• Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: AOL / Chevrolet
Chevy Camaro Performance PartsThe SEMA Show in Las Vegas is almost universally more show than go. The monster performance cars and unholy super-modified rides that line the show halls are undoubtedly impressive, but we journalists rarely have the chance to do much more than look at them while we're in town. So, it was a real breath of fresh air to hang out with Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and drive a set of Camaros that had been freshly shod with go-fast bits from the company's newly refreshed performance parts catalog.

The Bowtie brand is redoubling its efforts to offer racing-inspired and "track-hardened" componentry for the Gen 5 Camaro. And while this isn't a space in the aftermarket that is devoid of third-party entries, Chevy's sales pitch is a strong one: its parts do not void the manufacturer's warranty and they're designed and engineered by the same teams that design and engineer the cars themselves.

As you might expect, the performance parts in question are drawn in large measure from two of Camaro's turnkey variants, the 1LE and the mighty ZL1. Perhaps most compelling of the whole group is the 1LE Track Pack ($1,500) that includes larger front and rear stabilizer bars, retuned front struts and monotube rear shocks that transform the handling of the pony car. The package works with the stock chassis control and antilock braking software, and can be fitted to both V6 and V8 models. The ZL1 offers up a huge number of its parts to the catalog, including front and rear brake kits ($4,150/$2,500 front/rear for a V8 car, $7,200 for all four wheels for the V6), a short-throw shifter kit and a fuel pump ($350 and $420, respectively).

I drove a selection of V6 and V8 Camaros at the infield track of the speedway with some cone challenge sections, and also got my feet wet at the nearby drag strip, with a couple of drag-prepped, six-speed manual Camaro SS'.

