How the Newer and Faster Camaro GT4-R Got Beat by an Old Mustang

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Many Folks Were Left Scratching Their Heads When the Brand-Spanking New Camaro Couldn’t Catch up to an Old Mustang

The new Camaro GT4-R is a better race car by all measurable means. It’s better than the previous Camaro racer, and it’s certainly better than a grandfathered-in Ford Mustang Boss 302R. So why exactly did things play out the way they did at the first round of the Pirelli World Challenge in St. Petersburg, Florida?

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New Everything

Remember last time you bought a new car, it probably took you a while to get used to it, no? Same thing with race cars, but multiply that times 1,000,000. The Blackdog Speed Shop team is having to learn the new ins and outs of this new GT4.R, and regardless of how much testing they perform (which isn’t much due to the rules), there’s no substitute for race miles.

Out of the box the new Camaro set the fastest time during the first qualifying session of the year, which means the potential is clearly there. Furthermore, the Mustang beat the Camaro by a narrow two seconds, which for a 1 hour and 21 minute race, it’s extremely close.

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It’s All About the Driver

Racing is truly a team effort, but once the engineers set up the car and it rolls onto the tarmac, it’s up to the driver to make it happen. Lawson Aschenbach is an experienced driver, but again, it all comes down to how well he knows the car, and how quickly he can come to terms with it. Aschenbach lost the lead when he locked up the brakes and missed a corner, giving up the already narrow lead to the Mustang behind him. From that point on, Aschenbach struggled with grip and other handling characteristics that made it impossible to regain the lead.

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The old-school Mustang Boss 302R is certainly no slouch, but in due time, the GT4.R will be much better acclimated, and come back where it belongs—the top step of the podium.

Remain calm, folks!

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Photos via: [Pirelli World Challenge]

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