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In an unprecedented move, General Motors lent AutoGuide a Camaro ZL1 from the press fleet to race competitively against track-prepped cars with race tires. This is the story of how some good ‘ol American muscle earned more than just a podium finish; it earned respect.
Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
10. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: $54,095
Today’s cars all seem to be focused on delivering fun driving experience that’s still friendly on gas. Those two elements are often an important factor in a car purchase, but sometimes you just want to feral thrill of a big, loud engine.
The well-established parts manufacturer became the first to break the 200 mph barrier in a brand new ZL1, topping the speedometer at 202.67 mph at the Continental Tire North America Uvalde proving grounds in Texas. That’s not all this particular ZL1 has done, breaking the 10 second barrier with a 10.79 @ 134.36 mph at Muncie Dragway a mere two weeks after the vehicle came out.
Lingenfelter will be offering three different performance packages to ZL1 owners and enthusiasts looking to keep up with the GT500′s performance. Power upgrades range from 630 to 700 hp, a significant increase from the factory 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque figures.
“The Lingenfelter crew couldn’t be more excited to make history as the first 2012 ZL1 Camaro to exceed 200 mph, and to celebrate this victory on the heels of becoming the first company to run a ZL1 in the 10s,” said Ken Lingenfelter, owner of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.
Watch a video of the Lingenfelter Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 taking on the quarter mile after the break.
However, given that the three-week hiatus caused a hiccup in the original production schedule of the car, General Motors has now released some information regarding how many ZL1 coupes will be built and when they’ll be made available.
As it stands some 1,100 orders out of the original 2012 allocation (less than 3000 units) are currently outstanding. That said, given the time required for changeover to new model year production, GM has said it will only build a further 500 as 2012 models. The remaining 600 cars will be serialed as 2013 models, manufacture of which isn’t scheduled to begin until sometime after April.
Earlier this month, Chevy halted production on its Camaro ZL1 for a “quality assessment” which appears to have been a potential software issue that the American automaker wanted to assess and deal with if necessary.
It appears that production is back on track now, as Chevy has emailed its ZL1 customers announcing that the hold has been lifted. The customers whose cars had already been produced but placed on hold, will see their vehicles arrive dealerships in the next two to three weeks. For the rest of the orders, production has resumed and estimated delivery times are to come from the American automaker.
Chevy also stated that they need about two weeks to determine remaining ZL1 allocation and distribution.
Will the wait be worth it for ZL1 customers? Read our review on the Chevy Camaro ZL1 here.
GALLERY: 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1
[Source: Motor Authority]
All Chevrolet Camaro ZL1′s are being held back from dealer lots according to a letter sent from GM head office to its dealer network today. The letter cites a quality assessment which needs to take place before the ZL1 can be sold to consumers.
No specifics are talked about in the letter, but obviously a fairly serious issue must have been found on the ZL1 for GM to hold back such a highly anticipated car. The hold may last more than a few weeks, and will involve every single ZL1 produced to date.
The Letter, posted by GM Inside News, says “All Camaro ZL1 models produced to date are currently being held by General Motors for a quality assessment. At this moment, the duration of the hold is undetermined, and may last a few more weeks.”
Click back to AutoGuide.com for more information in the coming weeks.
[Source: GM Inside News]
The new Chevy Camaro ZL1 is full of surprises. GM is now promoting its newly-improved TapShift technology that the American automaker is claiming “performance car enthusiasts will experience the hands-on driving satisfaction of a ‘stick’ with the ease of an automatic transmission.”
“The faster you can get to the next gear, the better, and from the sound of it, the ZL1 automatic’s performance is going to make paddle shifting more exhilarating and satisfying for drivers of all skill sets,” said Eric Fedewa , director of Global Powertrain Forecasting at IHS Automotive. “We’re seeing a trend toward more manual-mode-capable, fun-to-drive automatic transmissions across all vehicle segments, and GM’s technology is leading the pack.”
Chevy is claiming that the 2012 ZL1 six-speed automatic can deliver a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is a tenth of a second faster than the manual transmission-equipped ZL1. For 2012, GM powertrain engineers have implemented a patent-pending software algorithm that improves “tap response time by 60-percent compared to the previous system.”
The new ZL1 Coupe will go on sale in spring as a 2012 model with the Convertible following in the summer as a 2013 model. Chevrolet is expecting that half of the ZL1 vehicles sold will be with an automatic transmission.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Rick Hendrick, owner of four NASCAR teams under Hendrick Motorsports, picked up the first Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in person at GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant yesterday as production of the 580-hp, 556 lb-ft of torque American sports car kicked off.
Hendrick is clearly a die-hard Camaro enthusiast, having purchased the first 2010 Camaro Coupe, the first 2011 Camaro Convertible and now the first Camaro ZL1 available for public sale all through Barrett-Jackson auctions. Even better, all three of his purchases had all proceeds benefiting local charities.
