In developing the 2014 Camaro Z/28, the team scrutinized every component looking for ways to improve track performance, lap after lap. Even the iconic Chevrolet bowtie faced audit.
During aerodynamics testing, Powertrain Cooling Development engineer Richard Quinn noticed that the bowtie on the Z/28’s grill was displacing air away from the radiator, which can impact engine cooling – an important aspect for all vehicles, especially track-oriented cars.
Removing the bowtie altogether did not seem to be an appropriate solution. Instead, Quinn took a cut-off wheel to the gold fill of the bowtie, leaving the silver outline intact. He installed the prototype on the grill and retested to see the results.
“There are engineers in our team that race as a hobby,” said Quinn, “and we used that racer’s mindset to look for ways small or large to get better performance out of the Z/28. Even the smallest details on the Z/28 were weighed for cooling benefit, and this is one that stuck.”
The “Flowtie,” as the engineers now affectionately refer to it, is just the chrome outline of the traditional bowtie, with the center removed. This simple solution alone was enough to allow three additional cubic meters of air into the engine per minute. Engineers found the Flowtie dropped the temperatures of engine coolant and engine oil by 2°F (1.2°C) during extended track sessions. That seemingly small improvement was enough to justify making the Flowtie standard on every new Z/28.
“The Flowtie is just one example of the team’s focus on track performance,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “That same attention to detail is evident throughout the cooling systems for the LS7 engine, as well as the carbon ceramic brakes and the differential.”
The naturally aspirated Z/28 weighs 300 pounds less than the supercharged Camaro ZL1 and 55 pounds lighter than the Camaro 1LE – with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.
“The Camaro Z/28 has more than 190 unique parts, compared to a Camaro SS,” Oppenheiser said. “Like the Flowtie, each of these parts were changed with one objective: to deliver incredible performance on the track – not just for the first lap, but lap, after lap, after lap.”