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 |  Mar 27 2012, 10:40 AM

As if there weren’t enough possibilities for the Chevrolet Camaro already, the automaker announced today that it will introduce a new 1LE performance package to further augment the already-muscular Camaro SS coupe.

“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.”

Popular it is, given the recent announcement that between the Camaro and Corvette, Chevrolet sports cars control a third of the U.S. market segment. As Fitzpatrick said, the automaker hopes to continue boosting that control by offering a growing line of specialized cars.

That’s where the 1LE comes in: it’s a Camaro SS coupe with unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that make the car track-ready to the tune of more than 1 g in lateral acceleration. Chevrolet says the latest iteration of its pony car ran a sub three-minute lap at Virginia International Raceway, where we recently tested the new ZL1 Camaro.

“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.”

Perhaps more interesting than performance specifications alone, Chevrolet is taking preemptive measures to ensure customers have the chance to actually enjoy their purchase. The trouble with buying a high-power pony car is that owners seldom have legal outlets for all that power. Thankfully, the automaker thought of that and is already working on Touring Class competition approval from the SCCA with the 1LE package. Once accomplished, that classification will mean the new package is a race-ready track car form the factory, and for a bargain price.

Aside from the modifications listed above, the 1LE comes with a litany of ZL1-spec parts including a stronger fuel pump, 20×10-inch aluminum wheels and improved suspension components. For the most part, modifications that make the 1LE are in place to improve traction, so Chevrolet also packaged higher-capacity rear-axle half shafts to cope with the stress that comes with added grip.

Originally introduced in 1988, the 1LE package returns this fall with the 2013 Camaro release.

GALLERY: 2012 ZL1 Camaro

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