News and information about the 5th Generation Camaro

Camaro ZL1 Handling

Camaro Has Great Showing in the Car and Driver Lightning Lap #7

Camaro 1LE and ZL1 Dominate their Competition at the 7th Annual Car and Driver Lightning Lap

For the full story, I’ll recommend right now that you go out and pick up this month’s edition of Car and Driver. Their annual Lightning Lap is one of the most fun and exciting things in the world of automotive journalism. Each year Car and Driver make their way to the renowned Virginia International Raceway (VIR) where they run the 4.1 mile Grand Course VIR configuration. It’s a great course and it results in some fantastic and telling results.

Speaking of those results, the ones posted by the Camaro ZL1 and 1LE at VIR are absolutely amazing. In fact, each one of these two vehicle handily beat its direct competitor, with the 1LE besting the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca by more than a second, and the ZL1 absolutely decimating the Ford Mustang GT500 by 3.1 seconds. In fact, the 1LE was only a second behind the GT500 itself. So, while the Mustangs may have the Camaros beat in HP, it’s clear that the Camaro is the vastly superior track car.

Here are some of this year’s other track times, with the best in each category posted at the top.

- Cop Cars
Dodge Charger Pursuit – 3.17.8
Chevy Caprice PPV – 3.23.0

Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R – 3.13.9
Subaru BRZ – 3.18.6
Ford Focus St – 3.21.4
Fiat 500 Abarth – 3.27.3

Chevy Camaro ZL1 – 2.57.5
Chevy Camaro SS 1LE – 3.01.5
BMW 335i sedan – 3.13.2

Merc C63 BlackSeries – 2.58.0
Porsche 911 S – 2.58.9
Ford Shelby GT500 – 3.00.6
Porsche Boxster S – 3.04.2
Audi RS5 – 3.04.3
BMW M6 – 3.04.7
BMW M5 – 3.05.2
Audi S6 – 3.09.8

Ferrari 458 – 2.49.9
Jaguar XKR-S – 3.02.1

Lexus LFA – 2.55.1

Lighting Lap small

Chris Harris of Drive compares the Mustang GT500 and Camaro ZL1

GT500 and Camaro ZL1 Video Comparison

Chris Harris of Drive is one of the finest and most well-respected automobile journalists on the internet today, and this latest review of his indicates exactly why that is. In this video Harris takes a very un-biased eye and turns it towards the two American muscle cars du jour: the Ford Mustang GT500 and the Camaro ZL1. He’s clearly not super versed on these cars–his numbers are off, even accounting for the transition from American HP ratings to European metric HP ratings–and doesn’t have a favorite going in, but he’s enthusiastic and excited about both of them the entire time.

In fact, it’s Harris’ enthusiasm that makes this review so great. He’s upbeat about both vehicles, enjoys driving each of them, and has a ton of fun throughout–fun evidenced by his sense of humor, his perma-grin behind the wheel of each vehicle, and the multiple times he gets pulled over by police officers while on the streets of NYC. This enthusiasm makes this my favorite review or comparison I’ve seen thus far also, because Harris spends his time lauding both vehicles for what they do greatl, and let’s be honest, even if we prefer one of them over the other (and we all know which one that is, right?) we are car lovers first and foremost and can recognize that each of these vehicles is absolutely outstanding and are leagues ahead of anything we dreamed possible in the automobile world just a few short decades ago.

In the end, Harris seems to prefer the GT500, but, he does also state that the Camaro ZL1 is 2 seconds faster around the track for him. He likes the Camaro’s interior more, calling it comparable to a BMW or Audi, and appreciates its every day driver feel, but also recognizes that the Mustang GT500 is a rawer and purer take on the American muscle car tradition–like few cars before it have ever been.

Regardless of how you feel about Harris’ decision, however, enjoy the video for what it is: one guy with a job we’d all love to have having a great deal of fun!

Camaro ZL1 vs Shelby GT500 Comparison

Edmunds InsideLine Takes the ZL1 and GT500 Out For Some Comparison Fun

Well, the Camaro ZL1 has been out for a while now and the reviews have been absolutely stunning, but, the book was far from closed on the car. It had to wait for its one true direct competitor to release, and that time is upon us. This year we’ll see both the Camaro ZL1 and the new Shelby Mustang GT500 on the streets, and the comparisons will be inevitable and very very interesting.

Seeing what the bowtie was up to, the boys at the blue oval took to directly engineering a vehicle to compete with it, but be incredibly different and unique in its own way also. What this results in are two very different, very capable, and very impressive cars.

