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.

2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE: First Drive
2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE: First Drive
2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE: First Drive
2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE: First Drive

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...