The automotive aftermarket is a $31 billion a year industry and the lion’s share of those parts purchased are made for Chevrolet products (past and present). One of the hottest cars in the aftermarket right now is the fifth-gen Camaro and Chevrolet Performance is looking to get its share of those dollars.
We traveled to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to drive a host of new Camaros equipped with Chevrolet Performance’s latest and greatest hardware. Chevrolet Performance has released a comprehensive collection of factory-engineered performance parts and accessories for fifth-generation Camaros, 2010 model year and newer. Many of the parts preserve the vehicle warranty when installed by a Chevydealer, an advantage aftermarket installers cannot provide, according to Chevrolet.
“The same people who design and engineer these vehicles are designing and engineering these aftermarket parts,” saidShandor Piszar, GM’s Performance Vehicles & Motorsports Director. “The people buying these parts know they will be durable components that fit exactly right.”
Mark Dickens, Director, Performance Variants, Performance Parts & Motorsports Engineering, added, “We know the tradeoffs that are made for production, so we have a parting place to start engineering these parts. We use the same facilities to develop these parts as we do the production cars—the proving grounds, the wind tunnel and the race track. No aftermarket company can match this.”
According to Chevrolet Performance, the portfolio of parts is designed to make the fifth-gen Camaro V-6 and SS models more capable on the street and track and includes components from the high-performance Camaro ZL1 and the road racing-oriented Camaro SS 1LE package.
For customers interested in drag racing or high-horsepower projects, Chevrolet Performance offers the new ZL1 rear driveline system. It is the strongest independent rear axle option available for the Camaro, featuring a 9.9-inch rear differential mounted in a robust cast iron center section (vs. the aluminum center section in SS and V-6 models) and additional high-strength components.
For customers interested in road-racing or improved handling, Chevrolet Performance offers suspension components from the Camaro 1LE, which is homologated for competition in SCCA’s T2 class. The same components in the Chevrolet Performance 1LE Track Pack enabled a production Camaro SS 1LE to circle Virginia International Raceway in less than three minutes.
“Chevrolet Performance is the first stop for owners building a competitive, durable Camaro for the track,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “These Chevrolet Performance parts are based on Chevrolet factory-validated production components that were tested on racetracks and validated tostandards unmatched in the aftermarket industry. Quite simply, they’re tailored for improved performance and built to the highest standards.”
The parts are available directly from Chevrolet dealers, which can be found on the dealer locator at chevroletperformance.com or chevrolet.com.
On the track’s road course, we got to do comparison drives of stock V-6 and 6.2L V-8-powered Camaro SS models and then similar cars with the 1LE suspension goodies, the ZL1’s robust Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers and 3.91 gears. The results were startling. The ZL1 brake output is 20 percent better than that of the SS (which also uses Brembo components, though they employ four-piston calipers). In brake testing you could drive the cars faster and stop in considerably shorter distances with the ZL1 binders.
As for the handling, there was no comparison between the SS cars with the 1LE components and those without. The 1LE-shod cars were flatter in corners, more stable in transitions, and had a considerably higher level of grip.
As you can imagine, the 1LE suspension goodies turned the V-6 into a genuine Café Racer. According to Chevrolet’s testing, the 1LE kit reduced body roll on the V-6 car by a whopping 40 percent and from behind the wheel we can tell you they’re not exaggerating. It totally transformed the cars we sampled. The upgraded cars were so much more nimble and tossable there was no comparison. A car so equipped would make an outstanding daily driver with excellent fuel economy that could be a super fun weekend autocross/open track demon for less than the cost of an SS. It would have you searching out new, twisty roads to take to work.
As for the new CNC ported LS3 head and cam package, it ups the output by 40 horsepower and the heads can support a lot more than that. They flow like gangbusters: more than 350 cfm (intake side) with 276cc intake runners and 2.165/1.590-inch valves. The high-lift LS7 camshaft makes the most of the heads’ airflow capabilities, with 0.558/0.558-inch lift and 211 degrees/230 degrees duration at 0.050-inch and a 121-degree lobe separation angle. Contents include the camshaft and fully assembled cylinder heads.
We were able to do some mad launches at the drag strip with a couple of SS Camaros equipped with the head/cam package, 3.91 gears, the ZL1 rear upgrades and Nitto NT05 drag radials (305/35x20). The cars made exceptional power throughout the rpm band—in fact, the rev limiters were raised to 7000 rpm! With the slick ZL1 short-throw shifter, we had a ball, though we only got to make two launches.
Camaro ZL1 components:
ZL1 front brake kit for Camaro SS (part number 22959672) – It includes racing-style front two-piece, 14.6-inch front rotors and six-piston Brembo calipers with aluminum housings and ZL1 logo. The kit includes two rotors, two calipers, brake pads and mounting hardware. It is a direct replacement for Camaro SS. It works with production chassis controls, including StabiliTrak, traction control and antilock brakes, and does not void the vehicle warranty.