When looking at just the basic numbers–and these are the things most casual car fans will look at, of course–it’s clear that the Shelby GT500 has a leg up, and InsideLine confirmed this. The Mustang dynos out to have 98 more horsepower to the wheels, over 100 more ft/pounds of torque, and it weighs 227 pounds less. These sorts of numbers will typically spell doom for a car in a comparison, and, in a straight line they certainly do. The Mustang GT500 goes from 0-60 in 4.0 seconds per their tests, a whole .4 seconds quicker than the Camaro ZL1 which reaches that mark in 4.4. And while it takes the Camaro ZL1 12.4 seconds to run the quarter mile at 116.1 mph, the Mustang GT500 accomplishes that same feat in 11.9 seconds at 123.5 mph.

So, at a drag strip, there’s a very clear winner between these two vehicles, and at the price point what the GT500 is doing is absolutely incredible. The car definitely deserves praise; however, InsideLine wanted to test the full capabilities of the vehicles, and once the two automobiles found some pavement with some twists, the car in the lead–so to say–definitely changed.

Thanks in large part to its incredibly complex MRC Magnetic Suspension system, the Camaro ZL1 was able to put down its power and keep its wheels in place and nose pointing forward with much greater ease around a turn. The brilliant, multi-stage suspension at work on the Camaro ZL1 also gives the Camaro a much greater road driving feel, especially when driven in comparison to the almost archaic solid rear transaxle of the GT500.

What this meant then was that when driving on any pavement not pointed dead ahead, the Camaro ZL1 was able to pull ahead with ease, and the driver’s feel of doing it was one of almost complete effortlessness. On the back road that InsideLine took the two vehicles to, they claimed that shortly after getting going, the ZL1 was already out of sight of the GT500. As they so eloquently put it, “The angriest Mustang in history, the car that had face-punched the ZL1 for months at auto shows and in Web forums was being systematically annihilated by that exact car. Every corner was another opportunity for the Camaro to drop trou and wave its giant bowtie-emblazoned butt in the GT500’s face.”

So, while the GT500 is clearly the car with the victorious power plant, it looks like as an all around vehicle the ZL1 wins this one–at least, according to InsideLine. Ultimately, it’s hard to say one of these cars is better than the other because, well, they’re both so damn brilliant. If I were building a car for the drag strip I’d much rather start with the GT500 as my base, and if I wanted a car I could haul-ass in through some windy mountain roads, I’d take the ZL1 every single day of the week (and again on Sunday!). I don’t want to bash either car, just want to report on how the comparisons look, and let you decide which one you like more. For me and for my money, I’d take the high-tech ZL1, but I’d never look down on a GT500 driver for the choice they made.

There’s Already a 10-Second ZL1

Lingenfelter Tunes a 2012 Camaro ZL1 to Reach the 10-Second Benchmark

Well, that was quick. Literally. Just two weeks after the first Camaro ZL1’s fell in to buyer’s hands the famed tuner and modification shop Lingenfelter, they have outfitted one with the modifications necessary to push it in to the glorious 10-second range. Like I said: Quick, on both accounts.

So, while we know how long it takes to outfit a brand new car with the goodies necessary to pass a quarter-mile in the 10 second range, exactly how long does that quarter mile take? Lingenfelter revealed a track slip with an official time of 10.79 seconds and a trap speed of 134.36 mph. Not too shabby.

10 Second Camaro ZL1

The 10 Second Lingenfelter Camaro ZL1 Burning a Little Rubber

How exactly did Lingenfelter take this ZL1 and send it in to true super car territory? Well, seeing as they began with a 556hp Supercharged ZL1, it didn’t exactly take too much work. The LPE-tuned ZL1 features a custom built Lingenfelter GT9 camshaft, Lingenfelter CNC ported cylinder heads, modified supercharger pulleys, and a custom air intake. Coupling this with high-octane race fuel and a Lingenfelter tune their ZL1 reached a power output of 720hp to the wheels.

Of course, the extra horsepower wasn’t all that this ZL1 used to reach the 10 second mark. The LPE Modified ZL1 was also outfitted with Nitto NT05R drag tires which certainly helped it with its track time. Regardless though, it beat the 11-second mark pretty handily, and may have been able to do so even on more road-appropriate tires.

Lingenfelter ZL1

Official Drag Slip confirms a 10.79 second time for the Lingenfelter LPE ZL1

“Our team set a goal to be the first 2012 ZL1 in the 10s, and we are very proud to achieve that goal thanks to our diligent LPE engineers and their intimate knowledge of LS engines,” said Ken Lingenfelter, owner, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. Well, Ken, you’ve done just that and done so with great aplomb.

Can you remember a car being modified this heavily by a big-dog tuner shop so quickly? I’m extremely excited to see the potential of the ZL1 as it becomes tapped by Lingenfelter and other tuner shops in the months to come.

