There’s no question that in 2019, attention on Motown muscle has primarily fallen to the Mustang Shelby GT500. That’s not to say Dodge hasn’t stepped in with new special-edition Challenger models, not to mention the 797-horsepower (594-kilowatt) Redeye. Lost in this 700-plus horsepower war is the 2019 Camaro ZL1 1LE, which also made news this year for gaining a 10-speed automatic transmission option. That’s not quite as glamorous has chucking out massive horsepower, but this track-focused Camaro still brings 650 hp (485-kW) to the party.
The Best Performance Machine From Detroit?
In regular guise, the ZL1 can nip at the 200-mph barrier but the extra aero slows the 1LE to a listed top speed of just 190 mph when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. That’s exactly what we have in this brand-new video from Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida. If it looks familiar, that’s because we saw this same car do a half-mile acceleration run in early August, where it managed an impressive 142 mph. This time around, however, the big ‘Maro is using every bit of the massive 2.7-mile runway for a flat-out speed run.
According to the video, the full-course assault took place on the same day as the half-mile run. Weather conditions were warm with afternoon humidity a surprisingly low 62 percent – not bad for the Florida coastline. Ordinarily we’d wax poetic about the brilliant V8 sound emanating from the Camaro’s supercharged LT4 engine, but this time around the in-car camera only registers road and wind noise. The telemetry seems a bit off as well, as the speedometer makes odd pauses and jumps throughout the run.
However, it’s the end result that we’re interested in, and that’s where the Camaro seems to disappoint just a bit. Odd speedo jumps aside, the ZL1 makes steady progress until 167 mph, at which point the needle ticks upwards very slowly until settling at 178, which is what we see as it crosses the line.
End Of The Line For Camaro?
That’s a far cry from 190, but it's not like 178 is slow. And lest we forget, the aero package on the 1LE lets it lap the Nürburgring in seven minutes, 16 seconds. All in all, chopping a few mph off the top end for serious bite in the corners seems like a fair trade-off to use.
2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE 2.7 Mile Test
The Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds (JBPG) runway, located in Merritt Island FL. is not only the widest and flattest runway in the world but also close to the longest. For over 10 years, Johnny Bohmer has been performing Straight Line Aerodynamic Testing for many manufacturers and thousands of vehicles here. The all concrete runway is 3 miles long with an additional 1000 ft. asphalt runoff on each end. The runway is also 100 yds. wide with an additional 50ft wide traffic lane on each side and has an elevation variance of only 1⁄4 in. from north to south over the 3 miles making this one of the flattest, large surface concrete platforms in the world. You hardly notice the 24 in. crown in the center of the runway due to the immense width of the surface.
In todays’ time, the availability of concrete would make this runway
impossible to build. The traction is also substantially better here than any street surface; not as good as a drag strip, but much better than the street.
Johnny Bohmer has developed a program to debunk myths and fact check the manufacturer’s claims of vehicles performance. While testing the vehicles, Johnny’s team will data log each vehicle and record the findings. These have been useful to many manufacturers because of the vehicles ability to drive at speed for 2.5 miles while still have a safe, shut down area. Performance videos will be posted to the public on the recently started, Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds YouTube channel.
The vehicles being tested are timed and speed checked with Garmin and GoPro interior monitoring
systems. External timing and speed are performed by the International Mile Racing Association (IMRA) who is a sanctioning body accepted by numerous auto groups and the Guinness Book of World Records.
Johnny and his team will routinely test 1⁄2 mile, 1 mile, 1.5 mile, 2 mile, 2.3 mile, 2.5 mile and 2.7 mile-distances. Manufacturers come from all over the world to test many types of vehicles at JBPG including sports cars, race cars, tractor trailers, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, fire safety, law enforcement and the list goes on.
On May 4, 2019, Johnny Bohmer had a small group of vehicles testing at JBPG; ranging from the
McLaren Senna and 720S to the Ford Raptor and Ferrari 599. The weather conditions that day are listed below.
Dew point: 22C/72F
Wind: 08kt (09 mph) Direction: SE
Density Alt +1548
Barometric Pressure: 30.00
Surface Temp: 27.2C/81F
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Dew point: 23C/73F
Wind: 08kt (09 mph) Direction: SE
Density Alt +2184
Barometric Pressure: 29.95
Surface Temp: 35C/95F
We tested a stock, 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE over 2.7 miles and were eager to see the results. The professional driver performed the test and was able to achieve 178.387 MPH (323.977 KPH) speed. One of the main functions of the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds is to safely determine all aspects of a vehicle’s performance capabilities while determining the accuracy of the manufacturer’s claims.
Last but not least, please subscribe to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds YouTube channel as we
continue to perform more testing with some of your favorite vehicles.