Small changes make a big difference on new Camaro ZL1 1LE
Muscle cars have come a long way from humble roots, to the point where you can now buy a Mustang or Camaro purpose-built for scaring Porsche GT3 owners on the track. Although it doesn't go quite as far as the bonkers Z/28 from last generation, the Camaro ZL1 1LE takes an already impressive package and hones it for hardcore work on the track.
Based on the standard 650 hp (485 kW) Camaro ZL1, a raft of small changes add up to make the 1LE a much more focused beast. The aerodynamic package has been upgraded with a carbon fiber rear wing and some racy-looking dive planes on the front bumper, both of which combine to deliver more downforce and, as a result, more grip.
Also helping deliver more grip is a new wheel and tire combination. The new forged alloys are an inch smaller in diameter than the regular ones, but they are an inch wider to house Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires. According to Chevrolet, the fresh rubber warms up quickly and can manage a maximum lateral grip of 1.1 g on the track, although whether owners will have the talent to actually reach that point remains to be seen. On top of the extra contact patch, the new wheel and tire combo shaves a handy 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) off each corner.
The final (and perhaps most significant) change to the ZL1 is a set of Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers at all four corners. They debuted on the previous-generation Camaro Z/28, and have since made the jump to the Colorado ZR2 as well. Owners are able to tweak the front ride height, and the rear stabilizer bar can be adjusted through three settings for track work, and then swapped back to street trim without too much trouble.
The results of these small changes are significant, with Chevy claiming the 1LE is three seconds faster around the 2.9-mile (4.7-km) Milford Road Course. You can chalk that improvement down to the multitude of small changes mentioned above, along with a 60-lb (27-kg) weight saving.
Chevrolet hasn't released pricing data for the ZL1 1LE, but the car will make its debut later this year.