If you’re a former aerospace engineer looking to buy a 2012 Camaro ZL-1, prepare to salivate at the video below. Narrated by Tom Frohling, the lead development engineer for the aerodynamics on the Camaro ZL-1, the You Tube video below is chock full o’ terms like “zero neutral lift,” “negative lift,” “chassis dynamics,” and “computational fluid dynamics.”
Here’s what you really need to know: unlike every GM sports car before it (including the Corvette), the ZL1 is designed to not create lift (which makes the car lighter and slower through corners), but to generate some minimal degree of downforce. Every aero bit on the car was designed to be functional; the hood extractor, for example, generates negative lift (downforce) while providing additional engine cooling. The front wheel extension reduces lift and helps with brake cooling and even the rocker panels reduce drag and prevent lift.
Camaros have never been known for being cutting-edge in terms of performance or technology, but the 2012 ZL-1 is likely to change that. We know enough to know this: there’s some serious rocket science behind it.