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Goodwood FoS 2016

Watch: 640bhp Camaro does a burnout at Goodwood

TG rides onboard as GM tests out the 'linelock' function... live

Published: 27 Jun 2016

It’s not everyday you get to test a new piece of technology on Lord March’s drive at Goodwood. Especially not sitting next to the executive VP of product development for GM, Mark Reuss, in a pre-production, bright red 640bhp 10-speed Chevy Camaro ZL1.

But here we are in just that position. Me, Mark, the supercharged LT4-engined Camaro, the drive and the thousands of people gathered for this celebration of all things speed. At first I was told this would just be a demo drive up the hill in the car that will be released later this year, after it’s racked up more than 250,000 shakedown miles.

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But when I get in the Chevy, it’s clear this isn’t going to be an ordinary or in any way sedate drive up the hill. Mark is fiddling with the controls and asking Al Oppenheiser, the Camaro programme chief engineer, how to do something. "Go to the sub-menu and scoll down until you get to Linelock," says Al. "Now press the brake pedal until that bar hits 100 per cent and you are good to go."

Electric linelock? On a 640bhp pony car fitted with super sticky Goodyear tyres – they have been specially developed for the car and are, Al says, at least as good as the benchmark Michelin Sport Cup 2s? This is going to be a smokefest.

But when we get down to the start line, after a fascinating half an hour in the traffic talking about everything from ride sharing, electric cars, Le Mans, NASCAR, fuel cells, motor shows and much more – we will get to that elsewhere later – Mark lights up the rears briefly, but not enough to really – really – test the system.

After we leave the line in a thin veil of tyre mist, there is some confusion whether the Linelock system has cut in properly so, not knowing the rules of the hill, we decide we should probably stop and give it another go. "Yes," we agreed. "Best to check it’s working properly."

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So, just after the turn two right-hand kink, we stop the Camaro, Mark fiddles with the linelock controls and…the safety systems cut in and apply the electric handbrake. After what seemed like another minute – the announcer started speculating that the car had found a false neutral – but was only a couple of seconds, Mark resets the system again. "OK," he said.

And with the front brakes clamped on, Mark mashes the throttle and 320bhp exits onto the track via each of the rear tyres. We have ignition. As were are testing this new Camaro technology, and Mark is head of PD, he leaves his foot on the gas for one, two, three maybe four seconds – just to make sure it’s working – and the grandstands on both sides of the track disappear into clouds of white smoke.

When we reach the top of the hill, we get one of the nicest but sternest telling offs for stopping on the drive. But we were both happy. We still have a few months to wait to drive the ZL1 properly ourselves, but for now we know a couple more things about the big beast – it’s got great tyres, and an even better system for shredding them. Bring it on.

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