LPE Camaro ZL1

Camaro ZL1 Owners Manual

PDF Camaro ZL1 Owner’s Manual

AN Electronic PDF Copy of the Camaro ZL1 Owner Manual

So you’ve been waiting with bated breath the release of the Camaro ZL1. You’ve ordered one for yourself, or maybe you haven’t and you’ve just been an ardent fan and dreamer like myself, and in the meanwhile have pored over every article and bit of news on the car you can get your hands on. You know everything about the ZL1 there is to know–or so you think. Now you can become a true ZL1 expert. Here’s a copy of the .pdf version of the ZL1 Owner’s Manual (released this week) where you can look up the GM Designated specifics of various systems, compare aspects of the vehicle to your current RS or SS model, or just prepare yourself for the delivery of yours.

2012 Camaro ZL1 Owners Manual

Ignition Tests out the Camaro ZL1 at Inde Motorsports – Video

Camaro ZL1 at Inde Motorsports

Ignition took their turn with the Camaro ZL1 and got Randy Pobst to drive one around the Inde Motorsports Ranch

Ignition, MotorTrend’s new YouTube TV Show decided to take out the Camaro ZL1 for its second episode. It’s a fun video, and it highlights some of the performance aspects of the ZL1. In the video they confirm a 3.8 second 0-60 time, as well as a 12.1 second 1/4 mile time with allusions to the vehicle being able to go sub-12 with proper tires and no other modifications. They also tested the claim by Chevrolet that the ZL1 would pull a full lateral G, and while the computer inside the vehicle apparently read over 1 their own independent test confirmed that it went right up to a full 1.0 G on the skidpad. All of these numbers are, when combined with the ZL1’s 7:41 second Nurburgring time, truly supercar territory at a sub-supercar price and combine to make the new ZL1 the world’s most impressive muscle car. I won’t talk too much or take up too much of your time here, honestly, because the video’s a great one. Pay special attention to Pobst, a truly great driver, talking about the brilliance of the vehicle.

Camaro ZL1 Reviews Are Coming Out, and They’re Great!

Camaro ZL1 Reviews

Major automotive publications begin rolling out their Camaro ZL1 Reviews, and they’re very very good!

So, by today most of the major automotive publications have had a chance to get behind the wheel of the Camaro ZL1, and over the last week we’ve seen some great reviews from them hitting the web. There’s a lot of them, and I haven’t had a chance yet to get behind the wheel of one, so I’ll just give you some of my favorite snippets from them and include the links to the original reviews(as well as a few parenthetical remarks from yours truly). Before we get in to them, let me just say, these are incredibly exciting. The ZL1 looks to be such an amazing and exciting vehicle.

From where they decided to compare the ZL1 to the Grand Sport Corvette for the basis of their review:

“During development, one ZL1 endured 600 clutch-dumping launches as part of the most demanding driveline durability testing program in the history of General Motors.” (Sounds like a monster of a driveline in this new Camaro!)

“Third-generation Magnetic Ride dampers charge and discharge faster than earlier examples, allowing for more precise control of damping rates. Their flexibility and bandwidth also allow the ZL1 to use the same springs as the Camaro SS. Sport and tour buttons just ahead of the shifter adjust the dampers accordingly, and a third mode — track — is available when Performance Traction Management is active. Unlike most cars, in which sport mode alters throttle calibration for quicker acceleration with less pedal travel, the ZL1 makes the throttle-pedal mapping less aggressive to allow for finer modulation.

“Rather than focus on reducing drag to, say, hit 200 mph, the ZL1 team aimed to maximize high-speed stability with downforce. The hood extractor, front splitter, and rear spoiler create enough downforce to eliminate lift as the ZL1 nears its top speed of 184 mph.”

On a 2.75-mile road course at Inde Motorsports Ranch, twenty-one turns make the case for the ZL1. We expected the intoxicating effect of more power and assumed there would be significantly improved body control, but we were skeptical that the ZL1 would revolutionize the way the Camaro handles. In fact, it does.

“The fast, balanced steering of the ZL1 is much more confidence-inspiring than the Camaro SS’s hydraulic power steering. The effort, the damping, and the return are tuned for a perfectly natural weight, but the electric rack does filter out most of the front-end feel. That’s even more true when compared with the Corvette, which boasts an equally quick rack with a robust hydraulic assist. While both cars deliver satisfying shifts, the Camaro’s shorter, snappier throws are more inviting than the Corvette’s longer shifts.”


“Packaging in the Camaro allows better intake and exhaust flow, with a 30 percent reduction in flow restriction compared with the CTS-V.”

“Its shifter was developed by Chevrolet, using slightly longer throws than the Hurst package in the Camaro SS, and was optimized for a road course rather than drag racing.”

“The ultimate Camaro also offers something you can’t get in a Mustang GT500 or Boss 302: an automatic transmission… There’s another technology in the ZL1 that you can’t get in a Mustang, and it’s significant. GM’s Magnetic Ride Suspension (MRS), now applied in supercars such as the Audi R8 and the Ferrari FF, has been upgraded for the ZL1. The Gen III MRS gets a faster processor and four smaller magnets in each shock, rather than two larger ones. The objective is quicker reaction time.”

