The magical lap time at Germany’s infamous Nurburgring race track is under 8 minutes. The Virginia International Raceway (VIR) is rapidly becoming America’s “Nurburgring” and the magical lap time for the 4.1 mile long road course is under 3 minutes. If you manage that you’ve got bragging rights.
Earlier this year Camaro engineer Aaron Link drove a 2012 Camaro ZL1 Coupe around VIR’s Grand Course in 2:52.4. That’s a comparable time to some really serious high performance cars such as a Corvette ZR1.
But brute force alone is not needed to make it around the challenging track. As if to prove this Link has now lapped the same course in a Camaro 1LE in 2:58.34.
Best of all the 1LE costs just $37,035 compared to $56,550 for the ZL1. That’s a lot of money saved for giving up six seconds.
Historians will remember that the Camaro 1LE package was first introduced in 1988 and was inspired by Camaro’s involvement in Pro-Am road racing.
For 2013, the 1LE package is offered only on 1SS and 2SS coupe models, which feature a 6.2L LS3 V-8 rated at 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The 1LE is only available with a six-speed Tremec TR6060-MM6 manual transmission paired with a numerically higher 3.91 final-drive ratio. The close-ratio transmission is geared for road-racing performance.
The 1LE also features monotube rear dampers instead of the twin-tube dampers on regular SS models. Chevrolet says the new hardware allowed engineers to tune the 1LE suspension to focus on optimal body-motion control while preserving much of the ride quality and wheel-motion control of the Camaro SS.
Other changes help optimize the 1LE for track-day use include larger 27-mm solid front stabilizer bar and 28-mm solid rear stabilizer bar. It has the same ZL1-based 20-inch wheels and 285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires. Externally, the 1LE package is distinguished by its matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler.
If under three minutes at a VIR track day is more your style than under 12 seconds at a drag day, it looks like the 426 bhp LE1 will give you more bang for the buck than a 580 bhp ZL1.
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