The Camaro is the most track-capable road car GM has ever sold, and is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 producing 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.
We’ve all heard about the bad old days at GM when no car was allowed to challenge the Corvette’s performance supremacy. Those days are long dead. Team Camaro has applied its 1LE handling philosophy to the monstrously powerful ZL1, and the resulting monster is the most track-capable road car GM has ever sold.
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Up front, the standard Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 still makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque because frankly it didn’t need to make more. Being an enthusiast’s car, a six-speed manual is the only transmission on offer. An electronically controlled differential rounds out the powertrain. Out at the corners, magnetic shocks are replaced with Multimatic spool-valve shocks, and like the rest of the suspension, they’re hard-mounted with metal bushings, not rubber. The ride height, front camber, and rear anti-roll bar are all manually adjustable. A bigger grille improves cooling, and dive planes on the front corners and a massive rear wing provide downforce across the car. Equally massive brakes do the stopping.
“This car needs five-point harnesses because the dampers are so unforgiving. It’s true this 1LE has incredible grip; however, the compression damping is way too harsh while the rebound damping is just right. I’m not sure where they tuned this, but it clearly did not have a lot of bumps and jumps. The steering is freakishly quick. It took me three corners to calm my hands down, so I didn’t steer into and across the apex. The power seems to be well matched for the chassis, for a change, unlike the Z06. Third gear seemed very tractable and had a wide bandwidth. This feels like what I imagine a ’60s-’70s Trans Am car would be like.” – Chris Walton
“I know Jonny loves this car, but I just can’t warm to it. Probably because I’ve lost all my fillings, and my kidneys are bruised. With the exception of the best roads, the ride in this Camaro is punishing. I’ve encountered smoother paint mixers. I had to remind myself that based on the numbers, this car is fantastic. Endless grip, fade-free brakes, abundant horsepower. But the thing is, I didn’t care. The bouncing was so bad that I found myself reacting to that instead of focusing on sheer act of driving. The Camaro might be brilliant on the track, but I wouldn’t want to drive this to get there.” – Derek Powell
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