The first ZL1 to ever leave the production line features a black exterior with the optional Exposed Carbon Fiber Weaved Hood Insert and power Sunroof. The interior was packed with black leather with suede microfiber inserts on the seat and dash and also on the steering wheel and shift knob.
“Through a disciplined approach and a relentless focus on execution, the Oshawa team has worked efficiently to ensure a successful, high-quality launch of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1,” stated Dan Hermer, plant manager at the Oshawa Assembly Plant.
The Chevy Camaro ZL1 starts at $58,000.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Whittled down from all the cars in the world, a group of 66 automotive journalists from across the globe have released their top 10 picks for the 2012 World Car of the Year and World Performance Car.
That list, which will be further narrowed this month, is initially selected by secret ballot and then submitted for re-evaluation by the panel.
Members then have a chance to rate each car based on overall merit, value, safety, environmental responsibility, emotional appeal, and significance. The top three are then scheduled to be announced March 6 at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show during a press conference.
The 2011 World Car of the Year was the Nissan Leaf, while the World Performance Car was the Ferrari 458 Italia. What we’re most curious about this year is the fact that the Porsche 911 made it into both categories.
The 2012 World Performance Car finalists are:
- Audi RS 3 Sportback
- BMW 1 Series M Coupé
- BMW M5
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
- Ferrari FF
- Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
- McLaren MP4-12C
- Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG
- Mercedes-Benz C-63 Coupe AMG Black Series
- Porsche 911
The 2012 World Car of the Year finalists are:
- Audi A6 Sedan / Avant
- Audi Q3
- BMW 1 Series
- BMW 3 Series
- Chevrolet Volt / Opel/Vauxhall Ampera
- Citroen DS5
- Ford Focus
- Land Rover Evoque
- Porsche 911
- Volkswagen Up!
Be sure to tune in for our coverage of the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, where we’ll be bringing you the latest. Also, let us know what you think of both lists in the comments section below.
10: Audi TT RS
Classic car insurance company Hagerty has just released its annual list of vehicles that it expects will become the collector cars of the future. The list of “affordable” collector cars is capped at $100,000 and comes on the heels of the annual Scottsdale collector car auction week.
“After more than twenty years of witnessing car-collecting trends, we have the unique ability to look at new cars through the eyes of a collector,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “This year’s Hot List includes cars that are sure to develop a cult-like following because their characteristics resonate with driving enthusiasts.”
Starting off the list, and a favorite of ours is the Audi TT RS which retails for $56,850 and is a favorite amongst automotive enthusiasts as an affordable, fun ride without having to indulge into Porsche costs. The TT RS has plenty of global appeal which means it’ll have plenty of global demand down the road. And besides, Audi consistently finds itself at the Le Mans podium; you just can’t argue with success.
Sure, it was pretty comical to watch Adolf Hitler get upset over the announcement of Shelby’s GT500 trumping Chevy‘s Camaro ZL1 on paper, but now things have gotten pretty serious with Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser predicting that the ZL1 will be quicker to 60-mph than the GT500 and even calls out the GT500′s Nurburgring time.
“We’ve done simulations. We predict that the ZL1 will be quicker to 60 than the  GT500… We ran the Nürburgring and released a time. Ford took the GT500, too, and never released a time. I guess you can draw your own conclusions,” Oppenheiser said openly at an Arizona drive event for the Camaro ZL1.
Now on paper and for those that believe numbers never lie, the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 with 650-hp and 600 lb-ft of torque in a 3,850-lb body should easily outpace the Camaro ZL1′s 580-hp and 556 lb-ft of torque in a heavier 4,120-lb body. But Oppenheiser has no doubt that the ZL1 would be quicker around Nurburgring than the GT500.
It’s a bold claim surely, but it could be warranted given that the GT500 still features a solid rear-axle while the ZL1 sports all-independent suspension with third-generation Magnetic Ride shocks and a high-tech traction control system borrowed from the Corvette ZR1.
Hopefully it’ll get settled one day, ZL1 versus GT500 on a real track with the same driver. Until then, it’ll remain a war of the words.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
We could only imagine what Chevrolet was thinking about the Camaro ZL1 when the specs for the much more powerful Ford GT500 were released. Of course, Chevrolet took the high road of taking credit for inspiring the GT500′s power, but on the Internet, Ford vs. Chevrolet fanatics raged war as each came to the defense of their brand.
And then there’s this video. Quite possibly one of the top 10 best things on YouTube. Some very talented and clearly comedic individual took a clip out of the 2004 film Downfall, laid some cleverly written subtitles on it and Hitler suddenly does a fantastic job playing Chevrolet.
You see, Hitler’s all excited about debuting the Camaro ZL1 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, thinking it’s done a fine job besting the 550-hp GT500. Oh wait, the GT500 has 650-hp? Uh oh. Hilarity ensues and the references to Internet culture are abundant from thread size references to mocking Michael Bay and his Transformers movies. And of course you can’t end any video making fun of Chevrolet without jabbing the Volt.