Driving Notes
  • The Camaro that I was most taken with on the road course in Las Vegas, and the one that I hopped back into for extra lapping, was actually a 2013 Camaro V6. The Silver pony car (inset) had been fitted with the SS brake package, 1LE suspension package, strut tower brace and the performance exhaust.
  • The 1LE suspension components give the Camaro remarkably more lateral stiffness while running through a short section of slalom cones that Chevy had set up. I drove a standard '13 V6 immediately before the 1LE-prepped car, and the transformation was pretty incredible. The car was absolutely flat through rapid changes of direction, making far better use of the available grip, as well. Chevy engineers pointed out that they had left the same wheel/tire package on both the modified and unmodified car, to better show off how transformational the underpinnings could be.
  • There's no question that the more powerful SS cars were faster around the tight track, but I actually enjoyed flinging the newly stiff V6 more. With the 1LE's suspension, the lighter nose of the V6 Camaro was thrown in pretty dramatic relief. The car felt faster on turn-in and seemed to take a set and move forward more quickly, too.
  • Both the stock and modified V6 cars I drove were equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The infield was tight enough that a manual car could lap it quickly in second gear, but the autobox wanted to shift up too soon in a few spots. The manual-mode shifting is kind of slow to react, too. This isn't a racing transmission, to be sure, but it was mildly disappointing on the track, nevertheless.
  • The SS braking kit proved to offer a clear advantage over the stock set of stoppers. The initial bite from the brake pedal was firmer, and I was able to stop quite a bit farther back in the emergency stopping box that had been laid out on the course. That said, the heavier V8 Camaros equipped with the 14.6-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers from the front brakes of the ZL1 were decidedly quicker at retarding speed.
  • As I mentioned, there were two drag-prepped SS cars with which we could take quarter-mile runs (above); not quite up to the level of the COPO Camaros, but in that same spirit. The big modification here included a complete ZL1 rear axle system: 9.9-inch ring gear, heavy-duty limited slip differential in a cast iron housing, and a beefed up driveshaft and half-shafts. The engineers on hand were all pretty cocky that this rear end was all but unbreakable, which was good to hear as this was my first time drag racing.
  • Now, most guys who drag race their Camaros opt for automatic transmissions for more perfect launches and upshifts, but Chevy had built our two cars with the newly available short-throw six-speed. I actually found the manual trans to be pretty easy to use, though I know I shifted up a hair too late, twice, on my second run.
  • The Camaros at the strip also came correct with the LS3 heads and LS7 camshaft package that adds around 40 horsepower to the SS V8. Between the added weight of the HD rear axle system and the excitement of the competitive environment, it's hard to say that the extra grunt was obvious. I'm sure back-to-back runs in modified and unmodified cars would have eventually told the tale, both by the seat of my pants and on the clock. In any case, there was more than enough power to launch incredibly hard and throw me back in my seat with great force.
  • How'd I do? Well, I ran like the rookie that I was. I recorded a 13.826-second time at 105.86 miles per hour my first time out. That's clearly not indicative of the true performance potential of the vehicle; a few of the guys that followed me were just a fraction over 13 seconds, and everyone seemed sure that ranges in the 12s were totally doable.
  • In all it was an enlightening day of track-oriented fun, and one that foretold a lot of great Camaro customization to come in the future. There's just not much to dislike about making a fast car faster.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      Bandit5317
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's funny. It seems that every post by Seal Rchin has received a sudden influx of 10+ upvotes, while every reply disagreeing with him received 10+ downvotes. Considering how far into the negative he was before, I'm sure this has nothing to do with multiple accounts.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Being a typical Chevy these cars would be amazing on a straight line but would lose to a bicycle in any race that has a corner or two.
        tylermars.design
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        This is one of those guys that gets his info from all the "reliable sources" out there, instead of driving cars himself. But, it's ok, we can't all be car people. I bet you read consumer reports.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
          v6sonoma
          • 1 Year Ago
          Not to mention the Z28 did that in the rain and they feel it could have been as much as 6 seconds quicker. 6 would be optimistic but even if it picked up 3 seconds that would be huge.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
        Bandit5317
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        You know how I know you're a troll and not just ignorant? You post something similar in every GM thread and immediately get replies that tell you you're wrong, then you never respond to any of them.
          jtav2002
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bandit5317
          Way to give the ATS such a back handed compliment. Also, stop crying that you detest being called a troll. It's what you are. Plain and simple. By everything you post. Get over it.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bandit5317
          Because i am tired of responding. I only write this to Camaro/Corvette posts, TopGear did a comparo of Corvette ZR1 to Audi R8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4CPBfpnye0 Dude they could not handle the car, it REFUSED to corner, how can you justify that. Secondly i detest being called a troll, i say it like it is, GM's cars SUCK...........you know how i know that, their cars are so bad they had to file for bankruptcy. I always give GM credit if they make good looking cars, i love the ATS...............sure it is a crappy car without a usable rear seat, but it looks AMAZING.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bandit5317
          [blocked]
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bandit5317
          Skip to around 4:45, tell me if you see one proper corner.................this is done by people who drove every car under the sun.
        Arturo Rios Jr.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        I am no chevy fan but I just have to say that the camaro's with track packs are pretty capable.
        JanP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        You can make this car go fast. Camaro is being raced quite successfully in Grand Am's Continental Sports Car Challenge in the GS class. The competitors are Porsche 911, M3, Mustang, Astons, and a few others. This series mandates pretty much stock chassis and engine block, but the suspensions, bushings, gaskets, etc can be tuned for track duty. I wouldn't surprised if Chevrolet used input from the racing team in developing track options for the road car.
      malgu
      • 1 Year Ago
      My sister got the '14 Camaro with RS package, and in person, the rear LED tail lights look pretty awesome lit up
      tool0117
      • 1 Year Ago
      lol v6 camaro
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tool0117
        [blocked]
        Patrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tool0117
        lol v6 camaro? Hmmmmm. I'm guessing you feed your children poptarts with the belief that real fruit is inside.
        Michael
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tool0117
        Tool-less doesn't even own a car. He rides the bus.Had 2 GTs and a Z that shame any POS you ever stole...I mean begged your daddy to buy...Pogue
      StealthCobra
      • 1 Year Ago
      UGLY SLOMARO
      h-man
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they want more performance out of the Camaro perhaps it should be the same size and weight as a 4-door sedan.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @h-man
        As far as i know, they do not even include a spare tire in that Camaro, so the car is even heavier once you buy the tire and the set.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          [blocked]
          ngiotta
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          My buddy's 2011 Camaro didn't come with a spare tire, which is normal with cars that have differing wheel sizes in the front and back. Not really a big deal. My Mustang didn't come with a spare either-- just a flat tire kit.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @h-man
        [blocked]
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          Yes but Challenger unlike Camaro actually has a usable rear seat, you'd be surprised, two adults can comfortably seat there.
          Cesar Garcia Jr
          • 1 Year Ago
          Seal, Dodge could have built a decent convertible cruiser with that extra room. The next gen platforms will help with the weight issue on all of them.
      Julius
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems like a light V6 manual with the 1LE / ZL1 brake packages might make a decent autocross vehicle. Would make an interesting factory option package, too.
        wafflesnfalafel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julius
        I understand some folks just want to stand on the go pedal - and don't get me wrong power is an important aspect of "fun to drive" - but light and precise can be amazing as well. Nothing much better than to late brake, slam the car into a corner on the absolute edge and come out the other side 200 yards ahead of the dude that was on your a$$ going in.
        tool0117
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julius
        no
      Michael
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a 13 Mustang v6 black totally base cloth seat generic radio which I bought off the lot. It does have the Performance Package with the GT suspension, 373 gears, 19 inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear F1 supercar low profile tires. Love it...It has a clean sleeper look with an aggressive stance. I paid a mere $1900 for it bring my total to 25k out the door. I've owned 2 GTs and a Z28, but this V6 is sweet, inexpensive and fast. Like the Camaros here as well. I'm sure many other swill too. About time....
      S40Powered
      • 1 Year Ago
      Love the black one. A Camaro would be my second choice after the Challenger, those are the only two that look good and have road presence.
      Neo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a 2014 Camaro and I am an admitted GM guy, but the blade spoiler on that Camaro looks horrible!
        Patrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neo
        I would put up with it over the new taillight design for the new camaros.
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