example, original designs marked the lower grille bars at a 20 degree angle to the horizon. However, after meticulous testing and research, the angle shifted to 13 degrees. This improved engine-cooling airflow by 1 percent, just enough to enhance airflow but maintain the original grille design, without sacrificing fuel efficiency.
1 percent may not seem like a lot but performance as it relates to automobiles is a game of inches. It’s won in the smallest of increments.
To Bennion and his team, that’s just part of the job.
“To balance these different aerodynamic targets, we tested literally hundreds of changes on the new Camaro, millimeters at a time,” he said.
Chevrolet introduces the 2016 Camaro this Saturday, May 16th at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park.