Back in 2015, Ford dropped jaws when it equipped the then-new Mustang GT with line lock. The system, part of the Mustang’s Track Apps package, locked the front brakes to allow a stationary, tire-warming burnout, standard prep for a drag strip run. Now, it seems Chevy is getting in on the action, equipping the 640-horsepower 2017 Camaro ZL-1 with both a line lock and a rolling burnout feature.
Autoblog‘s Mike Austin reports that Chevy announced the new feature with a righteous burnout at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. GM’s Global Lead for Product Development chief Mark Ruess gave the demo, bathing the crowd in delicious vaporized tire.
The Chevy’s line lock is activated in the Launch Control menu after switching the car to Track mode. With the six-speed manual in first, or the 10-speed automatic in Drive, the driver firmly pushes the brake pedal (how firm? Eighty PSI of pedal pressure). Thus activated, all you’ve got to do is mat that go pedal and fry the tires for up to 15 seconds.
That’s not all. Ever notice how real drag racers do a stationary burnout to warm the tires, then smoke ’em for a few dozen yards down the drag strip? They do that to lay down two nice warm strips of rubber, hoping to use them for traction on the actual race launch. In an old-school dragster, it’s a delicate dance of throttle, brake, and steering, but in the Camaro, it’s pretty much automated. Once you’ve activated line lock and are merrily smoking the tires in a stationary pose, you hit two buttons on the steering wheel (the cruise control button under your left thumb, the select button under your right) and the car eases back on the front brakes. Rolling burnout? Check. Major steering angle, an open door, or insufficient brake pedal pressure will cancel the fun before you can even get started.
It’s a nifty trick, especially in the ZL-1, a super-Camaro that’s as comfortable slicing up the curves of the Nurburgring as it is in a straight line. Will Mustangs and Camaros someday be able to drag race against each other fully autonomously? Maybe things are headed that way, but until then, we’re cool with having a built-in burnout mode as a software easter egg in our domestic pony cars. It’ll be especially great in the ZL-1 convertible.