By on March 27, 2012

The 1LE package Chevrolet Camaros have a long history in competitive motorsports, with the 1LE package on the third and fourth generation Camaro offered as a means to make the car competitive in SCCA Showroom Stock racing. For 2012, the 1LE will return to compete with the Ford Mustang Boss 302.

Pictures at purportedly show a Camaro 1LE concept, seen above. A matte black front hood as well as a grey front splitter and rear spoiler are the biggest visual changes, along with wheels borrowed from the Camaro ZL1. Chassis changes include thicker sway bars front and back (27mm and 28 mm respectively) as well as a higher 3.91 final drive and a liquid cooling system for the 6-speed manual. A dual-mode exhaust (similar to the Corvette), variable effort power steering borrowed from the ZL1, upgraded shock mounts, toe links, wheel bearings, a strut brace and a ZL1 fuel pump are also on hand to make the car more durable for track work. The 1LE may not be as focused a track machine as the Boss 302, but the upgrades sound promising in light of the performance and price deltas between the Camaro SS and the ZL1. Chevrolet is apparently touting a sub 3 minute laptime at VIR, as well as 1 G on the skidpad. Over to you, Jack.

Official press release below

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

1LE features Camaro ZL1-inspired chassis and suspension enhancements
2013 Camaro LT, SS and ZL1 models available with MyLink infotainment system

DETROIT – The road-racing inspired Camaro 1LE performance package returns for 2013 with unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that makes the model capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-three minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway’s 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,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “That the 1LE breaks the three-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, 2013 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 323-horsepower, 30-mpg 2LS; the all-new, 580-horsepower supercharged ZL1 convertible; the COPO Camaro for drag-racing; and the new 1LE for amateur track days,” said John Fitzpatrick, Camaro marketing manager. “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 horsepower (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, monotube 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.

Other changes to optimize the 1LE for track-day use include:

Larger, 27-mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28-mm solid rear stabilizer bar for improved body control
Higher-capacity rear-axle half shafts to cope with increased levels of traction
Strut tower brace for improved steering feel and response
ZL1-based 20 x 10-inch front and 20 x 11-inch aluminum wheels
285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires front and rear (identical to the front tires for ZL1)
ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links and rear shock mounts for improved on-track performance
ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump and additional fuel pickups for improved fuel delivery during high-cornering

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 to 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.

Electric power steering and dual-mode exhaust bring ZL1 technology to SS models

All 2013 Camaro SS models, including the 1LE, will benefit from performance technologies that debuted on the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1.

The improvements began in 2012, when all SS Coupes incorporated the ZL1-derived chassis element: Stabilizer bars with drop links repositioned outboard of the control arms. This made the stabilizer bars four times more effective than in previous models, for improved control of body roll and crisper response to steering input.

New for 2013, the electric power steering system developed for the ZL1 will be standard on all 2013 SS models. The variable ratio, variable effort system provides light efforts for easy maneuverability at parking-lot speeds as well as increased resistance at higher speeds. This provides more feedback, and a more direct steering feel, to the driver.

Also new for 2013 is an available dual-mode exhaust system, available on Camaro SS models with the LS3 V8 engine and six-speed manual transmissions. Similar to the systems found on the ZL1 and Corvette models, this vacuum-actuated system provides a quieter driving experience at low engine speeds and a more aggressive sound at high engine speeds.

MyLink connects you

Chevrolet’s color touch radio with MyLink infotainment is available on all 2013 Camaro LT, SS and ZL1 models. The color touch radio, with a 7-inch touch screen, also can be paired with an available in-dash GPS navigation system – a first for the Camaro.

The color touch radio with MyLink gives customers a higher level of in-vehicle wireless connectivity and customized infotainment options, while building on the safety and security of OnStar. It seamlessly integrates online services such as Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio® using hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via Bluetooth-enabled phones.

MyLink adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smartphones, building on the voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevy vehicles. The high-resolution, full-color touch screen display makes media selection easy to navigate.

MyLink also retains all the capabilities of today’s entertainment functions, including AM/FM/Sirius XM tuners, auxiliary and USB inputs.

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40 Comments on “2013 Chevrolet Camaro To Get 1LE Package, Positioned As Mustang Boss 302 Rival...”

  • avatar

    Another expensive nostalgia ride that will appeal, and only be affordable, by fat, bald, old dudes, trying to relive a bit of their youth before they head off to retirement. Most will see less than 5k miles a year, spending the rest of the time in heated garages.