The ZL1 comes standard with track stuff you don’t get on a GT500, including a transmission cooler, differential cooler and brake-cooling ducts, and its aerodynamics have been optimized for high speed.

“Chevy says development included a 24-hour, high-speed flog at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich., with a 150-mph-plus top speed each lap and an average of 88 mph, stopping only to change tires and brakes.

Here’s Car and Driver’s review. It’s my favorite one of the bunch:

“It features GM’s second-most-powerful engine: With 580 horsepower, it’s behind only  the truly absurd, 638-hp Corvette ZR1. No surprise that during its development it was known simply as the “HP.” And it carries the most sophisticated adjustable dampers and stability-control system any amount of money can buy. For this, GM asks a base price of $56,295, which includes a $1300 gas-guzzler tax; all the go-fast parts are standard issue.”

The ZL1 is not your old-school, all-ate-up-with-motor muscle car, although its name derives from such a vehicle. It is built with the GM Performance Division mantra of  “go, stop, and turn” in mind. Track ability was always part of the HP program from back when everyone assumed the car would be called the Z28.”

“Get everything right, and the ZL1 hits 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and passes 1320 feet in 12.3 seconds at 119 mph—or better, as the cold and dusty track at Inde was less than ideal for acceleration runs. Few cars costing less than $60,000 can claim such feats. And the ZL1 sounds angry, with a throaty bass-boat rumble backed by a faint supercharger whine. The V-8 fires up with a roar, and the exhaust crackles when you back out of  full throttle.”

“Starker is the transformation of the ZL1’s handling characteristics from those of a stock SS. In the latter, the driver is always fighting the car—it understeers on turn-in and oversteers on corner exit, all served up with a healthy dollop of body roll. The ZL1 does exactly what you want all the time, with no surprises. Front grip is tenacious enough that you actually get a sense of the tires biting in as you turn the wheel. Power comes in so creamily and with such linearity that it’s easy to forget you’re driving a 580-hp car. The brake pedal feels solid but still offers enough travel for smooth application, and it shows no fade. The ZL1 goes around the track with a composure that would shock many BMW M3 fans.” (Comparisons to an M3 are huge praise from C/D who are famous for their love of the BMW M-Series vehicles)

“We saw 0.98 g on a dusty skidpad (did we mention Tucson is in the desert?). This is supercar territory.

Each body alteration either improves cooling or reduces lift. Or, in the case of the bulging center section of the hood, which is made of carbon fiber (and covered in clear-coat paint for an additional $600), both.”

“Should you wish to save some fuel, or suffer a fit of social responsibility, you can comfortably drive the ZL1 gently, but that seems contradictory to the car’s whole mission. Isn’t 580 horsepower supposed to be—and feel—ludicrous?

“What’s crazy is that the ZL1 is not crazy; it’s comfortable and easy to drive. With the ZL1, General Motors has made the Camaro into a true GT car—daily driver, long-range missile, and track-day special all in one. “

For the purposes of their review, MotorTrend ran the Camaro up against the fastest production Mustang available right now, the Boss 302:

“For 2012, Chevy aims to redefine the ponycar completely in one electronically optimized fell swoop. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 takes the once-simple formula for all-American performance and reworks it into a recipe for a modern cyborg warhorse. Literally leaning on suspension technology originally developed for Cadillacs and Corvettes, the Camaro achieves better-than-Boss levels of handling with the highway ride quality of a CTS-V.”

“With professional racer Randy Pobst behind the wheel, the ZL1 laps the 2.2-mile Inde Motorsports Ranch circuit 2.45 seconds faster than the Boss. That’s huge.

The Camaro felt far more composed on the track than the Mustang. “I can put this thing right where I want it!” barked Randy as he slid the car around with one hand. Although heavier than the Mustang, the ZL1 still changes direction easily and is capable of pulling higher g-forces mid-corner. The constantly variable damping rates make the Camaro feel as though its tires sink into the track. Bumps that shook the Boss simply disappeared and never upset the ZL1. More important, more of the track became usable since curbing wouldn’t throw the Camaro into a tailspin.”

“The Camaro clearly came out on top of this fight. Although the Boss 302 is probably the best Mustang ever built, it just feels and performs like it’s a generation behind. Randy summed it up: “The Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca was my favorite American musclecar — until today.” It isn’t the lack of power; it isn’t the lack of amenities. It’s simply a lack of technology.

Popular Mechanics did what they do best in their review (which is to say offer solid information in an annoying slideshow format whose embedding stopped functioning for me on slide 4 of 7 and required reloading and starting over at slide 1. We should be past this slideshow format in web journalism, guys!):

“The ZL1’s headline-grabbing figure is 580 hp, which, admittedly, is an addictive amount of giddyup to have under your right foot. But focusing solely on the power overlooks the fact the ZL1 is probably the first Camaro in history that turns better than it sprints.”

