by Brendan R. Appel
As astonishing as the “regular” ZL1’s 7:29.60 Nürburgring time was when Chevrolet announced it late last year, the 2018 1LE variant of this fastest-ever Camaro simply puts it to shame, shaving 13.56 seconds off that time and lapping the ‘Ring’s 12.9-mile (20.8 km) Nordschleife (“north loop”) in a mere 7:16.04! What’s even more impressive? The regular ZL1’s time was achieved with the 10-speed automatic transmission; the 1LE only comes with a 6-speed manual. Here’s one case where the automatic is definitely not faster (save the manuals!).
While this clearly makes the ZL1 1LE the fastest Camaro to ever lap the famed German track, it also places the car in some rarified air:
Car Lap Time Original Base Price
2010 Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR 7:12.13 $108,785
2018 Porsche 911 GT3 7:12.70 $143,600
2012 Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package 7:14.64 $445,000
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE 7:16.04 $69,995
2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS 7:18.00 $90,450
2013 Nissan GT-R 7:19.10 $96,820
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 7:19.63 $111,600
2015 Ferrari 488 GTB 7:21.63 $249,150
2009 Dodge Viper ACR 7:22.1 $98,110
2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 7:22.68 $75,255
When viewed in this context, there is no doubt that the ZL1 1LE is the absolute best performance bang-for-the-buck that you can buy today. The 1LE adds a host of go-fast goodies including Multimatic DSSV® (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) front and rear dampers, special front dive planes and carbon-fiber rear wing, and exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tires. Of course, propelling all these aero and suspension systems is the Z06-derived 650-horsepower LT4 supercharged V-8 engine.
“With chassis adjust-ability unlike any vehicle in its peer group, the Camaro ZL1 1LE challenges supercars from around the world regardless of cost, configuration or propulsion system,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “To make up more than a second per mile on the Nordschleife compared to the ZL1 automatic is a dramatic improvement and speaks to the 1LE’s enhanced track features.”
The Nürburgring lap time was achieved with the ZL1 1LE test car’s suspension adjusted for optimal track performance and running the production Goodyear tires.
“The harder you push the Camaro ZL1 1LE, the more it rewards you on the track,” said Bill Wise, Camaro ride and handling engineer and the driver of the hot lap. “It offers total control, with the confidence that it will deliver lap after lap.”
The 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE (order code A1Z) carries an MSRP of $69,995, which includes a $995 destination charge (excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees extra). It goes on sale this summer.
© 2017 Sons of Speed LLC