    BTW, of these will go out the door for less than $40K

    • 0 avatar

      I am seeing quite a large number of skinny, full head of hair younger guys in there 30’s and 40’s in these types of cars the past several years. Contrary to belief not every younger guy is into tree hugger vehicles or trucks. One of my 25 year old friends just bought a 2011 blue Challenger with the 305 HP V6 and loves it.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, much better to fall into the hands of a 25 year old with more money than sense, who will promptly wrap it around a phone pole, and usually badly injuring a family of six in the process.

      Agree with ponchoman49 – I don’t see many “Corvette demographic” nor trailer park demographic rocking in the Challenger, Camaro or Mustang. I have to admit I was a bit shocked when I saw a 30 something skinny Asian rockin’ a Camaro.

      And just because I drive my G8 GT 5,000 miles a year and keep in a garage does not mean I’m bald. Or over 50.

      • 0 avatar

        Many of the 25 year old car enthusiasts I know are very heavily into Autocross as well as TSD Rally. Don’t stereotype the young driver=bad driver thing.

      • 0 avatar

        “Yes, much better to fall into the hands of a 25 year old with more money than sense, who will promptly wrap it around a phone pole…”

        So THAT’S what happened to all the 1967, 68 & 69 Camaros that made them so scarce that I, in my 60’s now, can no longer afford! For the record: I’m not fat or bald.

        Oh, well, I’ll just merrily motor along in my aging but still beautiful 2004 Impala for a bit longer…

      • 0 avatar

        Umm…you should visit your local autocross or time-attack events. Atleast from what I see at mine, successful 20-somethings with mustangs and vettes who would drive circles around your average “responsible 40-50 year old”.

        Oh, actually, they instruct them when they show up in these type of cars (and they do, we had 2 Boss 302s and even a Laguna Seca come out to several of our events, along cars like Lotus Evora’s, TT Z06s). The job of said 20 year olds is to make sure the old times don’t wrap the cars around poles.

    • 0 avatar

      So we old, fat, bald dudes don’t deserve cars aimed at us? We do tend to have the money and lack of child hauling duties that allows us to buy toys to enjoy so why shouldn’t the car companies build cars that we will buy? I’d also like to find out exactly who decided that an old, bald guy shouldn’t be seen in a hot car.

  • avatar

    And in the end, we all win.

    Competition is good.

  • avatar

    While I applaud a ‘racing’ version of the Camaro, this is nothing like the early 1LE’s. Those were aimed at SCCA racers with none of the comfort and convenience stuff that racer’s just want to take out.

    I didn’t see it in the press release, but what is Chevy doing to take weight out of the vehicle? With a 500# weight disadvantage (compared to the Mustang referenced) this thing really needs a diet.

  • avatar

    Is it me or does this car look a little less like it has hydroencephaly?

  • avatar

    I see that GM has made multiple improvements to the 1LE Camaro except for it’s biggest problem, mass. What have they done to bring the weight down closer to Boss 302?

  • avatar

    It’s nice to see that GM has made many improvements to the 1LE Camaro to compete against the Boss 302. But what have they done to alleviate the Camaro’s biggest problem, its mass.

  • avatar

    1LE = one-el-ee which is a really stupid name. Can’t Chevy do any better than that? And yes, what does it, one-el-ee, weigh?

    • 0 avatar

      A ZL1 weighs north of 4100#. The Boss 302 comes in around 3600#.

      I have no problem with the name. It’s the name of the original option package of the cars that were aimed at the SCCA Club Racing crowd. 1LE stands for something among the pony car road racing crowd.

      The difference is that the early 1LE’s could only be had by checking off certain boxes on the order form AND deleting certain options. You couldn’t just check off ‘1LE’.

      This is what I found on

      “1LE package was obtained by ordering the following:

      Level 1 IROC-Z with 5.0 TPI engine with 5 speed or 5.7 TPI engine Optional axle ratio (G92) (305/3.45, 350/3.27) and its required options.
      Air conditioning delete (C41) (standard heater)

      Then the 1LE performance package was installed consisting of:

      Fog lamp delete Aluminum driveshaft (JG1) Performance exhaust system (N10) (dual catalytic converters) Special deflected disc shocks Aluminum spare wheel with smaller spare tire (N64) Larger (11.86 inch) front rotors with Girlock or PBR Australian built HD front dual piston aluminum calipers Special swinging fuel pickup in gas tank and special 18 gallon baffled fuel tank for fuel pickup down to .5 gallon reserve to prevent fuel starvation in hard cornering.
      Some came with special 16×8 light alloy mesh wheels. (XWL)

      111 1989 1LE IROC-Z’s were produced.”

      That’s what you do when you want to build a car for the track. Not what Chevy is doing now.

