"For Mustang fans, you're welcome. Clearly the Camaro has encouraged Ford to throw everything they can at us."

The 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has apparently rustled some snakes within General Motors. Al Oppenheiser, Chief Engineer behind the mighty Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has officially made a statement about the newest member of the Mustang family, saying that the GM wonderchild has encouraged Ford to come at Chevrolet with both barrels blazing. Oppenheiser says that the Mustang has been playing catch-up with the Camaro since the fifth-generation debuted in 2009, and that the GT500 is no different. The GM engineer points out that that the Camaro ZL1 will be track-ready right out of the box while its Blue Oval rival will require additional performance packages to stand up to a road course.

"The days of 'no replacement for displacement' are over, and it's not enough to be fast in a straight line," Oppenheiser writes. We couldn't agree with that sentiment more, but we suspect it will still be hard to argue with the significantly lighter Mustang and its new 650 horsepower supercharged V8. As you may recall, the last-generation GT500 wasn't exactly slow around Virginia International Raceway. In the end, the only way this throwdown will be settled is on a racetrack. Hit the jump to read Oppenheiser's full statement as seen on Camaro5.

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Camaro Nation:

As you know, the blogs lit up with the announcement of the new 650-horsepower Mustang GT500, and I wanted to give you my perspective on the latest challenge from Dearborn.

The Mustang has been playing catch up since the moment the fifth-gen Camaro arrived in 2009. Since then, Camaro has been the best-selling sports car in America, indicating that consumers know which car offers the best performance, style and safety.

It is no coincidence that Mustang has introduced three 100-horsepower increases to keep pace with Camaro: First their V-6 was bumped to 305; then their V-8 went to 412, and now the GT500.

Even with the 100-hp increase, the 2013 GT500 will still not match the technology and sophistication of the 2012 Camaro ZL1.

The days of "no replacement for displacement," are over, and it's not enough to be fast in a straight line. With the Camaro ZL1, we set out to deliver integrated performance, and be equally good at acceleration, braking, grip, and turning. As you will soon see, that's why the Camaro ZL1 will set the performance benchmark for the segment.

Our approach was to make every Camaro ZL1 fully track-capable, from the factory. As we announced today, the ZL1 Coupe will start at $54,995 with standard Magnetic Ride Control, standard Performance Traction Management, and standard track-capable equipment such as a rear-differential cooler, brake cooling ducts, and an engine and transmission cooler.

None of our customers will have to buy extra options – or modify their ZL1 – for track-day usage. That is not the case for the current GT500, or their new car.

For Mustang fans, you're welcome. Clearly the Camaro has encouraged Ford to throw everything they can at us.

For Camaro fans, trust me, we are always listening to your feedback, and working hard to keep the Camaro in the lead.

Al O.


