The 2013 road-racing inspired Chevrolet Camaro 1LE, with Camaro engineer Aaron Link behind the wheel, lapped the famed Virginia International Raceway (VIR) “Grand Course” in 2:58.34 – a time previously accomplished by only the upper echelon of performance cars.
A Camaro 1SS with the 1LE package starts at $37,035, including destination, making it one of the most affordable, most capable performance cars offered by any manufacturer, Chevy officials say.
“The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and the ZL1 with a focus on handling,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.
“We optimized every part of the SS for improved track driving, including gear ratios, suspension tuning, and chassis mounts. The result really brings the Camaro SS alive at every turn – whether you’re carving through your favorite back roads or working on lap times on the track.
“Best of all, the Camaro 1LE is $10,000 less than its nearest competitor,” Oppenheiser said. “For drivers looking for an affordable way to get on the track, what they save with the 1LE will cover a lot of days at the track.” “To break a three-minute lap on the four-mile Grand Course is an incredible accomplishment for any car,” he said.
Earlier this year, Link drove a 2012 Camaro ZL1 Coupe around the Grand Course in 2:52.4. Link’s 2:58.37 lap time in the 1LE further demonstrates the Camaro’s capabilities on a road course.
The car Link drove was a production-spec Camaro SS with the 1LE package, modified with only a race seat and roll cage for safety. The 1LE proved to be track-capable, even with temperatures approaching 90 degrees in the early-morning test session.
“Like the ZL1, the 1LE is very easy to drive fast, and its performance is very consistent,” said Link.
“Even in the hot, humid conditions through a tank of fuel, there were no issues with brake fade, changes in grip, or power train performance.
“One of the best sections in the 1LE is the Climbing Esses,” Link said. “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 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.”
The Camaro 1LE package was introduced in 1988, inspired by Camaro’s involvement in Pro-Am road racing.
For 2013, the 1LE package is offered only on 1SS and 2SS coupe models, featuring a 6.2L LS3 V8, which is rated at 426 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. In addition, 1LE is only available with a sixspeed manual transmission.
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