For anybody unfamiliar with the particulars of racing, you can be excused for thinking that the most important factor in determining a winner is horsepower. And while it’s true to an extent that more horsepower can give you an advantage on the track, real racers know that your car’s ability to grip the road is more important than how many ponies your motor makes.
You can never have too much grip on a race car, though on a production car like the Camaro Z/28, all that grip can produce its own problems. The Z/28 sticks to the track so much that the tires can literally “slip” a full 360 degrees around the rim, which is no bueno. So GM engineers had to turn to a racing solution called media blasting to keep the tires in their place.
Like most of its performance cars, the Camaro Z/28 got a full flogging at the hands of engineers at Germany’s venerated Nurburgring, as well as numerous American race tracks. Engineers found that under either hard braking or hard acceleration, there was unwanted vibration which was coming from tire slippage, where the tires were literally rotating around the rim and taking the wheel and tire assembly out of balance
The solution? Media blasting the bead seam between the tire and the rim, forming a stronger bond that prevents slippage by giving the rim more “bite” on the tire bead. A simple and elegant alternative to wheels with mechanical “bead locking”, this sort of thing is reserved for serious race cars, and very few production vehicles need bead locking to keep the tires in place. Now you can count the Camaro Z/28 among them.