Camaro ZL1 Records 7:41:27 Nuburgring Lap, GM Claims "Fastest Production Time Under $75k"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

With ‘ring times back in the news thanks to a new feud between Dodge’s Viper ACR and Lexus’s LFA, GM took its forthcoming Camaro ZL1 to the Eifel Forest to record its own time. The best lap time of 7:41:27, according to Motor Trend, was set by lead development engineer Aaron Link (some outlets are reporting the time was actually set by GM NA President Mark Reuss himself), although Reuss does have some his own impressions to add, telling MT

“It’s power all the time, capability all the time, and the steering and tractability of the car is just phenomenal,” he told us. Reuss also told us that this Camaro easily (and often) hit speeds of 170 mph on the ‘Ring’s back straight, and that even from those speeds the ZL1 exhibited, “Some serious braking power.” Reuss added, “We never faded the brakes on it… It’s one of the easiest cars I’ve ever driven to drive fast and hard. Everybody’s going to have a good time with it.”

But is the ZL1’s time, as Reuss apparently told TrueCar, “the fastest lap time recorded by ANY production vehicle costing less than $75,000”?



As Bertel has pointed out, there are not yet any agreed-upon rules as to what makes a true “production car,” and the only real authority on ‘ring lap times, Wikipedia (which still doesn’t list the ZL1’s time), counts anything that’s “road legal” in the same category. But in Germany, anyway, “road-legal” and “production” are not the same thing, as demonstrated by the top time being set by a Radical SR8 LM that requires a not-wildly-production-like

45 minute start up procedure involving a laptop plugged into the ECU, 108 octane fuel, engine rebuilds every 30 hours, transmission inspections/rebuilds after every race, etc

And because the ZL1 that set this lap time was a pre-production validation model, there’s clearly some question as to how close to production-spec it was at the time the lap was set. All the more reason the Viper ACR’s hot-off-the-showroom-floor 7:12:13 is so impressive. But, with sales of production ZL1s set for sometime next year, there’s little doubt that GM couldn’t go back and make their ‘ring time statement with a dealer-ready version. After all, as Jack Baruth put it,

‘Ring times are like any other laptimes in the world: subject to weather, chance, and the constant grinding effort of development work. Doesn’t matter if you start with a “stock” car. You can adjust camber, you can crank the toe in back until you either set a record or kill your driver, you can mess around with tire temps, you can use your datalogger to stitch together an “ideal lap” and then go run that lap. Period. No magic. No special significance. It’s a racetrack. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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  • Dvp cars Dvp cars on Oct 07, 2011

    ........the suspense is over, they've released the in-car video.......it's a ragged run, whoever the driver was never saw a curb that didn't need bashing, but he gets the job done, hits (literally) all his marks, and rarely gets out of the 4300>5800 rpm window.......it's a torquemonster, an overweight torquemonster for sure, but no trifler. Can't wait for a GT500 response......this is fun.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Oct 07, 2011

    @dvp cars- The fastest way around a track often requires you to hit those curbs. Watch an F1 race. Don't hold you breath for a GT500 run. A quick review disclosed that the Ford GT is only Ford toward the top of the list, and it is only 2/3 of a second faster than the Camaro. The next fastest Ford on the list is Focus ST. A race prepped Focus is capable of great lap times. I had to let one pass my Corvette at a tight road course hot lap day recently! The embarassment was lessened only slightly when I spotted the emergency shut off switch, the fuel cell, the full cage, and stripped interior. Of course, driver skill may have come into play, too! Wikipedia list lots of Nordschleife lap times. Driver ability is key, but the vehicle defines the envelope. It can not be argued that cars approaching the top of the list are not exceedingly capable.

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    • Dvp cars Dvp cars on Oct 07, 2011

      ........hard to imagine a "production" Focus running with the big dogs (and the Camaro is the biggest pooch in the kennel) at a hi-speed track like the 'ring, but I'm sure it's very competitive with it's peers. Getting zapped by a dedicated, race prepped, lightweight of any description is no disgrace at a track day......it's a foregone conclusion.

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