2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE First Drive: Best Of The Breed
– Oliver, British Columbia, Canada
From the outside, the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is a caricature of what a performance car should be. As the hardcore track-day version of the not-at-all timid Camaro ZL1, the ZL1 1LE’s rear wing might as well double as an ironing board, and the hyper-aggressive dive planes in front would be right at home on a nuclear submarine.
Anyone driving something in the ZL1 1LE’s crosshairs, however, from the Shelby GT350R to Porsches with similarly protracted alphanumeric names, would be foolish to dismiss the Camaro as a superficial plaything for those with an extra $69,995 in their bank accounts. Everything new on this car, both what’s visible, and especially what isn’t, is there to turn it into a precision instrument on the race track.
Around a road course, the ZL1 1LE stands alone as the quickest pony car ever put into production, a claim to which its 7:16 lap time around the Nürburgring attests. Simply put, this is the best of the breed, and it’s not even close.
Goodyear spent three years developing two brand new tires solely for this car – one for the front, and another for the rear, each with a different fundamental behavior.
“ZL1,” of course, is the option code for an all-singing, all-dancing, 650-horsepower, 650-pound-feet supercharged V8, complete with all the trimmings – much like “SS” denotes a 455-hp V8, or “LT” signifies the four- or six-cylinder option. Adding the “1LE” designation to the end of the ZL1, SS, or the V6 LT b...