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The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is one of the final bleeding-edge, superpowered muscle cars the Bow Tie will produce before putting the nameplate out to pasture. Still, the ZL1 is far from the only modern performance option in Chevrolet’s library; the C8 Corvette is the brand’s first supercar-challenging mid-engine vehicle. So, is the ZL1 as fast as the C8 Corvette? Or is the brutally savage ZL1 hopeless to match the midengine ‘Vette’s refinement?

Why is the Camaro ZL1 so fast?

The latest Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s produce 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a supercharged 6.2L LT4 V8. As a result, the sixth-generation Camaro model is properly swift in a straight-line dash. Of course, the ZL1 finds its habitat among the apexes and chicanes of circuit work. 

In fact, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE posted one of the fastest times an American car has ever logged on the fabled Nürburgring. The 1LE’s 7:16.04 put it just behind the lighter and more powerful 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 around the “Green Hell.” Of course, the ZL1 1LE’s track competence is no surprise when you take the model’s corner-carving kit into account. For instance, the 1LE’s track package includes an adjustable suspension system, carbon fiber aplenty, and grippier tires. 

How much HP does a stock C8 Corvette have?

A red 2023 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray blasts down a desert road.
A C8 Corvette in the desert | General Motors

The C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray summons 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2L LT2 V8. However, without the dual-mode performance exhaust system, the C8 produces five fewer ponies. Still, 495 horsepower is enough to catapult the Stingray Z51 to 60 mph in under 3.0 seconds.

Of course, the Stingray Z51 is just the bottom of the C8’s food chain. The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 produces a stratospheric 670 horsepower from its high-revving 5.5L LT6 V8. Consequently, the musical Z06 will make the sprint to 60 mph in closer to two-and-a-half seconds. Further, while the Stingray is a properly capable car, the Z06 is a track day weapon. My opportunity to hit the track in the flat-plane supercar removed all doubt that a Corvette can’t put down lap times akin to pricier stock from tenured European marques.

Is the ZL1 faster than the C8?

Despite producing 155 fewer horsepower than the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the C8 Corvette will outsprint the sixth-gen muscle car model to 60 mph and the quarter mile by 0.6 and 0.3 seconds, respectively. 

Model0 to 60 mph¼ mile 300 ft SkidpadCurb weight
Camaro ZL1 1LE3.4 seconds11.5 seconds1.17 g3,886 lbs
Corvette Stingray Z512.8 seconds11.2 seconds1.03 g3,647 lbs

In Car and Driver’s testing, a ZL1 1LE with a 10-speed automatic transmission hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. As a result, the razor-sharp sixth-generation Camaro will outsprint a hellaciously powerful S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 to 60. However, while the lighter C8 will outsprint the ZL1, it won’t corner as hard as the track-bashing Camaro. 

Is the Camaro ZL1 discontinued?

Despite the ZL1 1LE’s dominance in the track-ready muscle car space, General Motors is discontinuing the iconic nameplate after 2024. Conversely, the Corvette will enjoy continued production and an incipient hybrid model.

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