      Most of them were ordered with the 305 and 5 speed, but a few (mostly by Autocrossers) were ordered with the 350 and Auto.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    These are nostalgia mobiles. I’ll likely get crucified for this by the B&B but honestly the Cobalt SS was more in the spirit of the original muscle and pony cars than this thing is. (The small car high hp school.) Heck a Cruze SS with 200hp would be closer to the formula that captured everybody’s imagination in the 60s.

    Maybe Chrysler will make a Dart “Road Runner” where you can get the highest hp engine with very little weight adding equipment that you would find on the higher option packages.

    2012 (base) Impala: Curb Weight 3555lbs, 302hp V6 (source Edmunds)Power to Weight Ratio – 11.77

    2012 (base) V6 Camaro: 3750 lbs, 323 hp (source wikipedia) Power to Weight Ratio – 11.60

    2012 (base) V6 Mustang: Curb Weight 3401lbs, 305 hp (source wikipedia) Power to Weight Ratio: 11.15

    My point? I’m not sure, just don’t tell my insurance agent.

    • 0 avatar

      You speak the truth as I see it. Not that I would kick a Mustang GT out of my driveway…

    • 0 avatar

      If there is a performance version of the Dart, it better be called Demon.
      The Ram Express is pretty close to the original muscle car concept. Low price, 3.90 rear end, limited slip, roll-up windows, fancier tires, 390hp V8.

      But, it’s automatic only and a truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I always thought the CRX Si was the beginning of a second era of muscle cars. Light weight, enough power to get in trouble, and just fun to drive.

      On a related note, I just bought a base 2012 V6 Mustang and it cost me $19,200. It also hauls ass.

    • 0 avatar

      That will be a Dart Swinger. The Road Runner was a Plymouth. There is no more Plymouth…..

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I think the point is that the original muscle cars started with mass market cars and rearranged the existing parts bin to put the biggest motor into a smaller, lighter car. Since high volume light weight RWD cars are extinct, today’s nostalgia muscle cars have to either have a unique platform like the Mustang or start with a big, heavy car in the case of the Challenger and Camaro. The Ford Fusion Sport or even the Toyota Camry SE V6 are closer to the original concept of building a relatively fast car mostly out of parts used on other high-volume models.

    • 0 avatar

      “These are nostalgia mobiles. I’ll likely get crucified for this by the B&B but honestly the Cobalt SS was more in the spirit of the original muscle and pony cars than this thing is.”

      Interesting comment, Dan. I agree.

      A very similar opinion was made ‘way back when the Beretta Z24/26 came out – it being in the spirit and downsized-for-the-times of the old Chevelle 396 SS!

      Would I want a new Camaro? Yes and no. Mainly no – because of my vision limitation. In my mind? Ohhhh, you betcha!

  • avatar

    3:00 VIR record with 4000Lb 1Le? Not 3600lb more powerful 302? I dunno. Both cool ponyz. I need money though. economy pretty down. I need to work on my driving too.

  • avatar

    1G of cornering really doesn’t impress me anymore. It really all comes down to tire choice, and then any car will break 1G if it has remotely sporting pretensions. I’m not talking about hoosiers either, most of your max performance and all of your extreme performance summer tires deliver that level of grip.

    My old RSX did it with Hankook RS-2s on stock suspension (1.03)* and modded suspension (1.07)*. My S2000 does it handily on RS-3s (1.12)*. My wife’s autotragic mazda3 hatch will do it if I swap the RS-3s onto her car, and it outweighs the S2k by a good margin (1.05)*. Don’t even talk to me about he cornering numbers that a miata or CRX is pulling when proprly tired.

    This car still has all the problems that come with the Camaro in general (big, heavy, crap interior, horrid visibility). I’d rather have the Boss.

    *All of those numbers obtained at autocrosses in sweepers via bosch light-em up dyno on an iphone in a cupholder mount

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think the intention of the 1LE is to win over non-Camaro shoppers. I still dislike them. It’s still going to have the basic drive and character of a Camaro.

  • avatar

    Friggin’ yawn. I saw a black Mustang Boss 302 yesterday on base, with red stripes, red grille outline and red rims. It has a head-turning road presence, even for someone used to seeing a million regular mustangs. Not to mention, the exhaust sound even at low speeds is incredible.

    • 0 avatar

      There was a guy at my last day with an orange one. The exhaust note at full bore is magnificent.

      On that note, there was a GTR there, and the sound I would most associate it with roaring down the front straight was an angry Chewbacca.

  • avatar

    If they wanted to position this thing as a competitor to the Boss 302, they should have called it the Camaro Z28. That was the road racing Camaro that battled the Boss in Trans Am back in the day, usually equipped with a 302 for the lighter weight over the front wheels.

