SEMA 2011: COPO Camaro Unveiled; New Corvette and Camaro Concepts

The COPO Camaro is a proof of concept for what a Chevrolet Stock Eliminator entry could look like.

Back at the end of September, we published a rumor we’d heard about a Stock Eliminator Camaro concept car, a Chevy designed to go toe to toe with the Mustang Cobra Jet. Today, we’re happy to say, “told ya so” as the world got its first look at the COPO Camaro, rolled out as the climax of GM’s pre-SEMA press event. Along with the COPO, Chevy also had other Camaro and Corvette SEMA show cars on display, and an opportunity to drive a wide variety of different cars ranging from the Volt to the Grand Sport.

Who better to talk about the Ron Fellows Tribute Z06 than Ron Fellows?

Ron Fellows Corvette

Inducted into the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame this year, Ron Fellows’ distinguished racing career behind the wheel of both C5R and C6R Corvettes is celebrated in the Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows ‘Hall of Fame’ Tribute.

Vehicle highlights:

  • Z06 Performance Package (Z07)
  • Magnetic Selective Ride Control
  • CFZ carbon fiber package with splitter and rocker moldings
  • Carbon fiber raised hood
  • Black headlamp housings and mirrors
  • Red brake calipers
  • Ebony interior with red stitching
  • Suede-trimmed steering wheel, shift knob, parking brake handle and armrests with red stitching (from the 2012 Centennial package)
  • Centennial-model seats
  • Genuine Corvette Accessory Racing Pedal Package
  • Racing-style graphics that honor racing wins, National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame, Spring Mountain Driving School and Mosport.

Camaro ZL1 Carbon Concept

Much like the Carbon Edition Z06, the Carbon ZL1 takes the already-formidable Camaro ZL1 and takes it to another level of exclusivity. Exposed-weave carbon fiber and the new Ashen Gray paint (available on all 2012 Camaros) give the Carbon ZL1  a decidedly “tuner” look.

Vehicle highlights:

  • Chevrolet Accessories exposed-weave carbon fiber “Mohawk” hood insert
  • Carbon fiber rear spoiler with stainless-steel wicker bill
  • Carbon fiber inserts on the interior door and instrument panel
  • Lightweight 20×10-inch (front) and 20×11-inch (rear) wheels in satin black with machined faces
  • Brembo® six-piston front calipers, with two-piece front rotors, and four-piston rear calipers (Chevrolet Official Licensed Product)
  • Magnetic Ride Control
  • Dual exhaust outlets with active exhaust and diffuser
  • Jet Black leather interior with sueded microfiber seat inserts and Torch Red stitching
  • ZL1 short-throw shifter with suede and carbon fiber-trimmed shift knob
  • Suede-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel
  • ZL1 pedals

1LE Concept Camaro

Aimed straight at the track, the 1LE Concept is a hybrid of the SS and ZL1 Camaros, designed for road course competency. Wearing the same tires as the ZL1, and equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, the LE1 might be a look at what a future Z/28 could be.

Vehicle highlights:

  • Victory Red exterior color, with flat black hood and hash mark extensions
  • Satin black splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and outside mirrors
  • Sport suspension featuring Magnetic Ride Control
  • Electric power steering
  • Six-speed manual close-ratio transmission
  • Lightweight 20×10-inch (front) and 20×11-inch (rear) racing wheels (satin black)
  • Goodyear® Eagle F1 Supercar G asymmetrical tires (from the ZL1)
  • Brembo® six-piston front calipers, with two-piece front rotors, and four-piston rear calipers (Chevrolet Official Licensed Product)
  • Dual exhaust outlets with ZL1-style active exhaust and diffuser
  • Shock tower brace
  • Chevrolet Accessories red engine cover
  • Black leather interior with Light Stone stitching
  • Graphite Silver door and instrument panel inserts
  • ZL1 shifter with Light Stone stitching
  • ZL1 flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Chevrolet Accessories pedal kit

