Skip to main content

2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE turns faster lap times with an automatic transmission

Well, this is is awkward.

Car enthusiasts prefer manual transmissions, and the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is the most enthusiast-oriented version of Chevy’s muscle car. But Chevy claims the ZL1 1LE will actually lap a racetrack faster with the new 10-speed automatic transmission available in late February.

The automatic-transmission ZL1 1LE is half a second faster than the six-speed manual version around General Motors’ 2.9-mile Milford Road Course, according to Chevy. Part of GM’s sprawling Michigan proving grounds, the course is where engineers test the handling of all GM performance cars. On a longer track, such as the 12.9-mile Nürburgring in Germany, the automatic will shave “several seconds” off a lap time, Chevy claims.

The transmission itself is the same one already introduced in the Camaro SS for the 2019 model year. The gearbox was co-developed by GM and Ford, and is also available in certain versions of the Camaro’s arch-rival, the Ford Mustang. Chevy claims the automatic transmission will shift faster than the six-speed manual also offered in the ZL1 1LE, hence the reduction in lap times. It also reduces the workload for drivers, an important consideration given the level of concentration required for the average person to lap a racetrack at high speeds.

The ZL1 1LE is the ultimate Camaro. It’s based on the ZL1, meaning it gets a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. On top of that, it gets the 1LE treatment, which is Chevy speak for a package of chassis upgrades designed to improve handling. Notable features include a massive rear wing and race car-like dive planes to increase downforce, Multimatic DSSV dampers, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires, and a 50-pound weight reduction compared to the standard ZL1.

For 2019, Chevy recalibrated the dampers, traction control system, and electronic limited-slip differential to account for the behavior of the automatic transmission. Chevy also added a transmission oil pan and an additional cooling duct for the steering gear to keep temperatures in check during track sessions.

The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE starts at $70,495, representing a $7,500 premium over the standard ZL1. The automatic transmission is a $1,595 option, and will be available in late February.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Amazon and Hyundai partner on online car sales, in-car services
A 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe in front of a giant Amazon box.

At the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show, Amazon and Hyundai announced a partnership that will bring Amazon Alexa Built-in apps to future Hyundai vehicles and will make Hyundai the first brand in Amazon's planned foray into online car sales.

Starting in 2025, "next-generation" Hyundai vehicles will offer the same Alexa experience users get at home, the automaker's announcement said. Drivers will be able to ask Alexa to play music podcasts or audiobooks, set reminders, update to-do lists, and check calendars, as well as control smart-home functions. The built-in Alexa functionality will also include real-time traffic and weather information, as well as voice control for navigation systems. "Certain" features will be available even when internet access is limited.

Read more
Volvo EM90 electric minivan: price, release date, range, and more
Volvo EM90 Driving

If you want an electric SUV, crossover, or sedan, you're spoiled for choices right now. Kia EV6? Rivian R1S? Volvo EX30? All great picks.

But what if you want ... a minivan?

Read more
Cadillac aims to balance its lineup with a small electric SUV
Exterior of the Cadillac Optiq compact electric SUV.

Cadillac will add an entry-level electric SUV to its lineup in 2024.

The Cadillac Optiq is a "luxury compact SUV" slotting below the Lyriq in the brand's EV hierarchy. Photos released with the brief announcement show styling features that tie the Optiq to the larger Lyriq, such as split taillights, but other details won't be released until closer to the Optiq's launch.

Read more