Super-Fast Stock Chevy Camaro ZL1

One of the magic numbers in drag racing is having a car that will run the quarter-mile in under 12 seconds and that?s exactly what a showroom-stock Camaro ZL1 will do.

In tests run by Chevy engineers recently, both the manual and automatic transmission versions of the Camaro ZL1 ran the quarter mile in under 12 seconds.? The automatic did an 11.93-second/116-mph quarter-mile elapsed time and the 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?N?rburgring?in 7:41.27 ? all with the street-legal, factory-issued components.

?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.?

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 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.?

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 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.

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.