“Depending on the driver’s skill, PTM can make the ludicrously quick ZL1 feel somewhat safe when pushing the car to its limits.” (Never underestimate how important driver confidence is to performance and lap times.)

“Approaching a gentle but very fast right-hand kink at Arizona’s Inde Motorsports Ranch, we cut the corner just a touch too tightly, dropping the right-side wheels into a hole next to the track surface. Running at 100 mph, that’s the sort of mistake that can turn ugly in an instant. The ZL1, however, bounced out of the hole, immediately regained composure, and carried on as if we’d driven perfectly. That’s the kind of forgiving nature that’s rare in a car as fast as the ZL1. “

We’d be just as happy to pilot the ZL1 on a mountain road or road course as we would on a drag strip.

“Many onlookers will focus on this horsepower war, but that misses the point of the ZL1. While we’ve always appreciated the style and, of course, the power of previous Camaros, the ZL1 is the first one that we actually want to drive. And for all it delivers, the asking price is a bargain.”

Jalopnik’s review begin feeling almost bitter and grumpy, but it quickly got very positive in favor of the Camaro ZL1:

“The ZL1 itself gives me my first scare a couple of laps in as I come around the 180-degree turn that empties onto the straight. I’ve decided the tires—and my abilities—are as warmed up as they’re going to get. Gunning it on the straight to catch up to the Bondurant race instructor playing leader in a Camaro SS, the ZL1’s tremendous torque pitches the back end of the car back and forth over the width of the drag racing road surface. The sensors that send information to the PTM system are doing a full reading roughly about every inch, so within a quarter-of-a-second the relatively timid Mode 2 has set the ZL1’s fishtail back on a straight line and I’m at 100 MPH with no tail flash in sight.
I’d modulated the throttle when the back end started getting squirmy because that’s what one does when getting a lot of unwanted wheel slip. But according to the Camaro’s engineers, I didn’t have to. In fact, had I kept the throttle smashed to the floor, the car would have still done what was necessary to keep the ZL1 from spinning out into a wall.

You’d have to really hate cars not to enjoy throwing a ZL1 around a track.

That is the ZL1 in a nutshell: an incredible, frighting behemoth of a car, entirely too powerful for its own good, but reined in by clever engineer-wranglers who have worked very hard to allow even terrible drivers to keep themselves safe.

“You can’t ever grade over the rough disappointments of youth, but you can leave them behind. And with cars as mad and indignant as the Camaro ZL1, you can sure as hell make an adulthood worth remembering.

The reviewer for MotorAuthority absolutely loved the Camaro ZL1 and gave it my favorite comparison of all the reviews–a 2012 Porsche 911:

“I realized, while mentally re-visualizing the last set of laps, that from turn-in to apex, under fast entry speeds with a fair amount of trail brake, the ZL1 felt, acted, and moved almost exactly like the 2012 911 did under similar circumstances.”

“Wait for the lights, step off the clutch, and WHAM! it’s off, scrabbling and chirping down the 60-foot, making the most of the tsunami of torque-producing atmosphere being crammed down the gullet of the V-8 engine by the supercharger.”

“It’s not that the ZL1 isn’t really, really good on a road course. Its 7:41 Nurburgring time says it is, as does my own first-hand experience. It’s even outfitted from the factory with transmission and differential coolers–bits the ZL1’s main rival, the Ford Shelby GT500, makes optional add-ons.”

The ZL1 is a true driver’s car, and regardless of its ultimate pace in comparison with sports cars or supercars in its price, power, or performance categories, it delivers an experience that, at times, is on par with the very best of them.”

So, there you have it. Six of the world’s biggest automotive publications have great great things to say about the Camaro ZL1. Anyone else as excited as I am to get behind the wheel of one and see for themselves?

Camaro ZL1 Runs the Nurburgring in 7:41.27

Expectations for the Camaro ZL1 are huge. I mean, when you have a 580HP LSR powered, MRC Suspension blessed, monster of a Camaro coming in at a sub $50k price tag it’s difficult to keep them tempered. Well, fear not: there’s no reason to temper them.

Last week, Mark Reuss, the president for GM North America, confirmed that the Camaro ZL1 lapped the Nurburgring in 7:41.27. 7:41.27! That’s super-car level good. In fact, that time is better than a lot of official times by super-car level vehicles, such as: 2006 Porsche 911 GT3 (7:42.00), 2009 Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce (7:42.00), 2009 Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI (7:44.00), 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera (7:46.00), 2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (7:47.00), 2009 Ferrari California GT (7:56.00), and many many others. That’s very good company for a sub $50k American sports car. Very very good.

