The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Should Satisfy Z/28 Holdouts

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
the chevrolet camaro zl1 1le should satisfy z 28 holdouts

Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 is already renowned for its ability to put down massive amounts of power in the corners and the straights. When General Motors switched over to the Alpha platform, it made sure that the ZL1 was a serious contender on the track, drag strip, highway, or any other evenly paved road. For 2018, the ZL1 1LE aims to add additional grace upon closed-course tarmac and transform an already track-capable car into a street-legal racer.

With more wings than a flock of birds, it certainly appears as if it would be more than competent at a track day and the black hood, mirrors, and wheels further enhance the definitely-not-a-street-car look. However, unlike the dark paint, the oversized carbon fiber rear wing, bumper canards, and deflectors provide functional downforce for cornering in addition to an extreme image.

Unlike a track car, the vehicle’s interior remains unchanged from the “typical” ZL1 — the only difference is a lightened rear seat. Creature comforts remain, as the 1LE even has heated and ventilated front seats, dual climate control, a Bose premium audio system, and a performance data recorder that is normally optional on the standard car.

The ZL1 1LE also uses the same 650-horsepower supercharged LT4 engine, but it ditches the 10-speed automatic transmission for a six-speed manual. With Chevrolet’s active rev matching, it should make for some easy and satisfying pre-corner downshifts.

“The new Camaro ZL1 1LE offers the supreme track experience,” said Mark Dickens, executive director of Chevrolet Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports Engineering in a statement. “It’s the pinnacle of Camaro performance and advances the 1LE’s nearly 30-year legacy of uncompromising, track-tailored capability.”

Those claims aren’t baseless, either. General Motors gave the 1LE a Multimatic DSSV suspension setup with adjustable ride-height dampening, camber plates, and stiff race springs. The rear stabilizer can also be fettled with. Chevy claims all the hardware is designed for quick changes that allow for easy race setups and quick returns — meaning you can drive the car home on uneven pavement without violently compressing your spine.

Adding further grip is set of impressive tires, with a pair of 305 mm units up front and ludicrous 325 mm jobs in the rear. If customers are so inclined, they can make those tires Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only rubber, which GM says can hold 1.10g in a turn. During testing at the 2.9-mile Milford proving grounds the company claimed the 1LE shaved three seconds off the standard ZL1’s best time.

Considering that the “normal” version already trumps the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 in outright power and is much more poised than Dodge’s 707 hp Hellcat, the 1LE should further widen the on-track performance gap. The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE goes on sale this year but pricing is yet unannounced.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Xflowgolf Xflowgolf on Feb 28, 2017

    These new performance monsters right out of the factory turn key and drive it home are incredible. What an amazing time in the automobile landscape. I've always been more of a Mustang fan aesthetically, but this just looks mean! I love living in a world where things like the 1LE package get green lighted.

    • DearS DearS on Feb 28, 2017

      Agreed. I always bought imports, but now I am now a Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler (SRT) fan. Looking towards getting an affordable 2016 Camaro or Mustang in the coming years.

  • True_Blue True_Blue on Feb 28, 2017

    Those complaining about the splitters, wings, and planes know they're completely functional, right? "If it works and it looks stupid... it ain't stupid." For my money, I'd still choose a GT350R, forego the 2.whatever seconds per lap on the 'Ring for more cohesive looks and that divine exhaust note - but when a Camaro can and will eat performance versions of the Ultimate Driveway Machine for a light brunch, I'd say we're all winning.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.