As of today, I’ve reached another mileage milestone (mileage-stone?) with the Camaro. Not a lot has changed between 30,000 miles and 40,000 where it is today, aside from a set of tires. Here are a couple of lessons from the past couple of years:
Lesson 1 - My original use case (autocross) turned out to be pretty ill-suited to this car. Not because it was slow or unreliable (it was neither) but because the tire options made it cost-prohibitive to participate frequently. A set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires for the factory 20” wheels rang in at around $1400. A Miata or BRZ could put on a fresh set of tires for half that. Furthermore, the RE-71R has now been discontinued, and there aren’t any other 20” competition tires that really make sense. Even worse, the only tire sizes on smaller 18” or 19” wheels that meet the load requirements and correct tire height for the Camaro cost even more than the RE-71Rs did. The Falken Azenis RT660 in a 295/40R18 costs $354 per tire and is the cheapest size I could find that meets the Camaro’s load rating. So, despite being the “autocross special” of Camaros, this car hasn’t seen nearly as much autocross as I’d intended. Put simply, it’s as quick around an autocross course as cars that are much more expensive, but you’ll still be spending just as much on tires as your friend in her Porsche Cayman GT4.
The fact that the Camaro just has really big wheels made autocross much tougher than expected, but also enabled the most fun thing ever:
Lesson 2 - The wheel wells are big enough to fit all-terrain tires at stock ride height. This happened kind of by accident, actually. I’d ordered the gold 18” wheels pictured on the car, and saw that the Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail tire was available in a 28” size (235/55R18) that was very close to the stock 27.2” high tires. I thought what the hell, might as well, and suddenly the car became about five times cooler. Running A/T tires has opened up totally unexpected use cases for this car, including rallycross and even offroad trails, and it’s been surprisingly competent at both. It also rides a lot better on the taller tires with more sidewall.
Despite being a total bait-and-switch with the autocross/track performance I got it for, this car has proven itself even more awesome at the most unexpected things. On the road, it’s comfortable, quiet, and great on gas. Off the road, it’s an unstoppable riot that hauls ass.
I love this car.
Recently, I did a little “Camaro vs Jeep” comparison trail run. Life’s been busy lately and I’ve yet to type that story up, but I hope to soon. Lots more big automotive plans in the year ahead.
Special thanks to @Long_Voyager94 @i86hotdogs @AestheticsInMotion and a lot more Oppos for showing me that a car’s use case isn’t limited to what it was built for, and for inspiring me to try doing things differently.