Now, that great time isn’t all. No, what makes this already impressive feat even cooler is the excitement with which Reuss delivered it.
From MotorAuthority’s article on the Nurburgring time announcement:

Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America flew from sunny and warm Detroit to rainy and chilly Los Angeles to address media members on Wednesday. Once he arrived, the climate change was evident in the room close to Los Angeles International Airport; this man’s enthusiasm for automobiles, motorsports and General Motors is evident by his demeanor and excitement for the future.

The first item Reuss addressed was the vehicle on display outside the hotel where the meeting was held – Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1. The street and circuit-worthy Camaro wasn’t terribly pretty but it looked, at first glance, that it was worthy of great performance.

Reuss stated as much – from personal experience – as he was one of the drivers to conduct performance validation on this machine on the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit of 14.173 miles in Germany, where the LSR-powered V8 muscle car turned an incredible 7 minutes, 41.27 seconds in a single lap, he said. Can anyone remember a GM president that was enough of an enthusiast to take part in a session of this type? Didn’t think so.

The ZL1 was “forgiving and neutral,” Reuss, a Grand-Am-licensed competitor said. “I was able to drive deeper than I ever have.” He especially enjoyed passing the Porsche GT3’s that were lapping concurrently, before the car was boxed and returned from Germany to the GM proving grounds and then brought to Los Angeles for this morning appearance. The street car will have its debut during the mid-November Los Angeles International Auto Show.

It’s great, ultimately, to see that the man in charge of the Camaro ZL1’s production is such a fan of the vehicle himself. That sort of joy and excitement is rare in the world of automotive executives and provides even more reason to be excited about the release of the Camaro ZL1. At sub $50k, this car will be, without doubt, among the greatest performance bargains in the automotive world, and for that reason, and all the others we’ve talked about before concerning this ZL1, it’s very difficult to temper my expectations and excitement concerning this exciting new vehicle.

For reference, here’s a list of vehicles and their Nurburgring times. The ZL1’s place cements it squarely in the realm of super-car:

