August 2012 Chevy High Performance Garage

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Letter of the Month

Upper RPM

Just a thought for you to consider: We gearheads all love the big cubic-inch motors and the high horsepower they crank. Nothing compares to the rumble of a built 572 cranking up. However, it would be just as fun for some features on high-revving small displacement V-8s too. Maybe a how-to on a de-stroked 350 block down to 302 that revs to 8,500 happily, which is reminiscent of a DZ 302. Maybe some features on ponycars built to Pro Touring standards with small displacement motors. Love your mag!

Randolph Stanley
Swanton, VT

Hmm, small displacement with the ability to rev to the moon? Yes, we love it! Anyone else want to see this? Email us at chevyhi@sorc.com and let us know.

Inside Chevrolet Performance

2013 Camaro 1LE: 426 hp, 1g cornering, and under $40,000

1208chp 02 Chp Garage Chevy Camaro 1le 2/3

The road-racing inspired Camaro 1LE performance package returns for 2013 with unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that make the model capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-3-minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway’s (VIR) Grand Course. It is offered on Camaro SS coupes with manual transmissions.

“The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and ZL1 to take road-racing performance to a whole new level,” Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer, says. “That the 1LE breaks the 3-minute lap at VIR puts it in the upper echelon of performance cars. That it starts under $40,000 makes the Camaro 1LE one of the most affordable, most capable track-day cars offered by any manufacturer.”

In anticipation of consumers entering the 1LE in amateur-racing events, Chevrolet is pursuing SCCA approval of the 1LE package for Touring Class competition.

For 2013, all Camaro SS models, including the 1LE, will feature standard variable-effort electric power steering and an available dual-mode exhaust system. Both features were introduced on the ZL1. Additionally, ’13 Camaro LT, SS, and ZL1 models are available with Chevrolet’s color touch radio with MyLink infotainment system.

“With the 2013 model year, Camaro offers something for almost every driver, including the 323hp, 30-mpg 2LS; the all-new, 580hp supercharged ZL1 convertible; the COPO Camaro for drag racing; and the new 1LE for amateur track days,” John Fitzpatrick, Camaro’s marketing manager, says. “We expect the range of choices and enhancements for 2013 will help Camaro remain America’s most-popular sports car.”

Camaro sales were up nearly 20 percent for the first two months of the year, building on an 8.5 percent gain for all of 2011. The 1LE package goes on sale this fall with the 2013 Camaro line. Pricing will be released later this year.

A Heritage of Handling

The Camaro 1LE package was introduced in 1988, inspired by Camaro’s involvement in Pro-Am road racing.

For 2013, the 1LE package is offered only on 1SS and 2SS coupe models, featuring a 6.2L LS3 V-8, which is rated at 426 hp (318 kW) and 420 lb-ft of torque (569 Nm). In addition, 1LE is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.

While the Camaro SS features a Tremec TR6060-M10 for all-around performance, the Camaro 1LE features an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6. Paired with a numerically higher 3.91 final-drive ratio, the close-ratio gearing of the transmission is tuned for road-racing performance. As with the ZL1, the 1LE transmission features a standard air-to-liquid cooling system for track use. 

The 1LE also features exclusive, mono-tube rear dampers instead of the twin-tube dampers on SS models. The new hardware allowed engineers to tune the 1LE suspension to focus on optimal body motion control while preserving much of the ride quality and wheel-motion control of the Camaro SS.

Visually, the 1LE package for 2013 is distinguished by its matte black hood, front splitter, and rear spoiler, as well as the 10-spoke ZL1-based wheels, which are finished in black. The functional front splitter and rear spoiler contribute to the car’s on-track performance by helping reduce aerodynamic lift at high speeds.

Inside, the 1LE package incorporates the ZL1’s flat-bottom steering wheel, trimmed in sueded microfiber and designed for easier heel-and-toe driving on the racetrack. The quick-acting, short-throw shifter from the ZL1 is also trimmed in sueded microfiber.

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