COPO Camaro

Proposed COPO Camaro Engine Configurations

427 Naturally Aspirated:

  • Suggested class: A Stock
  • Cubic inches: 427(7.0L)
  • Block: LS7
  • Block material: aluminum
  • Crank: forged steel
  • Rods: H-beam
  • Pistons: forged dome
  • Compression ratio: TBD
  • Heads: LS7
  • Rocker arms: LS7 1.8-ratio
  • Induction: natural aspiration
  • Intake: Holley
  • Camshaft type: hydraulic roller
  • Cam duration (deg.): 233/276 @ . 050-in.
  • Cam lift (inch): .595

327 Supercharged:

  • Suggested class: AA Stock
  • Cubic inches: 327 (5.3L)
  • Block: LS9
  • Block material: aluminum
  • Crank: forged steel
  • Rods: H-beam
  • Pistons: forged dome
  • Compression ratio: 10.2:1
  • Heads: LS7
  • Rocker arms: LS7 1.8-ratio
  • Induction: boosted
  • Intake: Whipple 2.9l supercharger
  • Camshaft type: hydraulic roller
  • Cam duration (deg.): 244/255 @ .050-in.
  • Cam lift (inch): .650

And then, there was the main event… In a theatrical flourish, the crate containing GM’s answer to the Cobra Jet swung open and the COPO rolled out, every bit the turn-key drag car we had hoped for, but with some details we never would have guessed. Under the hood sits a 327 CI engine based on the LSX block topped by a 2.9L Whipple supercharger, with the provision for a LS7-based 427 naturally aspirated powerplant as well. The concept channels power through a Powerglide racing automatic, but Chevy envisions three-speed autos and a five-speed stick configuration for those looking for other transmission options. Out back, a solid 9-inch Ford-type axle replaces the production Camaro’s IRS, turning 9×30 Hoosier radial drag tires.

Per Jim Campbell, GM US vice president of Performance Vehicles and motorsports, “The COPO Camaro is a proof of concept for what a Chevrolet Stock Eliminator entry could look like.” While it’s currently just a concept, Campbell adds, “It is a clear indication that Chevrolet intends to homologate the Camaro for sportsman drag racing.”

Vehicle Highlights:

  • Provisions for two engine configurations
  • Provisions for a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission, a three-speed automatic or a five-speed manual
  • High-rise cowl-induction hood
  • Custom Aeromotive fuel system, with a fuel cell and integral high-pressure fuel pump
  • Full, chrome moly roll cage
  • Coil-over front suspension with Strange Engineering adjustable struts
  • Custom rear suspension, based on NHRA requirements, with Strange Engineering shocks, Panhard bar and stabilizer bar
  • Strange Engineering S-9 solid rear axle with aluminum third member, 35-spline spool, 35-spline axles and 4.10 gear set
  • Lightweight, COPO-specific racing wheels
  • 29×9-inch rear radial racing slicks and 4.5x28x15-inch front tires
  • Manual steering system
  • Strange Engineering lightweight racing brakes system with standard line lock.

While it’s clear that Chevy is serious about adding the COPO part number to the GMPP catalog, it’s not a sure thing. Per GMPP’s Dr. Jamie Meyer, it’s up to us to convince the corporate powers-that-be to produce this car, so head on over to the GM Performance Parts website to sign up for the newsletter, and start blowing up their Facebook page to let them know that the COPO Camaro needs to go from concept to reality!

The 327 supercharged powerplant is only one of two proposed engine configurations for the COPO Camaro.

The rear quarter carries a bowtie and "COPO" logo, just in case onlookers wonder what was making all that noise...

About the author

Paul Huizenga

After some close calls on the street in his late teens and early twenties, Paul Huizenga discovered organized drag racing and never looked back, becoming a SFI-Certified tech inspector and avid bracket racer. Formerly the editor of OverRev and Race Pages magazines, Huizenga set out on his own in 2009 to become a freelance writer and editor.
Read My Articles

Corvette's in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Corvette Online, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.