    Call it a Z28 as it is, then have a 1LE package available for serious track people that “adds lightness” by removing equipment, insulation, etc. Also, make sure you can get it in Penske Blue with yellow racing stripes and flat gray wheels. Then we’d have a real throwback car that pays tribute to the glory of Camaro road racing…

    To the B&B member who commented on the interior of the Camaro, have you looked at one lately? Maybe not quite as nice as the new Mustang, but there’s nothing at all wrong with it and I certainly wouldn’t call it cheap. I agree, though, on the visibility. Horrible. And they drive big…actually they drive huge.

    Still, a new Z28 to park next to my 1994 Z28 may be enough to convince me to visit a Chevy dealer.

    • 0 avatar


      Why is GM so hesitant to use the Z/28 designation?

      • 0 avatar

        I sincerely hope they don’t believe there’s a sleeveless t-shirt, mullet haircut connotation to the Z28 model…

        Good call on the Z/28 vs Z28. I’d go with the slash on a new car. Keep it real.

        The 1LE thing must be some kind of stupid, wink-and-a-nod thing cooked up by GM marketing. Maybe they think it has cache, but it means less than nothing to the casual pony car fan. Marketing people are stupid.

      • 0 avatar

        +2. It’s very much against tradition to use something other than the Z/28 moniker for a Boss 302-equivalent Camaro. Of course, for decades after the halycon musclecar days of the sixties, a Z/28 Camaro was the Chevy equivalent of a Mustang GT, when it technically should have been called Camaro SS.

        That’s probably the rationale behind 1LE instead of Z/28. GM doesn’t want to create confusion among the Chevy faithful as to the performance Camaro hierarchy when you have base Camaro, Camaro SS, and Camaro SS 1LE instead of having to choose between an SS or Z/28.

        Fortunately, Ford had no such qualms about having both a Boss 302 and Mustang GT in their lineup. Of course, the Shelby GT500 does create some confusion as to what, exactly, is the top-of-the-line performance Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        @rudiger, I see the various designations (GT, Z28, Boss 302, 1LE, GT500) as an extension of the old adage; “Speed cost money, how fast do you want to go?” In this case – “How fast can you afford to go?”

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t have an MBA with a focus on marketing, but I guess I don’t see the potential confusion here…

        Camaro – the basic coupe
        Camaro SS – the muscle car
        Camaro Z/28 – the road racer
        Camaro ZL1 – the rare, limited edition, King of All Camaros

        There you go, GM. Email me for the address where you can send my check!

  • avatar

    Still waiting on the Berlinetta……….

    • 0 avatar

      The Berlinetta…… I used to work with a guy that always referred to his Camaro as the “Berlinetta”. I would just laugh, roll my eyes, shake my head and walk away……..

  • avatar

    Hey guys,

    I had a chance to do some work on this car. I work in the industry, and I’ve worked on all Camaro variants since it came over from Australia’s Holden division.

    With that said, this particular vehicle took my breath away. The understeer issues of the previous Camaros are GONE. Body roll is slight and barely noticeable. The shifter and clutch feel perfect. Love the new shift knob too. It looks like a head of a cobra snake, and gives just enough room for your index, middle and ring fingers. The turn in response is amazing (compared to previous models). Acceleration and power feel like they have a purpose in life now. And yet if you’re just going to get groceries it feels just like the SS.

    Perfectly balanced car in my opinion. When you drive it, drive it hard, or power slide it in curves you would not guess the weight of the car. Balance is just right. Good work GM.

  • avatar

    Shiit I own a 2012 camaro but actually have this 1LE on order, it’s going to pretty sweet by the sound of it. I guess you could say a lot of older dudes do own them but I’m still young and I own 2 camaro’s… I have the 2012 camaro SS convertible and the 2012 SS coupe… I’m only 21 and you sure as hell don’t see me with my vehicles wrapped around no damn tree… I have the 1 LE on order for trade on one of my vehicles… I seriously can’t wait until I do get it because of course the better mods that they added on to it….

  • avatar

    Nice to have a fine muscle car. Whether you’re a Chevy fan, a Ford fan, a Dodge fan or an import fan the fact still remains that 99% of ALL these muscle cars are expensive to own. Insurance and gas and maintenance kills the deal unless you make enough money to survive the experience. The days are LONG gone where you could afford to have a sweet ride and actually have enough money left to fill it up. I’m retired and couldn’t afford any of these anyway. It’s nice to dream of a muscle car-but if I had one what’s the chance of it getting creamed by someone texting while driving? All of the muscle car choices have pros and cons. I personally think the Camaro isn’t an easy car to see out of for 90% of it’s audience. And if you have problems with outward vision, then you’re in trouble. And if I had the money that the ZL1 costs, there’s a lot of options out there besides this. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

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