Watch the hilarious video after the break – warning for subtitle language.
[Source: The Smoking Tire]
Chevrolet has announced pricing of their 2012 Camaro Zl1 at $54,095. Chevrolet claims that the car compares favorably to more expensive cars like the Audi R8 GT, Mercedes-Benz SLS and Maserati Gran Turismo, which cost between $122,800 and $196,800 based on available performance.
Of course, that suggestion is laughable, as those cars would never be cross-shopped and their respective demographics likely have a mutual enmity. By comparison, rivals like the Ford Shelby GT500 and Dodge Challenger SRT-8 392 retail for $48,645 and $42,780 respectively. The ZL1 will also hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 184 mph.
Often times people think that cars are just all about horsepower. Throw some more into it, add a couple of letters and a number to the model name, and sell it as a new model where everyone is just drooling over the performance.
But Chevrolet knew there’s more to just bragging about the 580-hp in the new Camaro ZL1, they knew that they had to thoroughly improve the aerodynamics to start making it a real impressive machine.
Maybe Chevrolet wanted to educate general consumers that the ZL1 was about more than just extra horsepower by releasing this video. Or maybe they just wanted to show off the hard work, research and technology that went into improving the ZL1′s aerodynamics helping to reduce drag and improve grip to net itself a 7:41.27 time on the Nurburgring.
The ZL1 is the fastest Camaro ever, with over 100 hours of testing and tuning the car’s front bumper, hood, front splitter, front tire deflectors, belly pans, rocker panels and rear spoiler. The result is a thoroughly tuned machine inside and out, and we can’t wait to see it perform once its on sale in 2012.
Check out the video after the break.
We’ve been teased with photos of Chevrolet‘s newest and meaning Camaro yet, the ZL1, but the manufacturer has been tight lipped on its complete specs…that is, until now. It seems that dealerships now have the full specs on the ZL1, with a leak getting posted on the Camaro5 forums revealing that it’ll be packing 580-hp and 556 lb-ft of torque in a 4120-lb body. It’s also worth noting that the Camaro ZL1 has already posted an impressive Nurburgring time of 7 minutes and 41 seconds. (See the video here).
Enthusiasts interested in the ZL1 will have a choice of nine colors (Black, Ashen Gray, Inferno Orange Metallic, Rally Yellow, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Victory Red and Crystal Red Tintcoat) to choose from, two wheel options (five-spoke and 10-spoke) in a 20-inch sizing, and the option of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. In addition to the standard four-pack console gauges seen in the existing Camaro SS, the ZL1 will also sport a boost gauge.
GALLERY: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
See the complete details after the jump:
According to General Motors’ PR machine, the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 set a Nurburgring lap time of 7 minutes, 41 seconds and 27 milliseconds.
For the sake of comparison that time is just a second and a half off the time released by the new 2012 Porsche 911 and is the same as the 997 Porsche GT3. The 2012 Corvette Z06 recently laid down a 7:22 lap time, while the current record holder for production cars is the Dodge Viper ACR with a 7:12 time.
We wish we were excited about this announcement, but knowing what a crock most Nuburgring times are, we’re remaining unmoved. The only accurate measure of its performance will be to actually drive the car, so until then, speculation on the ZL1′s performance will remain off-limits for us.
GALLERY: 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1
Taking a page from the Ford Mustang playbook, GM is set to launch a torrent of Chevrolet Camaro special editions on a bi-annual basis. After the Camaro ZL1 will be a special edition Camaro based on the car set to appear in the newest Transformers movie, followed by a replica Indy 500 pace car, and then a Camaro Synergy model, which will give V6 buyers all of the V8s performance upgrades sans the small-block mill – sort of like the previous Camaro RS models.
Those new models should carry the car through to 2014, but after that, it’s anyones guess. While so many variants may prove to be distracting, it’s also a cost effective way to keep the Camaro fresh long after the novelty of the car has worn off, and “early adopters” have snapped up the car during the initial excitement.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, is expected to have a base price of $47,000 when it launches in February, 2012. While it undercuts its chief rival, the Ford Shelby GT500 by about $2,495, a base Corvette, which has a 0-60 time of under 4 seconds, but only 430 horsepower, retails for $48,950. The Corvette also avoids the gas guzzler tax, which will likely plague the Camaro ZL1 and bring the effective price up to $48,500.
Of course, this begs the question as to why one would buy a ZL1. Obviously, the potential customer is heavily invested in the idea of a Camaro, and the Magnetic Ride Control and 550-horsepower supercharged V8 are a big draw. But with the Corvette being significantly lighter than the Camaro, and designed from the ground up as a sports car, the two are effectively within spitting distance of one another, and we can’t wait for the inevitable performance shootout.
[Source: Car and Driver]