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A Camaro That’s Fast, Quick, and Affordable




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?

Not bad.

For 2013, Camaro is available with the 1LE performance package, inspired by road racing. Offered on SS coupes with manual transmissions, the 1LE package features unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires, the Camaro 1LE is capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration, and lapping the Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course in under three minutes.

 

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.

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