Americans have been burned far too many times by the seemingly innate British disdain for “big” American cars that do all right in straight line, but horribly screech their ways around a corner. Perhaps this played a small role in how GM wanted the Z/28 Camaro designed – capable of satisfying not just homegrown fans, but the more skeptical neighbors across the pond.
One of these neighbors is Chris Harris, the renowned car journalist and test driver for /DRIVE. As host of /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS, he’s able to put his well-cultivated experiences to use evaluating cars from all around the globe, whether it be a Ferrari 250 GTO or a Citroën 2CV. Present for today’s particular installment are the two of the foremost track performers from their respective countries: the American Camaro Z/28 and the German 911 GT3.
Harris confesses early on his love of the Porsche, and as a suitable competitor to the Z/28, there’s virtually nothing else that comes close to meeting the criteria: “You find me another 500 horsepower track day car, or 400-something horsepower track day car, that’s based on a street car that’s got a manual gearbox. There just isn’t one!” Not to mention, it’s free and clear of any paddle shifters, which Harris loathes to no end.
The Z/28, however, performed to Harris’ satisfaction, and then some. “I quite like the American one,” confesses Harris. “This car feel enormous after the Porsche, and the first time you get in it, it feels a little bit inert, if I’m honest…”
But that frown quickly turns upside down as the LS7 and manual transmission become a powertrain blessed by the gods. Harris puts the coupe through its paces on the rain-slicked track, and it responds accordingly, giving its driver the kind of joy one should get from commanding 500 naturally aspirated horses around the asphalt. Take that, ya Brits!