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GM Press: Performance Testing Reveals Best of Vehicles

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Motor Trend's 2014 Best Driver's Car, in action at the Milford Proving Grounds.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Motor Trend's 2014 Best Driver's Car, in action at the Milford Proving Grounds.

A look at the unique tracks of the 90-year-old Milford Proving Ground


DETROIT – To develop performance cars, automakers depend on fundamental analysis, but it’s the test tracks and road courses that bring out the best in a vehicle. The collection of roadways assembled at the 90-year-old Milford Proving Ground has more than 140 miles covering parts of two Michigan counties.

“The proof is in a powerful ride like the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 that won Motor Trend’s 2014 Best Driver’s Car,” said Dick Knoll, Chevrolet Camaro lead development engineer. “Because of our Proving Ground, we can put the vehicle through the paces that a customer purchasing the car will put it through and then some.”

To get these powerful cars ready for track days as well as day-to-day driving, Milford Proving Ground employs test tracks including:

“I lobbied for it, all of a sudden it was approved,” said Lutz. “Look what’s happened to the ride, handling, steering, braking… everything of GM cars. We’re better than the best of competition and part of the reason is we have that facility. The lessons learned on steering, tire grip, braking, etc. that are learned on very high performance vehicles, some of that translates all across the line.”

Driving on these tracks is about 1 percent of the performance testing. The rest of the time consists of preparing for the drive to ensure the information gathered provides guidance for further refinement and not just a seat-of-the-pants thrill. During a test trial, an engineering team can collect data on more than 220 channels at any given moment.

“To make the world’s best vehicles, you need the world’s best people along with the world’s best facility,” Knoll said. “We are fortunate to have both.”

Globally, General Motors has other Proving Ground facilities including in Lang Lang, Australia, Shanghai and Yuma, Ariz.