There’s no getting away from the fact that the new 1LE Camaro is the car to have if your an avid road racer and can’t quite swing the cash for a ZL1. Being based off of the SS most of the development had already been done, but the $3500 1LE package takes the normal Super Sport to 11 by borrowing components from the ZL1, increasing the handling and braking capabilities as a result.
To find out how good the 1LE really is, Chevrolet took the Camaro to the coveted Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with GM engineer/skilled wheelman Aaron Link behind the wheel. The four-mile “Grand Course” threw everything it had at the Camaro, but Link and the 1LE took it all in stride, posting a best lap time of 2:58.34, crushing the Boss Mustang 302 Laguna Seca’s time of 3:02.8.
The VIR is not a track for wimps, in terms of either the car or the driver. Camaro chief engineer, Al Oppenheiser was quoted as saying, “..much like the Nurburgring, each lap of the VIR tests every aspect of the car; including power, brakes steering, tire grip and chassis balance.” For those that know the corners at VIR, know that anything under three minutes is excellent for any stock production car, much less a 4,000 pound musclecar. For comparison, Link drove the $55,000 ZL1 around the same course, posting a best time of 2:52.4 not too long ago. The ZL1 may have an additional 154HP on the 1LE, but it stickers at roughly $15,000 more than the 1LE.
Oppenheiser went on, “For drivers looking for an affordable way to get on the track, what they save with the 1LE will cover the expense of a lot of days at the track.” We agree, and we look forward to the time where these Camaros finally hit the streets.