We've taken the bone-stock 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 down the quarter-mile drag strip at Bondurant in Arizona several times. The very first pass we made netted us a time slip in the mid-12-second range. That's an impressive performance for a car wearing road-legal radial tires with zero preparation and a driver familiarizing himself with the car.

We instantly knew this car was capable of more, and wondered how long it would take before we saw our first elapsed time in the 11s. Turns out the wait is over.

General Motors itself is the perpetrator of the blazing-fast quarter mile. Chevrolet engineers took two completely stock ZL1 coupes to Milan Dragway in Michigan – one automatic and one manual – and recorded a best pass of 11.93 seconds at 116 miles per hour. That was with the automatic; the row-your-own model managed 11.96 at 117 mph.

Those looking to drag their new Camaro ZL1 ought to be pleased with this news. But even if your race track aspirations lean more toward a curvy strip of asphalt, the baddest production Camaro ever made has you covered. Consider its Nürburgring lap time of seven minutes and 41 seconds as proof of its prowess.

Likely sensing that there would be plenty of Ford fans skeptics demanding proof of its quarter mile performance, Chevrolet has released a video showing off its drag strip exploits at Milan. Scroll down below for the video, along with the related press release... and join us in waiting for a response from Ford.

*UPDATE: We've placed a call to Chevrolet inquiring whether these times were recorded on stock tires, as the press release indicates, or on drag radials. We'll add another update as soon as we hear back.

*UPDATE TWO: The times quoted in the press release – 11.93 for the auto and 11.96 for the manual – were recorded on the stock Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires. According to Chevrolet, the team knocked about a tenth of a second off those numbers with the Mickey Thompson drag tires.



Show full PR text
Camaro ZL1 Joins the 11-second Club
2012-05-04

DETROIT – The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is officially in the "11-second" club, as engineers recently turned an 11.93-second/116-mph quarter-mile elapsed time run in a showroom-stock Camaro ZL1 automatic. A Camaro ZL1 manual ran an 11.96-second ET at 117 mph.

Only a few other production vehicles can run the quarter-mile as quickly as the ZL1. Fewer yet can also run 0-60 in 4 seconds, reach a top speed of 184 mph and lap the famous Nürburgring in 7:41.27 – all with the street-legal, factory-issued components and no time-consuming equipment adjustments at the racetrack.

"The ZL1 is great at everything and we're very proud of that," said Tony Roma, Camaro ZL1 program engineering manager. "You can take it to the drag strip and run 11-second quarter-miles all day long. You can also take it to a road course, where it's balanced, handles well, and does exactly what you want – including lapping Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course in under three minutes – and yet the ZL1 is sophisticated enough to use as a daily driver. It's a supercar you can drive every day."

For perspective, the Camaro ZL1 is so quick that some drivers who experiment with "drag radial" tires or full racing slicks may find themselves going too quick for most NHRA-sanctioned racetracks, where a five-point roll bar is required for vehicles running 11.49 or quicker. The 11.93-second ET in a stock ZL1 tested by the engineers wore the factory-issued Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires developed specifically for it, putting the car only a scant 0.44-second away from that additional racing safety requirement.

Tuned for the drag strip

The original, special-order 1969 Camaro ZL1s are still revered for their legendary performance on the drag strip and Chevrolet was keenly aware that customers for the new, 21st century edition would undoubtedly test its straight-line mettle in quarter-mile increments.

The Camaro team re-engineered 30 percent of a Camaro 2SS to make the ZL1, including special modifications just for the drag strip.

"We know many of customers will take their ZL1 to the drag strip," said Gordon Rojewski, driveline development engineer – and who is also an experienced drag racer and owner of a turbocharged, 920-horsepower street car. "Some may just go once, to experience the full potential of the 580-horsepower LSA engine. Others may be more serious, going every other weekend with a set of slicks in the trunk. As such, we set out to make sure the ZL1 would perform for them – on the first pass and on the 100th."

For example, to withstand the heavy loads of repeated hard launches, the ZL1 features a stout 9.9-inch rear differential mounted in a robust cast iron center section. It also features a standard differential cooler that can lower the temperature by 100 degrees F for improved performance and longevity.

The ZL1 also features asymmetrical half-shafts: a 60mm hollow shaft on the right and a 33mm solid shaft on the left. The different torsional stiffness rates of the shafts work in conjunction with the limited-slip differential to minimize the chance of wheel hop at launch. Engineers modified the rear suspension, as well, to accommodate an 18-inch wheel, for owners who want to fit a set of drag-radials with taller sidewalls to improve their ETs.

Even the ZL1's exclusive Performance Traction Management (PTM) was tuned for the drag-strip. It integrates third-generation Magnetic Ride Control, launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power steering response to enhance performance. Launch control (manual transmission only) automatically modulates engine torque for the best-possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 1,000 times per second to maximize the available traction.

Mode 5 of launch control is uniquely calibrated for drag strips that use VHT or similar traction-enhancing compounds on the starting line. In addition to validating the system for the stock tires, engineers also tested it with 18- and 20-inch racing-type drag radial tires in anticipation of the specialty tires many drivers will use at the track. Drag radials are very soft and provide nearly the traction of a full racing slick, allowing the car to launch at a higher rpm without wheel spin, which can translate into an even quicker ET.

