We’ve been given some indication of what the ZL1 is capable of, but when it’s out there driven in anger, it’s something to behold. While the linked footage above shows the Camaro driving well below its limit, when the taps are opened and a Viper with plenty of aerodynamic grip is setting the pace, we’re given the privilege of watching a ZL1 driven on the ragged edge; sliding both into and out of numerous corners at Mid-Ohio.
Both cars are clearly focused, but with all that aero grip, the Viper’s the likely victor here. Plus, the driver can really pedal it. In fact, both drivers are superb, but it’s the Dodge which clearly has the traction advantage and uses that to start spreading a gap.
It’s not only aero grip which benefits the Dodge. In slower corners, thanks in part by a slightly better line, the Viper’s driver can start rolling on the power significantly earlier than the man in the Camaro. In Turn Three alone, the Viper’s driver opens up a massive gap from mid-corner to exit; the Camaro won’t roll as much speed through the corner is left struggling with wheelspin at the exit when the Viper accelerates cleanly and without drama.
There’s surprisingly good performance from both cars in the braking zones, where the Camaro’s driver seems to close the gap ever so slightly. Of course, Motul 660 brake fluid and a track alignment helps the Camaro claw back on the stoppers, but crucially, it lacks the massive wings, canards, and diffuser that absolutely glues the Dodge to the asphalt. Those aero elements do help the Dodge stretch a gap, which grows with every straight thanks to a curb weight some 600 pounds lighter than the Camaro. These cars are in two different categories, but regardless, their performances demonstrate the leaps and bounds American manufacturers have made with their track-oriented machinery in the last ten years. Who says muscle cars can’t corner?