Pos Make / Model Time Speed (km/h) Year Power (hp) / Weight (kg) Driven by
1. Radical SR8LM 6:48.00 182 0 455 / 650 Radical
2. Radical SR8 6:55.00 179 ’05 363 / 650 Radical
3. Gumpert Apollo Speed 7:11.57 172 ’09 700 / 1200 Gumpert
4. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR 7:12.13 172 ’08 600 / 1536 Dominik Farnbacher
5. Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package 7:14.64 171 ’12 570 / 1509 Lexus
6. Donkervoort D8 RS 7:14.89 171 ’05 350 / 600 Michael Duechting
7. Porsche 911 GT2 RS 7:18.00 169 ’10 620 / 1370 Porsche
8. Radical SR3 Turbo 7:19.00 169 ’03 320 / 500 Phil Bennett
9. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 7:19.63 169 ’08 647 / 1530 General Motors
10. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR 7:22.10 168 ’08 600 / 1536 Motor Trend
11. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Z07 Package 7:22.68 168 ’11 512 / 1394 General Motors
12. Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package 7:22.85 167 ’12 570 / 1509 Lexus
13. Gumpert Apollo Sport 7:24.00 167 ’07 700 / 1200 Sport Auto
14. Nissan GT-R 7:24.22 167 ’11 530 / 1736 Nissan
15. Maserati MC12 7:24.29 167 ’04 632 / 1335 Marc Basseng
16. Pagani Zonda F Clubsport 7:24.65 167 ’05 650 / 1230 Marc Basseng
17. Ferrari Enzo 7:25.21 167 ’02 660 / 1365 Marc Basseng
18. Nissan GT-R 7:26.70 166 ’08 479 / 1740 Toshio Suzuki
19. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 7:27.00 166 ’11 500 / 1360 Porsche
20. Ferrari 458 Italia 7:28.00 166 ’09 570 / 1485 Scuderia Autoropa
21. Porsche Carrera GT 7:28.71 165 ’03 612 / 1380 Marc Basseng
22. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 7:30.00 165 ’11 500 / 1360 Sport Auto
23. Porsche 911 GT2 7:31.00 164 ’07 530 / 1440 Auto Motor und Sport
24. Porsche 911 Turbo S 7:32.00 164 ’10 530 / 1585 Porsche
25. Pagani Zonda F 7:33.00 164 ’05 602 / 1371 Sport Auto
26. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 7:33.00 164 ’10 450 / 1400 Sport Auto
27. Koenigsegg CCX 7:33.55 164 ’06 806 / 1456 Marc Basseng
28. Koenigsegg CCR 7:34.00 163 ’04 806 / 1418 Sport Auto
29. Audi R8 GT 7:34.00 163 ’10 560 / 1520 Sport Auto
30. Nissan GT-R Spec-V 7:34.46 163 ’09 492 / 1680 Best Motoring
31. RUF RT12 7:35.00 163 ’05 650 / 1573 Sport Auto
32. Porsche 911 Turbo 7:38.00 162 ’06 480 / 1585 Porsche
33. Lexus LF-A 7:38.00 162 ’10 560 / 1609 Sport Auto
34. Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera 7:38.00 162 ’10 570 / 1430 Sport Auto
35. Ferrari 430 Scuderia 7:39.00 162 ’07 510 / 1402 Sport Auto
36. Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 7:40.00 161 ’06 640 / 1805 Auto Bild Sportscars
37. McLaren Mercedes SLR 7:40.00 161 ’03 626 / 1693 Auto Bild
38. Porsche 911 GT3 7:40.00 161 ’09 435 / 1376 Walter Rohrl
39. Porsche 911 Carrera S 7:40.00 161 ’11 400 / 1415 Porsche
2012 Camaro ZL1 7:41.27
40. Porsche 911 GT3 7:42.00 161 ’06 415 / 1395 Walter Rohrl
41. Radical SR3 7:42.00 161 ’02 205 / 495
42. Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce 7:42.00 161 ’09 670 / 1664 Sport Auto
43. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 7:42.90 160 ’05 513 / 1437 Jan Magnussen
44. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 7:43.00 160 ’03 381 / 1360 Motor
45. Pagani Zonda C12 S 7:44.00 160 ’02 555 / 1250 Sport Auto
46. Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI 7:44.00 160 ’09 525 / 1620 Sport Auto
47. Mercedes CLK 63 Black Series 7:45.00 159 ’07 507 / 1745 Berndt Schneider
48. Gardner Douglas GD T70 Spyder 7:45.00 159 ’10 710 / 900 Dario Margutti
49. Porsche 911 GT2 7:46.00 159 ’00 460 / 1430 Sport Auto
50. Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 7:46.00 159 ’07 530 / 1520 Auto
51. Jaguar XJ220 7:46.37 159 ’92 549 / 1470 John Nielsen
52. Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano 7:47.00 159 ’06 620 / 1748 Sport Auto
53. Wiesmann GT MF5 7:47.00 159 ’08 507 / 1380 Sport Auto
54. Porsche 911 Turbo 7:47.00 159 ’09 500 / 1570 Sport Auto
55. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 7:48.00 158 ’06 415 / 1375 Sport Auto
56. BMW M3 GTS 7:48.00 158 ’10 450 / 1543 Sport Auto
57. Lamborghini Murcielago 7:50.00 158 ’02 580 / 1800 Sport Auto
58. BMW M3 CSL 7:50.00 158 ’03 360 / 1385 Sport Auto
59. Porsche 911 Carrera S 7:50.00 158 ’08 385 / 1425
60. Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series 7:51.00 157 ’09 670 / 1870 Sport Auto
61. Lamborghini Gallardo 7:52.00 157 ’03 500 / 1613 Sport Auto
62. Ford GT 7:52.00 157 ’04 550 / 1538 Sport Auto
63. Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 7:52.00 157 ’08 560 / 1530 Sport Auto
64. Mercedes CLK DTM 7:54.00 156 ’04 582 / 1678 Sport Auto
65. Porsche 911 GT3 7:54.00 156 ’03 380 / 1380 Sport Auto
66. Ferrari F430 7:55.00 156 ’05 489 / 1450 Sport Auto
67. Caterham R500 1.8L K Series 7:55.00 156 ’99 233 / 450 EVO
68. BMW M5 7:55.00 156 ’11 560 / 1870 BMW
69. Porsche 911 Turbo 7:56.00 156 ’00 420 / 1540 Sport Auto
70. Ferrari 360 CS 7:56.00 156 ’03 425 / 1280 Sport Auto
71. Ferrari California GT 7:56.00 156 ’09 460 / 1787
72. Porsche Panamera Sport Chrono Turbo 7:56.00 156 ’09 500 / 1974 Auto Bild
73. Porsche Panamera Turbo 7:56.00 156 ’09 500 / 1870 Walter Rohrl
74. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 7:56.00 156 ’02 411 / 1414 General Motors
75. Porsche 911 GT3 7:56.33 156 ’99 360 / 1350 Walter Rohrl

A week of ZL1 Firsts – First ZL1 sells for $250K and Chevy releases First ZL1 Commercials

So, the release of the Camaro ZL1 to the public is nearing, and, excitement is really starting to build. To couple with this timing, Chevrolet made a few well-calculated moves this past week. The first of them was the auctioning off of the very first ZL1 to be sold. The second bit of news pertains to the release of the first set of commercials highlighting the power and potential of the ZL1 from Chevrolet. Both are exciting and fun.


