By on February 27, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

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. 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

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.

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

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.

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

[Image: General Motors]

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26 Comments on “The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Should Satisfy Z/28 Holdouts...”

  • avatar

    Remember when GM occasionally built powerful cars that weren’t track-focused?

  • avatar

    What on Google Earth are they going to do for the Z/28? Nascar engine + active aero?

    • 0 avatar

      If it appears this generation? Hard to guess what GM would do. The Corvette Z06 is supercharged and there doesn’t seem to be a naturally aspirated engine in the pipe for big power other than the rumored DOHC mill so it’s hard to say what a Z/28 would look like.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’d rather have a ’69 Z-28.

  • avatar

    Jeff Gordon drove a new ZL1 as the Daytona 500 pace car, and kept saying its top speed is 200 mph. Has Chevy actually posted that figure, or is the Rainbow Warrior exaggerating?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The ZL1 runs between $57-82k. This new 1LE trim will be even more. Worth it?

  • avatar

    Does it come with driving lessons? How soon before one is wrecked at the local Cars and Coffee?

    What would be really nice to know is if the warranty covers on-track use? I had a discussion with the owner of a high-end track-day weapon this weekend who expressed his displeasure regarding factory support on such vehicles. They might build it… but will they back it?

  • avatar

    Did they just copy an Audi front bumper bag? Mr Potato Z?

  • avatar

    There’s still a chance for a higher power N/A Z28. Right now you can get an SS LE1 for around 45k. That still leaves another 15k before you hit normal ZL1 territory.

    I imagine this ZL1 LE1 will be about 75k.

  • avatar

    In the most recent Motor Trend (for those of you who still like to read stuff printed on dead trees) the ZL1 hammered a bunch of bucks-up cars, including the lower McLaren and a new Porsche. All for $20 to $40K less than the cars mentioned.

    Really none of the Big 3’s muscle cars are slouches, but I think the ZL1 is king of the hill. Other than snob value, why spend your money on a Porsche when you can buy one of the Camaro Z’s?

  • avatar

    You could have a hell of a spec series with the SS 1LE and up…

  • avatar

    Lexus wants the rest of their grill back. Oh and it looks like some ricer had their wing stolen.

  • avatar

    The wing, the dive planes, carbon bonnet etc. is getting a bit much.

    I mean its screams ‘track focus’ but even at best they wouldnt be used that intensely… also I think a plain SS 1LE is more than enough… the supercharger is just laying it on.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

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