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Sozzi: How the Beastly New Chevy Camaro Z28 Became Beastly

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I can vividly recall the excitement when going for a ride in my sister's cherry red, 1991 Chevy Camaro Iroc Z. Wow, the squared sexiness of the design, and the signature T-tops, was enough to make any 16-year old boy's heart skip a beat. I went onto be a proud owner of a 1991 Pontiac (<--RIP) Trans Am GTA, a competitor to the Camaro badge throughout the years.

So it was a pleasure to have a giggling schoolboy moment and chat with General Motors' Mark Dickens, Director of Performance Vehicles, who has been an integral member of the development team for the new Camaro Z28, with the New York International Auto Show in full effect. Dickens is a true passionate car guy, his knowledge all but took me by the arm through the phone and put me behind of the new beast of the roads, the highly legal street racer known as the Camaro Z28.

To get a feel of the power of this awesome piece of American muscle, simply watch this cool feature on TheStreet from inside the cockpit. Here are the interview excerpts from Dickens, designed to be Camaro Z28-like . . . quick, with full punch off the line.

It's tough for this former 1991 Trans AM GTA owner to be doing a Camaro interview, but the new design is truly performance car meets eye candy. Take us behind the scenes a bit, how did you and your team improve upon an already stellar Camaro design?

2 Goals When Designing the New Camaro Z28

  • How can it win at the race track?
  • Beat the Ford Mustang "at all costs," tapping into extensive performance data in the process.

3 Key Attributes on How the Goals were Achieved

  • A higher revving engine then prior iterations.
  • Increased road grip through improved downforce.
  • Mass reduction.

When developing the new Camaro Z28, "every part had to earn its way onto the car" noted Dickens. Might want to apply that same philosophy to your office team . . .

Specifically to the Z28, what are the key things you learned when testing it on the track before its release to the public? Any interesting car guy stats you can share that may not be found on Car & Driver?

It may not be sexy to you Toyota Prius drivers, but brakes are sexy to the performance-minded individual that ponies up a good chunk of change to buy a Camaro Z28. According to Dickens, the Camaro Z28's brakes are one of its most vital upgrades. In non-car-shop talk, the Z28 has better stopping ability.

The Camaro Z28 is basically race ready right off the dealer lot. I am curious though, how do you think the broader Camaro interior will evolve over the years as digital dashboards and info-tainment centers begin to take over the industry?