First 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 goes for $250,000 at auction

The September 24th Barrett-Jackson Automotive Auction in Las Vegas, Nevada, saw the inclusion of one very special vehicle from Chevrolet. On that September Saturday the very first Camaro ZL1 of the new generation was sold, and it commanded a very serious quarter-of-a-million dollar price tag.

Purchased by renowned Chevrolet enthusiast, and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick the proceeds from the first ZL1 auction went directly to benefiting the Southern Nevada YMCA. This Camaro ZL1, in addition to being a ZL1 and the first sold, is a very special vehicle. This iteration of the 580HP GM Monster will be the only one produced in the 2012 model year in the gorgeous GM Carbon Flash Metallic paint finish. In addition to this beautiful and unique paint tone–just one other thing to set the ZL1 apart from all other vehicles on the road–this ZL1 will also bear the honor of being the official Camaro ZL1 number 69.

Possibly the only VIN Number more coveted than number 1 for this vehicle, the number 69 is meant to pay homage to the original 1969 Camaro. That vehicle, when first produced, made waves across the globe for its incredible all-aluminum reworking of the Corvette Big Block, and was produced in a very limited run of just 69 vehicles. In this way, this new ZL1 will not only replace the original ’69 as the fastest production Camaro ever, but it will also honor the ZL1 that came before in both year and production numbers. In this instance, Rick Hendrick is actually purchasing a more viable collector’s vehicle than even the coveted badge number 1. So, congratulations to Mr. Hendrick on his newest purchase, and thanks to Chevrolet for seeing that the sale of its very first Camaro went to benefiting a good cause.

First Camaro ZL1 sold at auction



Chevrolet Releases First Camaro ZL1 Commercials

Amazingly enough, one press attaining action wasn’t enough for the men and women at Chevrolet this week. In addition to the ZL1 at Barrett-Jackson, Chevrolet also used this week as the ideal time to release their first official ZL1 commercials. These two 30-second spots are both well-made, and constructed to highlight the capabilities of the ZL1 in two very different applications.

The first ZL1 commercial focuses on the drag-racing power and potential of the ZL1, even as it’s taken right off of the lot. The piece focuses on the Drag-Mode suspension option and shows a few clips of a test ZL1 burning some rubber on a drag racing track. The car, even in its camo-wrapped form, is still a beautiful and inspiring piece of American machinery certain to strike fear in the hearts of all other pony cars that try to go up against it.

Of course, in this world of YouTube videos and social media, Chevrolet also realizes that the drag race isn’t the king of all American motorsport events anymore. Certainly focusing on the increased love of track and road race numbers and footage, Chevrolet’s second commercial focuses on the suspension of the ZL1. This entirely unique ZL1 suspension package, highlighted by Chevrolet’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension, is the focus of their second commercial and is certainly aimed at hinting towards the potential of the ZL1 around break-neck turns. Of course, with the Eaton Supercharged 580HP LSA engine, drag racing was never a question with the Camaro, and that’s why I think this marketing angle is infinitely more important for the continued success of the Camaro brand.

The commercial is a short one, but a good one, and it really gets me drooling in anticipation over the first few waves of Camaro ZL1 race videos that will certainly start hitting the internet following the vehicle’s release next year. I love the video’s primary tagline of “It’s all very technical until you bury your right foot”, as that is exactly what I want out of a true sports car.

So, in short, this was an exciting news week for Camaro fans. What do you think? Is the 69th Camaro ZL1 worth the exorbitant price tag? Which Camaro commercial do you most prefer? How excited are you to really see one of these bad boys in action?

Camaro ZL1 Preview Video – Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser Talks About the New ZL1 Camaro

There’s not a whole lot more that we can say about the Camaro ZL1 that isn’t already public knowledge. The ZL1 is going to be a certifiable monster on both the road and track thanks to its LSA powerplant, aerodynamic exterior upgrades, improved exhaust, intake, and Brembo brakes. Of course, even when you already know all of this about the ZL1, it’s nice to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, and that’s exactly what this video does. Al Oppenheiser, the chief engineer for the Chevrolet Camaro line, proudly displays a new ZL1 Camaro in all of its glory at a GM Oshawa Plant Homecoming Event. The ZL1 in the video is absolutely gorgeous, too. Done up in red with black stripes and a carbon fiber active hood “mohawk”–as Al calls it–the new ZL1 Camaro is definitely an eye-opener. The new aggressive body pieces, including improved front splitter, side rockers, and rear spoiler, really give the new Camaro a more aggressive look when coupled with the 19×20 offset wheel stance. Other visual touches showcased in the video, such as vertically stacked fog lights, new rear diffuser, and huge gaping air intake scoop work really well together to make this one of the best looking Camaros you’ll see anywhere. Al’s definitely a proud father, and it’s worth watching the video just to see the aspects of the vehicle in question as he goes over each one, so enjoy!

P.S. – It’s definitely worth the wait on buffering to watch this car in full 1080p video glory.

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