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"The owner’s manual supplement outlines what prep is needed for heavy track use.  Specifically, suspension alignment and oil specs."


2018 Camaro ZL1:  The Most Track Capable Camaro Ever

The Camaro Z/28 was once described by Chevy as “the most track-capable Camaro ever.”  Well, the new 2018 Camaro ZL1 has taken over ZL1 3that title.  We directed our track day questions to Matt Scrase - Performance Variant Manager, Camaro. 

Q.  Keeping in mind that our magazine is focused on the track day or HPDE enthusiast, please describe the features that make this a great choice for a street-able track car.

  • FE4 Suspension with Magnetic Ride Control
  • Electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD)
  • 650-horsepower supercharged LT4 V8
  • Standard track cooling capability with 11 heat exchangers
  • Two Transmission choices: Tremec TR6060 6-sp manual and GM-Exclusive 10L90 10-sp automatic
  • Dual-mode performance exhaust
  • Aluminum hood with carbon-fiber insert
  • Wide-body front fenders
  • All-new front fascia with larger grille openings
  • Stanchion rear spoiler
  • Brembo 6-piston front, 4-piston rear brakes
  • Forged 20-inch wheels
  • Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires: 285/30ZR20 front, 305/30ZR20 rear
  • Recaro sport seats

Q.  Can the new 10 speed automatic shift quickly enough to offer an advantage over manuals and how does it compare to dual-clutch transmissions?

  • ZL1 10L90 10-speed automatic
  • Calibration was developed on racetracks around world, including Nurburgring
  • Faster upshift times than Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission
  • Lift Foot Gear Hold Mode (LFGH): Will hold the current gear when the driver lifts out of the throttle, preventing excessive upshifts, and subsequent downshifts upon tipping back in
  • Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS) – High Level
  • Utilizes multiple driver and vehicle inputs to determine the best gear selection for aggressive shifts and maximum performance
  • Holds gears to redline, and has the most aggressive downshift schedule
  • Active during 7:29 Nurburgring lap

Q.  Which Chevy performance vehicles will have the new 10 speed in the future?  Will it be offered on the Corvette Z06 and Grand Sport?

  • Can’t comment on future product, or applications with Corvette.

Q.  Will owners need to do any modifications for heavy track use?  For example, in the past I have always changed out the standard brake lines for steel braided ones.  Does the car come with steel braided lines?  Is it delivered with DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid installed?  Does the ZL1 have brake ducts for added cooling or is that not needed?  

  • The owner’s manual supplement outlines what prep is needed for heavy track use.  Specifically, suspension alignment and oil specs.  The car does not come with steel braided brake lines.  Our track testing and validation was completed with the OE lines.
  • DOT 3
  • The ZL1 does come standard with brake cooling ducts

Q.  With 11 heat exchangers there should not be any issues with heat at high speeds on the track, but how about oil starvation issues?  I understand that the dry sump oiling system included in the same LT4 engine on the Corvette was not offered on the ZL1 for "packaging" reasons.  As someone who has blown up an engine on the track due to oil starvation, I would be interested to know if anything has been done to reduce the possibility of oil starvation.  Is there a baffled oil pan for example?  I am sure the ZL1 and ZL1 1LE have been tested on the track with their standard tires.  But what if an owner installs stickier tires, such as slicks?  Will that owner need to be concerned about oil starvation?  Will any aftermarket items such as a baffled oil pan or an Accusump system need to be added?  

  • The LT4 engine comes equipped with an air/oil separator.  We completed our track testing and validation and had no oil starvation issues.

Q. Why is the 1LE package not available in automatic transmission cars?  

  • The 1LE package with manual transmission stays true to Camaro racing heritage and the purist’s formula of an ultimate track-day Camaro.

Q.  Will the warranty be effected by track use?  Are there any restrictions on modifications which might invalidate the warranty?   

  • Warranty is covered for track use as long as the car is stock, no modifications, and for track days only (no sanctioned racing with other cars on the track).

10 speed360pxThe new ten speed automatic available in the ZL1 was co-developed by both Ford and General Motors.  The ZL1 is expected to be the first volume production car to offer a 10-speed automatic.  The greater overall performance and efficiency are due primarily to the 10-speed’s wider 7.39 overall gear ratio spread, which enhances off-the-line performance with an aggressive first gear ratio of 4.70.  Smaller steps between the gears also help the engine maintain the optimal speed for maximum power at almost all speeds, especially when exiting a corner on a track.

“The gear ratios are so tightly spaced that the transmission is in the right gear and the engine is at the best rpm for transitions from corners to straights,” said Aaron Link, Lead Development Engineer.  “And with the power from the ZL1’s supercharged LT4 engine, the force you feel in your seat as you accelerate out of a turn will put a grin on your face every time.”

Chevrolet testing has shown the ZL1 with the available 10-speed has faster shift times than the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission.  In fact, the 1-2 upshift is 36-percent quicker than the PDK, while the 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts are 27-percent and 26-percent quicker, respectively.  “You touch the paddle and the gear changes with immediacy,” said Link.  “The shifts happen so quickly and without delay that it almost feels like an extension of your reflexes.  It’s a much more involving experience for the driver that really helps improve confidence and performance on the track.”