ZL1 rear brake kit for Camaro SS (part number 23104466 – It complements the ZL1 front brake kit with ZL1-logo calipers. The kit includes two calipers, brake pads and installation hardware. It works with production chassis controls, including StabiliTrak, traction control and antilock brakes, and does not void the vehicle warranty.
ZL1 front/rear brake kit for Camaro V-6 (part number 22989384) – Upgrades the front and rear brakes for 2010-and-later Camaro V-6 models with the 14.6-inch front and 14.4-inch rear brake components from the ZL1. The kit includes two front, two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers, two rear single-piece rotors and four-piston calipers, brake pads, master cylinder and installation hardware. Twenty-inch wheels are required for caliper clearance. It works with production chassis controls, including StabiliTrak, traction control and antilock brakes, and does not void the vehicle warranty.
ZL1 short-throw shifter (part number 19299460 – Quicker, more precise-feeling gear changes are enabled by the ZL1’s 5.1-ratio shifter. It is a direct replacement for the six-speed manual transmission shifter in the Camaro SS. Does not void vehicle warranty. ZL1 low-restriction air filter element (part number 92229651) – Direct replacement for the air filter element in 2010-13 Camaro SS models, enhancing LS3/L99 engine performance by reducing induction restrictions. It does not void the vehicle warranty.
ZL1 fuel pump (part number 19260557) – Fits all 2010-and-later SS and V-6 models. This twin-pump design is designed meet the high-rpm fuel requirements of a supercharged engine. It delivers approximately 250 liters per hour at 65 psi (450 kPa).
ZL1 rear driveline system (part number 22959394 for manuals and 22959395 for automatics) – This is the ZL1’s complete rear axle system, which is significantly stronger than the Camaro SS rear axle system. The kit includes a larger, stronger 9.9-inch ring gear with a heavy-duty limited-slip differential in a cast iron housing; stronger driveshaft and stronger asymmetrical half-shafts, which include a 60mm hollow shaft on the right and a 33mm solid shaft on the left. Their different torsional stiffness rates work in conjunction with the limited-slip differential to minimize the chance of wheel hop at launch. The kit is a direct bolt-in for the Camaro SS and V-6 models, although additional parts may be required for installation. Manual transmission kits feature a 3.73 axle ratio and automatic transmission kits have a 3.23 ratio.
Camaro 1LE components:
1LE Track Pack (part number 23123398 for V-6 and 23123397 for SS) – This suspension kit features the same suspension components used in the production 1LE performance package. Content includes a larger, 27mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28mm solid rear stabilizer bar for improved body roll, retuned front struts and newmonotube rear shocks for improved body and wheel control, and stiffer toe links and rear shock mounts for improved performance. It works with production chassis controls, including StabiliTrak, traction control and antilock brakes, and does not void the vehicle warranty.
1LE strut tower brace (part number 22756880) – This bolt-on component fits 2011-and-later Camaro SS and V-6 models, delivering greater stiffness to the front body structure to enhance the turn-in feel and supports quicker, more direct-feeling steering inputs. Does not void vehicle warranty.
1LE PCV valve (part number 12653073) – Ensures oil separation and drain-back during high-load cornering. Does not void vehicle warranty.
Camaro SS components:
SS brake kit for Camaro V-6 (part number 23120542) – Upgrades the front and rear brakes for 2010-and-later Camaro V-6 models with the Brembo front and rear brake components from the SS. It is a more economical option for customers who want greater brake performance, but don’t need the performance of the ZL1 brakes. The kit includes two front rotors and calipers, two rear rotors and calipers, brake pads, master cylinder and installation hardware. It works with production chassis controls, includingStabiliTrak, traction control and antilock brakes, and does not void the vehicle warranty.
LS3 heads / LS7 camshaft package (part number19300535)
Developed by the same powertrain engineers who work on Chevrolet’s motorsports programs, this power-building kit was developed as a direct replacement for the factory-installed heads and camshaft on 2010-and-later Camaro SS models, adding up to 40 horsepower. The kit includes CNC-ported LS3 cylinder heads, which flow more than 350cfm (intake side) with 276cc intake runners and 2.165/1.590-inch valves. The high-lift LS7 camshaft makes the most of the heads’ airflow capabilities, with 0.558/0.558-inch lift and 211 degrees/230 degrees duration at 0.050-inch and a 121-degree lobe separation angle. Contents include the camshaft and fully assembled cylinder heads. Head gaskets and cylinder head bolts must be purchased separately. Tuning is required. This kit fits other LS-family engines with at least 4.000-inch bores.