With the ZL1 1LE, Chevy is dialing the Camaro up to 11.
“ZL1” and “1LE” may seem like alphabet soup to the uninitiated, but they add up to what may be the ultimate Chevrolet Camaro.
The 1LE package adds track-ready features to V6 and V8 Camaros, but Chevy also decided to add it to the Camaro ZL1, itself a track-focused machine, and the highest-performance Camaro currently available. In other words, the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is like adding nitroglycerin to a pile of gunpowder.
The 1LE package adds more aggressive aerodynamic elements, adjustable suspension, and new wheels and tires to the ZL1, while cutting weight. The aero add-ons include a carbon fiber rear wing, and new air deflectors and dive planes. The 1LE rides on model-specific wheels that are an inch wider than the standard ZL1 wheels, and an inch smaller in diameter. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tires developed specifically for this car help it generate up to 1.10 g of lateral grip, according to Chevy.
The ZL1 1LE uses Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve shock absorbers front and rear. They’re similar in concept to the shocks used on the Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-road truck. Front-end ride height and the rear stabilizer bar are both adjustable. This requires physically adjusting the suspension pieces, but Chevy said they were designed for quick changes. The idea is for a driver to show up at a track and tweak the suspension, then switch it back to a tamer street setting for the drive home.
Chevy also claims the ZL1 1LE is approximately 60 pounds lighter than a non-1LE ZL1 coupe. That’s thanks to reduced-thickness rear glass, a fixed-back rear seat, and the suspension and wheel-and-tire packages. The wheels and tires alone shave 1.5 pounds per corner, according to Chevy. All of the changes allowed the 1LE to lap General Motors’ Milford Road Course test track in Michigan 3 second faster than a standard ZL1.
The ZL1 1LE uses the same Corvette Z06-derived 6.2-liter supercharged V8 as other ZL1 models, with 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The 1LE is only available with a six-speed manual transmission, but a 10-speed automatic is an option on the standard ZL1. Chevy plans to unleash the ZL1 1LE later this year, and will announce pricing closer to the launch date.