Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

General Motors struck back at the mighty Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 with the similarly brawny Camaro ZL1, and now it looks like GM has taken aim at the Mustang Boss 302 as well.

According to posts on the Camaro5.com forums, a dealer reference guide has revealed buyers will be able to opt for a new performance track package for the 2013 Camaro. The 1LE pack includes a number of aerodynamic tweaks, including an aggressive front splitter and unique rear spoiler, both painted in smoke gray. Red Brembo brake calipers, a hood wrapped in matte black vinyl and 20-inch wheels shod in Goodyear Eagle Supercar tires are all part of the party. Those big rollers are actually borrowed from the ZL1.

Larger sway bars front and rear as well as stronger axle half shafts help the vehicle withstand track abuse. A Tremec six-speed manual gearbox with a higher 3.91 final drive and a liquid cooling system is also standard. Finally, the report says the Camaro 1LE will feature an optional dual-mode exhaust similar to what's found on the Chevrolet Corvette.

Will the hardware be enough to help the Camaro fend off the road-race ready Boss 302? Given the sublime driving experience the tweaked Mustang offers its buyers and the heady 444 horsepower on hand, it seems unlikely. That doesn't mean we'd be averse to putting the two head to head on a track, however.

UPDATE: General Motors has now released official information on the 1LE. The model will land at under $40,000 and and be able to pull up to 1g on the skid pad. According to Al Oppenheiser, Camaro Chief Engineer, the vehicle was able to best the three-minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway, and GM is currently seeking approval from SCCA to allow the package to be used in the Touring Class competition.

In addition to borrowing the dual-mode exhaust from the ZL1, the 1LE will also feature the same variable-effort power steering. Other changes include a strut tower brace, ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links and shock mounts as well as a ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump and pickups for consistent fuel delivery during hard cornering. Even if the 1LE can't keep pace with the Boss 302, it should make for an impressive on-track machine. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Related GalleryChevrolet Camaro 1LE
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2013 Camaro 1LE: 426-hp, 1g cornering, under $40,000

1LE features Camaro ZL1-inspired chassis and suspension enhancements
2013 Camaro LT, SS and ZL1 models available with MyLink infotainment system

DETROIT – The road-racing inspired Camaro 1LE performance package returns for 2013 with unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that makes the model capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-three minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course. It is offered on Camaro SS coupes with manual transmissions.

"The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and ZL1 to take road-racing performance to a whole new level," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "That the 1LE breaks the three-minute lap at VIR puts it in the upper echelon of performance cars. That it starts under $40,000 makes the Camaro 1LE one of the most affordable, most capable track-day cars offered by any manufacturer."

In anticipation of consumers entering the 1LE in amateur-racing events, Chevrolet is pursuing SCCA approval of the 1LE package for Touring Class competition.

For 2013, all Camaro SS models including the 1LE will feature standard variable-effort electric power steering and an available dual-mode exhaust system. Both features were introduced on the ZL1. Additionally, 2013 Camaro LT, SS and ZL1 models are available with Chevrolet's color touch radio with MyLink infotainment system.

"With the 2013 model year, Camaro offers something for almost every driver, including: the 323-horsepower, 30-mpg 2LS; the all-new, 580-horsepower supercharged ZL1 convertible; the COPO Camaro for drag-racing; and the new 1LE for amateur track days," said John Fitzpatrick, Camaro marketing manager. "We expect the range of choices, and enhancements for 2013, will help Camaro remain America's most-popular sports car."

Camaro sales were up nearly 20 percent for the first two months of the year, building on an 8.5-percent gain for all of 2011. The 1LE package goes on sale this fall with the 2013 Camaro line. Pricing will be released later this year.

A heritage of handling

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 V-8, which is rated at 426 horsepower (318 kW) and 420 lb-ft of torque (569 Nm). In addition, 1LE is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.

While the Camaro SS features a Tremec TR6060-M10 for all-around performance, the Camaro 1LE features an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6. Paired with a numerically higher 3.91 final-drive ratio, the close-ratio gearing of the transmission is tuned for road-racing performance. As with the ZL1, the 1LE transmission features a standard air-to-liquid cooling system for track use.

The 1LE also features exclusive, monotube rear dampers instead of the twin-tube dampers on SS models. The new hardware allowed engineers to tune the 1LE suspension to focus on optimal body-motion control while preserving much of the ride quality and wheel-motion control of the Camaro SS.

Other changes to optimize the 1LE for track-day use include:

Larger, 27-mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28-mm solid rear stabilizer bar for improved body control
Higher-capacity rear-axle half shafts to cope with increased levels of traction
Strut tower brace for improved steering feel and response
ZL1-based 20 x 10-inch front and 20 x 11-inch aluminum wheels
285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires front and rear (identical to the front tires for ZL1)
ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links and rear shock mounts for improved on-track performance
ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump and additional fuel pickups for improved fuel delivery during high-cornering

Visually, the 1LE package for 2013 is distinguished by its matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler – as well as the 10-spoke ZL1-based wheels, which are finished in black. The functional front splitter and rear spoiler contribute to the car's on-track performance by helping to reduce aerodynamic lift at high speeds.

Inside, the 1LE package incorporates the ZL1's flat-bottom steering wheel, trimmed in sueded-microfiber and designed for easier heel-and-toe driving on the racetrack. The quick-acting, short-throw shifter from the ZL1 is also trimmed in sueded microfiber.

Electric power steering and dual-mode exhaust bring ZL1 technology to SS models

All 2013 Camaro SS models, including the 1LE, will benefit from performance technologies that debuted on the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1.

The improvements began in 2012, when all SS Coupes incorporated the ZL1-derived chassis element: Stabilizer bars with drop links repositioned outboard of the control arms. This made the stabilizer bars four times more effective than in previous models, for improved control of body roll and crisper response to steering input.

New for 2013, the electric power steering system developed for the ZL1 will be standard on all 2013 SS models. The variable ratio, variable effort system provides light efforts for easy maneuverability at parking-lot speeds as well as increased resistance at higher speeds. This provides more feedback, and a more direct steering feel, to the driver.

Also new for 2013 is an available dual-mode exhaust system, available on Camaro SS models with the LS3 V8 engine and six-speed manual transmissions. Similar to the systems found on the ZL1 and Corvette models, this vacuum-actuated system provides a quieter driving experience at low engine speeds and a more aggressive sound at high engine speeds.

MyLink connects you

Chevrolet's color touch radio with MyLink infotainment is available on all 2013 Camaro LT, SS and ZL1 models. The color touch radio, with a 7-inch touch screen, also can be paired with an available in-dash GPS navigation system – a first for the Camaro.

The color touch radio with MyLink gives customers a higher level of in-vehicle wireless connectivity and customized infotainment options, while building on the safety and security of OnStar. It seamlessly integrates online services such as Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio® using hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via Bluetooth-enabled phones.

MyLink adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smartphones, building on the voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevy vehicles. The high-resolution, full-color touch screen display makes media selection easy to navigate.

MyLink also retains all the capabilities of today's entertainment functions, including AM/FM/Sirius XM tuners, auxiliary and USB inputs.