Creative packaging solutions, which had to accommodate another clutch in comparison to the eight-speed, allow the 10-speed to be the approximate size of Camaro’s other eight-speed transmission.  It uses four simple gear-sets and six clutches:  two brake clutches and four rotating clutches.  That’s only one more clutch than the eight-speed, despite having two more forward gears.

It is also the latest transmission with an all-new, proprietary electronic control system and performance calibrations.  The calibration is unique for the ZL1’s high-performance-oriented driving experience, while additional applications will feature calibrations matched to their respective performance ranges.

Additional highlights of the new transmission:

  • A reduction in spin losses, thanks to only two non-applied clutches and other design features, contributes to greater fuel efficiency
  • New ultra-low viscosity transmission fluid reduces friction across the full temperature operating range for greater fuel efficiency
  • An internal thermal bypass allows the transmission to warm up faster to its optimal operating temperature for additional fuel efficiency
  • Advanced torque converter design contributes to packaging efficiency

While the Camaro ZL1 will be the first GM vehicle to offer the new 10-speed automatic designed for rear-wheel-drive applications, it will be available in eight additional vehicles by 2018.  Adaptive shift controls such as Performance Algorithm Shifting and Driver Shift Control enhance performance driving.  Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS) monitors how assertively the driver is using engine output to determine at what engine speed to upshift or downshift.  Driver Shift Control allows the driver to shift the transmission via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.  Electronic safeguards prevent over-revving if the wrong gear position is selected, but relies on the driver to make upshifts or downshifts.

Gear changes are mainly executed with clutch-to-clutch action, where an “on-coming” clutch is engaged and an “off-going” clutch is released in a precise manner to achieve the ratio change.  Certain key shifts, however, are made with a freewheeling action, such as 3-1 downshifts, where a plate clutch is actively disengaged while a mechanical freewheeler clutch automatically engages with optimum synchronization.

In preliminary testing, the new ZL1 1LE finished three seconds faster than the standard ZL1 Coupe around General Motors’ 2.9-mile, 18-ZL1 2turn Milford Road Course test track.

The improved track performance is driven by four key elements:

  • Aerodynamics:  New aero features, including a carbon fiber rear wing, specific air deflectors and dive planes on the front fascia produce grip-generating downforce to help the car stick harder and drive faster in turns.
  • Adjustable suspension:  The ZL1 1LE features racing-derived, lightweight Multimatic DSSV® (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) front and rear dampers for exceptional wheel and vehicle control.  The front-end ride height is adjustable with the front dampers, which are used with all-new, adjustable camber plates.  The rear stabilizer bar also offers three-way adjustability.  All of the components are designed for quick changes at the track for optimal performance and a quick return to street settings when the track day ends.
  • Wheels and tires:  New, lightweight forged aluminum wheels are an inch wider but an inch smaller in diameter, front and rear, than standard ZL1 wheels and are used with new Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires that deliver a max lateral grip of 1.10g.  Developed exclusively for the Camaro ZL1 1LE, the 3R tires are designed to warm up faster to help maintain more consistent grip and speed, lap after lap.  The overall footprint grows approximately 10 percent over the ZL1 but the wheel-and-tire package weighs about 1.5 pounds (3.3 kg) less per corner.
  • Lighter weight:  The lighter wheels and dampers, along with reduced thickness rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat, contribute to an approximately 60-pound (27 kg) lower curb weight than a standard ZL1 Coupe.

The power behind the ZL1 1LE is the 650-horsepower, supercharged LT4 engine backed by a six-speed manual transmission featuring Active Rev Match.  Brembo  brakes, including red calipers with the 1LE logo are also included.  The ZL1 1LE incorporates racing-based suspension and aero technologies as well as exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tires.

When it goes on sale later this year, the 2017 Camaro ZL1 will be priced at $62,135 for coupe models and $69,135 for convertibles.  Prices include destination charge, but not tax, title and other dealer fees.  The 1LE package is a $4,500 MSRP option on Camaro V-6 LT coupe models and $6,500 on the V-8 1SS coupe model.  For LT coupes, the 1LE package features the Camaro SS’s FE3 suspension, while the 1SS benefits from the ZL1’s electronic limited-slip differential and FE4 suspension with Magnetic Ride dampers.


  • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 127 mph
  • 1.02 g max cornering
  • 60-0 mph braking in 107 feet (32 meters)
  • 220-pound (100 kg) weight reduction
  • 650-horsepower (485 kW) supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 engine
  • *ZL1 performance numbers achieved with a coupe equipped with the available 10-speed automatic transmission and using original-equipment tires on a non-prepped surface.


  • 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds with Camaro LT 1LE
  • 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds with Camaro SS 1LE
  • 0.97 g max cornering with Camaro LT 1LE
  • 1.02 g max cornering with Camaro SS 1LE
  • 60-0 mph braking in 112 feet (34 meters) with Camaro LT 1LE
  • 60-0 mph braking in 107 feet (32 meters) with Camaro SS 1LE
  • 230-pound (104 kg) weight reduction (SS 1LE to previous model)

The 2018 Camaro ZL1 and ZL1 1LE are bound to be formidable options for track day participants.  They are set up and pretty much ready to go with little to no modifications needed.  You have become a market force! Keep up your HPDE enthusiasm as I believe this will force car manufacturers to continue to develop more and more track car choices.  We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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