Another day, another fast Nurburgring lap time. Normally I wouldn’t be too excited, yet in this particular case it feels like a win. No, not because it was done by the ZL1 1LE Camaro. Okay, partially because of that, but really it’s the fact that the ZL1 1LE was equipped with a manual transmission during the lap attempt, making a statement for all 3 pedal fans.
With a lap of just over 7 minutes and 16 seconds, the Camaro ZL1 1LE has moved into supercar territory as far as lap times go. To put that time into perspective you just have to take a look at where it falls on the all-time list of production cars, which happens to be 12th. And that’s if you consider the EP9 a contender. Sitting almost 2-seconds ahead of the Porsche GT2 RS is quite the accomplishment, especially for the relatively underpriced Camaro.
The thing that really has me grinning though is the fact that the much cheaper Camaro has done this impressive lap with a conventional 6-speed gearbox. Even with a mechanical disadvantage the 1LE still manages to pull off a lap that is just 4 seconds adrift from the famed GT3? AND it could easily be yours for $70,000, a fraction of what the GT3 costs. That is the kind of performance us blue collar folks dream of. In fact the 1LE is so fast it comes only second to the Dodge SRT-10 ACR, the radical Viper based projectile that Dodge used to strike fear into anyone who dared utter the phrase ‘Corvette.’ And even that costs a good bundle of money more than the mighty 1LE.
Regrettably, I do have to point out one thing, and that is the driver. These tests are incredibly flawed with the variations from driver to driver. Sure, if you put Sebastian Vettel in the Camaro 1LE he will certainly go faster than your Aunt Ruth in a Nio EP9. That doesn’t make the car any faster though. Also when you watch the video, that is some serious skill when it comes to shifting. Us modern folk will be substantially slower with a manual, no matter how good we feel our heel toe technique is. Regardless it’s fun to watch professionals run to the ragged edge around an absolutely ridiculous track just to say they have a faster car. This lap is particularly entertaining, I invite you to watch the whole thing and enjoy.