It’s like a dream that we never have to wake up from. Since 2010 Chevrolet has been steadily upping their performance game with their cars, most notably the Camaro and Corvette. Every time they release a new version or model year we are blown away by how much it improves on the previous iteration. At this point we really shouldn’t be surprised any longer.
Chevrolet has just set a new performance benchmark with the launch of the new 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE. They say “It’s the most track-capable Camaro ever” and after looking over the specs we have no reason to doubt them. The track-focused 1LE formula has been added to the racing-based suspension, power, and aero technologies of the ZL1 for a package that’s sure to leave many a Mustang owner looking for a tissue box.
“The track-focused 1LE package offers progressive levels of performance across the Camaro lineup, from the V6 1LE to the SS 1LE,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “But with the new ZL1 1LE, the progression takes a quantum leap — this is the ultimate track-day Camaro.”
In preliminary testing, the new ZL1 1LE was 3 seconds faster than the standard ZL1 Coupe around General Motors’ 2.9-mile, 18-turn Milford Road Course test track.
The improved track performance is driven by four key elements:
• Aerodynamics: New aero features including a carbon fiber rear wing, specific air deflectors and dive planes on the front fascia produce grip-generating downforce to help the car stick harder and drive faster in turns.
• Adjustable suspension: The ZL1 1LE features racing-derived, lightweight Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) dampers front and rear for exceptional wheel and vehicle control. The front-end ride height is adjustable with the front dampers, which are used with all-new, adjustable camber plates. The rear stabilizer bar also offers three-way adjustability. All of the components are designed for quick changes at the track for optimal performance and a quick return to street settings when the track day ends.
• Wheels and tires: New, lightweight forged aluminum wheels are an inch wider but an inch smaller in diameter, front and rear, than standard ZL1 wheels and are used with new Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires that deliver max lateral grip of 1.10g. Developed exclusively for the Camaro ZL1 1LE, the 3R tires are designed to warm up faster to help maintain more consistent grip and speed, lap after lap. The overall footprint grows approximately 10 percent over the ZL1, but the wheel-and-tire package weighs about 1.5 pounds (3.3 kg) less per corner.
• Lighter weight: The lighter wheels and dampers, along with reduced thickness rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat, contribute to an approximately 60-pound (27 kg) lower curb weight than a standard ZL1 Coupe.
“The new Camaro ZL1 1LE offers the supreme track experience,” said Mark Dickens, executive director, Chevrolet Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports Engineering. “It’s the pinnacle of Camaro performance and advances the 1LE’s nearly 30-year legacy of uncompromising, track-tailored capability.”
Powering the new ZL1 ILE is a 650-horsepower, blown LT4 mills feeding power back to a six-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match technology. All of the performance tech, like Brembo brakes and active handling own the track, while creature comforts like dual-zone climate control and a Bose audio system, and even a heated steering wheel makes the drive to the track oh so comfortable. Looks like you can have you cake and eat it too!