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  • 330 Comments
      RJC
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The days of 'no replacement for displacement' are over, and it's not enough to be fast in a straight line," Oppenheiser writes. We couldn't agree with that sentiment more. Congratulations. Those are the most forward thinking thoughts I have yet seen from an automotive engineer involved in performance car design, especially considering it came from a domestic manufacturer mired in old traditions and definitions. Out with the old, in with the new I say. Signed, another engineer.
      bscmth
      • 3 Years Ago
      Shouldn't this be the other way around? It would seem Camaro fans should thank Ford.... after all it was the '05 Mustang that brought Camaro back. Camaro was dead for about 7 years and wouldn't be here today if not for Mustang.
        Richard Novak
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bscmth
        Camaro is a nice car but let's be real here... both Camaro and Challenger owe Ford big for keeping the muscle car niche alive while they got their **** together.
        Nowuries
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bscmth
        Totally agree, great point!
        the derpster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bscmth
        In fact, shouldn't Camaro fans thank Ford for creating the ponycar genre in the first place? I mean, if the Mustang was never built, the Camaro wouldn't even exist. At least not as we know it.
        Bavarian818
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bscmth
        Thumbs up to your comment!!! A couple of facts to remember: 1) This is the 1st Gen Camaro vs. 3rd Gen Stang 2) This exact motor is rated at 638 hp in the ZR1, so a little exhaust swap and boost increase game on. 3) Next Gen Camaro on smaller lighter platform is in the laboratory as I type 4) When was the last time American muscle was pumping out as nasty of machines as the Big 3 are today? Uh NEVER God Bless the General and the Blue Oval for having the balls to put out such amazing beast for us all!!!!
        Gorgenapper
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bscmth
        My thoughts exactly...
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like both cars, but as Colin Chapman proved many years ago, lighter cars have a huge advantage. Until they take some weight out of the Camaro it will be at a major disadvantage to the Mustang. I suspect GM engineers are hard at work doing exactly that for the next gen car. Hopefully Ford is doing the same.
        FriskyDingo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @throwback
        And I believe Carroll Shelby proved an ass-load of power is useless if you can't make it hook, as demonstrated by the 750hp Supersnake and it's killer 4.0 sec 0-60.....
      slayerdarkcross
      • 3 Years Ago
      While everyone is arguing about which hatched first. GM is not wrong to say that without competition Ford would have no incentive to upgrade to pursue enthusiasts. I just hope Dodge steps up to the plate to bring the 3-way competition in the higher horsepower category. I think its great that they are constantly trying to out do each other because in the end the consumer definitely wins. We all know after this GM or Ford will upgrade again causing the other to follow suit. So I would say quit arguing over the semantics! Sit back and enjoy the competition!
      chfpontiac
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The days of 'no replacement for displacement' are over"....says the guy with the 6.2 liter supercharged engine making 580hp while Ford has a 5.8 liter supercharged engine making 650 (even the 5.4 was making 550!)!!! I wonder if all this "new technology" will finally push the fat-boy Camaro over 4000lbs. I already own a 4000lb Camaro. It's called the Pontiac G8. Only difference is: -It can fit stuff, like, real stuff, in the trunk -It can fit people, like, real people in the backseat -I can have a sunroof without scraping my head on the headliner -I can actually see out of it -I don't have to drive a cartoon/transformer everyday
        J.Tennu
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chfpontiac
        That's what GM needs to do, and quick! Bring that G8 back!!!
          chfpontiac
          • 3 Years Ago
          @J.Tennu
          Don't count on it. Have you ever seen a company so slow to react to ANYTHING in your whole life?? They over-analyze the ever living $*** out of every product they propose making. Study groups, market analysis, etc etc. And by the time they get into the game, the final whistle has long been blown on that particular niche. Or, as they are notorious for doing, they bring out a half-baked product and slowly improve it each year, until it is finally a quality product (and probably what it needed to be in the first place) for only its last year then they pull the plug. I think the only exception to that may have been the large SUV's from late 90's to late 00's (the only timing they ever seemed to get right). I really do think they are too big for their own good and their size gets in the way of anything getting done. I was a GM person until 10 years ago. Now I play them as I see them.
      Garreth
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is only one original pony car and the proof is in the badge it wears. The camaro and challenger are still good cars so its not worth trying to defend your decision-making as to why you bought one. Drive it and enjoy it.
        Nickoo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Garreth
        Challenger is a muscle car, and the modern bloated camaro is bordering on one. Mustang is the only true pony car left. I recently had the pleasure of renting both the 2011 v6 camaro and v6 mustang. The camaro is a piece of garbage that I would never buy and I'm saying this after having owned and loved both my 1979 camaro and my 1989 camaro--both of which are better cars than the 2011 camaro.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nickoo
          The Challenger is a pony car, always has been.
      4RR4Y
      • 3 Years Ago
      Eagerly awaiting these two cars to face off head-to-head... Personally, I'd be more than satisfied if someone handed me the keys to either of them.
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rationalizing is fun, isn't it Al?
      TheStagg
      • 3 Years Ago
      wow the pony car wars are definitely boiling up .. im quite excited to see how they compete head to head .. and i wonder if the challenger will take part in this too..
      Garreth
      • 3 Years Ago
      And what came out before that in mid 1964. So your point is praise Ford for the Mustang because its the original and best pony car. Praise the Ford motor company for the pony car!
      Jack
      • 3 Years Ago
      Besides, isn't it the other way around? lol GM made the ZL1 to compete against the GT500 right? Afterall, Ford's been making it since 2006...Maybe this guy has had his head up his own rectum for the last 5 years, maybe the real question to GM should be "What took you so long?"
      citidriver
      • 3 Years Ago
      This guy sounds like a brand manager at a convention. His criteria is sales volume and what options are included in your purchase price. So Ford might sell fewer units, but just because something is more popular doesn't mean its better or that it's everyone's cup of tea anyway. I'm happy that GM performance drivetrains have progressed to these amazing levels ( vette, caddy, etc.), but it's too bad they are dumped into exteriors that are designed by Radio Shack, and those interiors, well.... As has been said elsewhere, the Camaro wouldn't be here in any form unless Ford remained committed to the Mustang and this guy wouldn't have this job. I think he's the one that should express some gratitude.
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