1. August 2012
Often to get a car that is both fast (as in straight-line acceleration) and quick (as in being capable of handling twists and turns and elevation changes and the like) you have to spend money. A serious amount of money.
But what about spending $37,035?
Especially when that car can lap the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) Grand Course in 2:58.34. Assuming that you’re as good a driver as Camaro engineer Aaron Link is, who set that time at VIR behind the wheel of a 2013 Camaro 1LE, a $3,500 option for the Camaro 1SS and @ SS coupes.
Under the hood of the Camaro SS is a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 that produces 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The Camaro 1LE replaces the Camaro SS’s Tremec TR6060-M10 transmission with an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6 six-speed manual.
As the Camaro SS is already fast, the Camaro 1LE has a lot of modifications to make it quick, like having a larger, 27-mm solid front stabilizer and a 28-mm solid rear stabilizer bar, monotube rear dampers, a strut tower brace, ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links, and rear shock mounts, and a functional front splitter and rear spoiler.
Speaking of his time at VIR, Link said, “One of the best sections in the 1LE is the Climbing Esses. They are a series of four quick turns, as the track climbs uphill, that tend to upset the balance of most production cars. The 1LE offers such a neutral balance, and tenacious grip, that I could charge into the Esses at nearly 125 mph and steer the car with the throttle to carry a tremendous amount of speed through the Esses. That would not be possible in a car that wasn’t as confidence-inspiring as the 1LE.”
That’s fast, quick and brave.
And in a production car available for less than $40K, to boot.
(OK, they did add a race seat and a roll cage for the VIR Camaro 1LE.)
Hats off to Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser and his engineering team. To say nothing of Link.