Crashed 2018 Chevy Camaro Z/28 Prototype Was Driving Again the Next Day

Camaro chief engineer credits the driver’s skill, while tap-dancing around questions about the car.

byWill Sabel Courtney| PUBLISHED May 17, 2016 6:29 PM
Crashed 2018 Chevy Camaro Z/28 Prototype Was Driving Again the Next Day

Remember that 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 prototype that took a nasty spill on the Nürburgring last week? As painful as that accident looked on video, it apparently wasn't as bad as it seemed, because according to Camaro boss Al Oppenheiser, that same car was back on the pavement the very next day.

But credit for the car's quick recovery doesn't belong solely to the hearty Alpha platform or the crew's tireless repair efforts. Instead, Oppenheiser says the driver's training saved the prototype Z/28 from severe damage.

"Everyone was safe. The car was actually back on the road the next day, because of the way he was trained," Oppenheiser said in response to a question at a recent car show at Rodgers Chevrolet, outside of Detroit. "The way he handled the car, there was minimal damage to it."

"They're all very well trained," he added, referring to the drivers Chevrolet employs for Nürburgring work. "[You] have to have certain driving skills to be able to drive there for us."

Prompted to explain what the carmaker was doing at Germany's famed racetrack, the Camaro chief engineer spoke briefly—and in very general terms. "We're working on some future things, some development things," he said. "This is our development area, where we look at wheels and tires, spoilers and splitters, ride height, tire size, everything."

But since Chevrolet has not officially confirmed that the Camaro running hot laps around the 'Ring is a new Z/28, Oppenheiser didn't refer to the car by name. (If he had, you can bet your ass this story's headline would have been, "Camaro Boss Confirms New Z/28 Is Coming.")

"As for the questions about what we're doing [at the Nürburgring], you're never going to get it out of me," Oppenheiser said, prompting a chorus of chuckles from the crowd. "You've just gotta understand that the next beast you have to buy is that ZL1. And you never know what...we may be doing something better."

And while he may be the head of Camaro development for General Motors, Oppenheimer was happy to remind everyone that Chevrolet also makes other performance car —some of which may be destined to go supercar-hunting.

"We're always gonna continue growth, evolution, so we're gonna continue to push and push and push. 'Cause we don't know what the guys across the highway are gonna be doing next," he said, obliquely referring to Ford. "And it's my personal goal to challenge our team to be better than anything they could ever do. Maybe even that GT they're coming out with."