After the reveal of the 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE—which we just so happened to be at—we knew it was only a matter of time before it would make its way to the Nordschleife to see what it could do around the infamous “Green Hell.” Or should we maybe say, make its way back to the Nurburgring? After all, the car was clearly developed there and should give some exotic machinery a run for their money. And finally we have video of the car lapping the infamous circuit.
The video comes to us via State Side Supercar‘s YouTube channel. You might recognize the name as they’ve brought us video of the ZR1 in all it’s glory recently, too. But this time it’s the track-ready Camaro going all out on one of our favorite courses.
And while it might be easy to just think that the ZL1 1LE is just a better handling version of the “base” ZL1, that would be a vast over simplification. Though the drive train remains virtually unchanged between the two cars, almost everything about the brakes and suspension has been. Instead of using the fantastic Magnetic Ride Control suspension that comes with every ZL1, the 1LE instead chooses to opt for a set of Multimatic dampers. The trick shock absorbers where originally developed for Formula 1 and have since been trickling down into passenger cars ever since.
If they sound familiar, that’s because the were used on the fifth-gen Z/28 for one of the first times ever on a passenger car back in 2014. You may remember the Z/28 posted an astonishing 7:37.40-second lap time, besting cars such as the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Lexus LF-A. Needless to say, if the Multimatic shocks helped the Z/28 to such a healthy lap time, there’s no telling what they can do for the sixth-gen Camaro, who’s chassis just so happens to be lighter and stiffer than the outgoing model.
Lets not forget that the standard sixth-gen ZL1 has already laid down a lightening quick 7:29.6-second lap around the Nurbugring. Fast enough to beat the Mercedes SLS AMG GT, Porsche 911 GT2, and—perhaps most importantly—the Ford Shelby GT350R. At the time, it was good enough to rank the ZL1 as the 30th fastest lap around the Germany track for a production vehicle ever.
Currently, the sixth-gen ZL1 sits in 34th place on that list after several serious contenders moved up the list. It’s hard to believe that even a well-equipped vehicle, such as the 1LE, could lap the ‘Ring any faster but we’re positive it will. If it cuts as little as four seconds off its lap time, it could end up being faster than the Ferrari Enzo around the famed circuit, wouldn’t that be something?
It definitely has the goods to deliver. Aside from its new Formula 1-inspired suspension, the 1LE bring many other improvements to the table. The most noticeable of which are the exterior aero additions. According to Camaro head honcho, Al Oppenheiser, the rear wing on the back of the 1LE is good for 300 pounds of additional downforce—more than double what the standard ZL1 spoiler produces. It is also adjustable to tailor the car to any circuit. Canards at the front also add additional down force and prevent the car’s nose from raising down the back straights.
In additional to all of the downforce improvements, the brakes have been enlarged as well to handle more abuse. Six piston calipers bite on massive 390 mm front and 365 mm rear rotors; easily large enough to dissipate all of the energy built of from slowing the 3,800-pound car. And just for a little perspective, the fifth-gen Z/28 was stripped down to the point that it only had one speaker, so that the door chimes would still work. The 1LE, on the other hand, has Apple Car Play, heated and cooled seat, and more and still weighs almost the exact same as the Z/28.
We would have expected the brakes to be carbon ceramic but Oppenheiser tells us that the current setup was good enough that the exotic material binders weren’t necessary. We’ll have to take his word for it, but in the video it doesn’t look like a problem.
So, lets sum this all up: The ZL1 1LE has more power and an arguably better drive train than the fifth-gen Camaro Z/28, it has virtually the same suspension setup with bigger brakes, and they weigh virtually the same, but you can text people on Apple Play and literally cool your ass down while lapping the Green Hell in record time. Sounds like a win-win to us.
While we still don’t know what time the ZL1 1LE has laid down, you can bet your ass that Chevrolet will release the time, and video, of it all going down soon. We just can’t wait to see the look on all those exotic car owner’s faces when they find out that a Camaro is faster than their car through the twisties. It’s a great time to be a GM fan.