Chevrolet’s 650bhp 2017 Camaro ZL1 hits home at the Nürburgring

Published: 26 October 2016

► New Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 tested at the Nürburgring
► Sets a 7:29.60 lap – quicker than many mid-engined supercars
► 6.2-litre V8 churns out 650bhp and 650lb ft

The upcoming Camaro ZL1, a supercharged 650bhp version of Chevrolet’s coupe, has lapped the Nürburgring in 7:29.60 – almost 12 seconds quicker than its predecessor.

Suffice it to say that the smirk has probably been wiped off many a naysayer’s face – because setting such a time means the heavyweight high-performance American muscle car outpaced many a far more exotic machine.

What – like Ferraris?

Not quite. The new twin-turbocharged 488 set a 7:21.00 lap time in a recent Auto Zeitung test. You’d certainly hope the Ferrari was quicker than the American entry, given its premium price and weight advantage.

That said, the new Camaro did beat the previous 458 Italia’s lap time of 7:32.92. It also put in a stout performance against many other alternatives and rivals, including setting a time quicker than the following:

  • 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S 7:37.9
  • 2013 Mercedes AMG GT S 7:35.00
  • 2015 McLaren 650S Spider 7:35.00
  • 2012 Lexus LFA 7:34.00
  • 2008 Koenigsegg CCX 7:33.55
  • 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia 7:32.92
  • 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia QF 7:32.00
  • 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 7:32.00
  • 2016 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 7:29.60

Consequently – negating the fact that Nürburgring lap times are not the be-all and end-all, and not necessarily indicative of good performance on the road – you might want to think twice before getting into a fight with a ZL1...

Was it on slicks, or modified otherwise? 

Reputedly, the ZL1 used for the tests was relatively standard – with the only modifications being primarily safety-related, including the installation of a roll hoop and racing seats with six-point harnesses. The tyres used, according to GM, were factory-fit Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3s.

What are the performance figures for the ZL1?

As follows:

  • Engine Supercharged 6.2-litre V8, 650bhp, 650lb ft
  • Transmission 10-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph 3.5sec
  • Standing quarter mile 11.4sec at 127 mph
  • Cornering g 1.02 
  • 60-0 mph braking 107 feet (32 metres)

I bet it was a proper handful...

‘Many fast laps around the Nordschleife are dramatic, with lots of oversteer and steering input,’ said Drew Cattell, Camaro ride and handling engineer and driver of the hot lap. ‘Not so with the ZL1, which is extremely planted and stable, almost calm. With Magnetic Ride and great overall chassis balance, the ZL1 is all about being inch perfect at every turn and carrying a lot of speed.’

Judge for yourself – watch the video of the ZL1’s lap below, and find out more about the car in our story here.

Read more about the Camaro ZL1 here

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car