Proven with 1,000 hard launch tests

To test the chassis and suspension components to ensure they were up to repeated hard-start launches typical at the drag strip, engineers subjected the ZL1 to the grueling "Woodward Avenue Schedule" at the GM Milford Proving Ground.

Named for the famous cruising route that cuts north through Detroit's suburbs and has been the venue for untold thousands of unofficial launch capability demonstrations since the 1960s, each test cycle is a hard-launch, standing-start drag race up to 100 mph. The ZL1 was subjected to 1,000 test cycles before its driveline was stamped "approved".

"The Woodward Avenue Schedule was a really brutal test, but it told us the Camaro ZL1 would live up to the way we knew our customers would drive it on the track," said Rojewski.

The Camaro ZL1 is on sale now with a suggested retail price of $54,995 – including a $900 destination charge. The 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission includes TapShift control and is a $1,185 option. The Camaro ZL1 convertible goes on sale this summer.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 146 Comments
      fragmit50
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a GT 5.0 owner, I have to say, this is fantastic. I am so glad the muscle-car wars are back. GM and Ford are doing amazing things. Competition is king!
      Waltzon
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I had to pick a domestic muscle car, I lean toward the Mustangs, but for the first time in my entire life (32), not only would I consider a domestic muscle car, but would have to think long and hard about whether I wanted a Camaro or a Mustang. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Now if only the Challenger wasn't such a porky one-trick pony.
        mawhalen53
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Waltzon
        We live in a beautiful time
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Waltzon
        For me it's still the Mustang hands down. I respect the numbers the ZL1 is putting down it's an impressive car, but I just can't warm up to it. Not that I hate GM either, in the F-body days I always preferred the Camaro to the Mustang. But with the current cars I think the Mustang is the best overall all around car. I'll be willing to give the Camaro another chance once it gets smaller and moves off the Zeta platform next generation. The Challengers look awesome, but the interior is way too cheap. I'd still give it a look, but if I wanted a car to truly use for it's intended purpose, Mustang.
        David Donovan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Waltzon
        I'd still take a Mustang with ease over the Camaro. I don't want a car that fast with that shitty of viability out of it.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great to see that both the Camaro and Mustang are trying to outdo the other. Will lead to better cars for customers.
      Camaroman101
      • 2 Years Ago
      so ~11.85 with slicks, should've also tried it with some skinnies
      Justin Robertson
      • 2 Years Ago
      That thing scoots for being such a tank, I want to drive one.
      PeteG
      • 2 Years Ago
      "almost no modification", now how is that stock then, they must have done something else besides the tires that day, or he wouldn't have said that
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yep - big fan of the boss stang, love the Coyote motor, but time for the FoMoCo guys to put up or shut up. Show us the vid - quarter mile and Nurburgring. Mustangs, including Shelby's, have had problems putting all that motor down. If it don't stick it ain't quick.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      alexkoolur
      • 2 Years Ago
      Trap speed is slow....take away the sticky track and let's see what this thing really does....the Shelby GT500 will DESTROY this thing
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @alexkoolur
        Oh joy. Another e-peen contest.
        Mchicha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @alexkoolur
        wheel hop shelby
        Kevin Holden
        • 2 Years Ago
        @alexkoolur
        It's a turd. Shelby will blow the doors off this girl toy.
        Andre Neves
        • 2 Years Ago
        @alexkoolur
        You and two other dopes obviously have no actual "experience" of racing at a drag strip. Not knowing how your trap speed is drastically affected by a good launch, as in with radials. Stick with Forza.
      David Donovan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now the plot thickens. So not only is the car wearing Mickey Thompson DR's on it but the rear rims aren't even the stock rims so for all we know the rims on there could be wider then the stock rims which would then be yet another advantage with having more rubber on the road. GM = snakes oil salesman.
        Toneron
        • 2 Years Ago
        @David Donovan
        rims rims rims.... WHEELS!
        jawnath1n
        • 2 Years Ago
        @David Donovan
        There is no plot, only in your mind there is something fishy about this. They were using the stock street tires that came with the car on the 11 second pass. The DR was for testing, as they said in the video. "The 11.93-second ET in a stock ZL1 tested by the engineers wore the factory-issued Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires developed specifically for it'
          David Donovan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jawnath1n
          It only says that in the press release. Watch the video and they say a different story then what the press release says. Hell even the guy at the end was saying how with "basically no modifications" when he mentions them being in the 11's.
      Luke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford has already responded: 662HP and 631 pound-feet of torque.
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Quarter Mile is the Nürburgring for the mullet set.
        Dreez28
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        A person is is fixated only on a cars cornering capability is just as ignorant and narrow-minded as a person who is wholly fixated on 1/4 mile times. Open your mind a bit eh?
        TrueDat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        no, that would be VIR.. quarter mile is a simple acceleration test used in all 4 corners of the world
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