K.C. Colwell writes: Chevrolet must have one hell of an overtime budget for its performance-vehicles department. In just the past few years, there have been SSs, Stingrays, 1LEs, Z51s, Z06s, ZR1s, ZL1s, and even V-6 models that have consistently rewritten the bang-for-buck equation. (To say nothing of fellow General Motors brand Cadillac and its immensely talented V models.) Now comes this particular Camaro, one that combines two of those acronyms but wears an invoice price that doesn’t seem adequate to cover the sum of its parts.
The 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE stretches the performance envelope like a cruise missile wearing a forty-nine-cent stamp. There’s the Corvette Z06–derived LT4 supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 good for 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the genuine carbon-fiber wing (a first for GM) designed in a Formula 1 wind tunnel that turns into the equivalent of 300 pounds of lead at 150 mph, the gaping front end that swallows 106 cubic feet of air per minute more than a regular ZL1, and the splitter and dive planes.
Also, check out the rubber. GM tapped Goodyear and the tiremaker brought its Eagle F1 Supercar 3R to the table: 305/30ZR-19s in the front and 325/30ZR-19 steamrollers at the rear, which is the widest tire ever fitted to a Camaro. Goodyear says they are good for 1.10 g’s of lateral acceleration, but if our well-attuned necks are any gauge, we’re thinking it’s even higher than that. The rubber is wrapped around forged-aluminum wheels one inch smaller in diameter than the regular ZL1’s; along with the tires and compared with the non-1LE car, those rollers save 13 pounds in precious rotating inertia and unsprung mass.
The other half of the chassis performance comes from Canadian supplier Multimatic in the form of aluminum-bodied spool-valve dampers. Not only do they provide an elegant and passive way to vary damping force, the inverted struts provide a means to achieve race-car-like negative camber at the front end. Via a trick method to switch back and forth between street and track settings, the ball-jointed and forged-aluminum top mounts of the front struts are adjustable to increase negative camber by 1.7 degrees.
To set the car to track camber, jack one corner, remove an alignment pin in the wheel well and the three bolts at the top of the strut tower under the matte-black hood, twist the top mount 180 degrees (it has a dual bolt pattern), reattach, and—voilà—instant camber. Combined with fairly common eccentric alignment bolts, the ZL1 1LE can have as much as 3.7 degrees of negative front camber, although Chevy recommends negative 2.7 on the track … (read more)
Source: Car and Driver