If you’ve always been keen on the idea of Chevrolet’s Camaro Z/28 but never had the $70,000-plus on hand to put down for one, Chevy offered another option. It was the Camaro SS 1LE and would outfit your lesser Camaro with a few doo-dads to make it more track-ready, but without the huge monetary investment required by the Z/28. From Chevy:
The 1LE package was developed in 1988 to make the Camaro more competitive in Showroom Stock road racing series and officially debuted in 1989. Four examples were reportedly built in 1988; with 111 built in 1989. The 1LE package was also featured on fourth-gen vehicles through the 1999 model year, returning to the fifth-gen Camaro in 2013.
Still, the Camaro SS’s thirsty V8 came at a premium. So for 2017, Chevrolet is offering the 1LE package for V6-powered Camaros too. Don’t worry, it’s still available for the V8-powered SS also.
Optional for the Camaro 1LT or 2LT coupes with the 3.6 liter V6, the 1LE package adds more aggressive suspension tuning, standard Brembo brakes, and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, allowing the LT 1LE to pull an estimated 0.97G in cornering grip. Available Recaro seats will keep you planted through the corners, and an available Performance Data Recorder will allow you to view and share your track experience, Chevy said.
That’s all well and good, and it’s great that Chevy is offering that option for its entry-level powerplant. The Camaro isn’t like an R8, or a Porsche 911 Turbo, where they’ll primarily be used in fair-weather weekend outings; as it’s one of America’s blue-collar drag strip kings, many use Camaros (or Mustangs, Challengers, etc.) as primary commuters also. Serving the 1LE package on the 3.6 liter V6 allows those drivers to take advantage of the better fuel economy on the commute, but still enjoy the track as much as the next guy.
Well, maybe not as much. See, if you do opt for the SS 1LE, Chevy will throw in magnetic ride control with a new FE4 suspension tuning and a new electronic limited slip differential (eLSD), the only one in the segment so far. It’ll pull over 1G on the lateral skidpad.
“The result delivers better performance in all measures,” said Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser. “In our development tests, the V-6 Camaro 1LE delivers lap times comparable with the previous-gen V-8 model. The 2016 Camaro SS 1LE sets the new benchmark for the segment, lapping the Big Willow track at Willow Springs three seconds faster than the standard Camaro SS.”
“With a curb weight under 3,500 pounds, excellent front-to-rear weight balance and the precision of the FE3 suspension, the Camaro LT 1LE offers unmatched capability in its class,” said Oppenheiser. “As a result, it offers incredible performance for Camaro V-6 customers.” The SS’s weight wasn’t mentioned, but it likely won’t be too much heavier. Both cars get new front and rear splitters, trunklid spoilers, and some sweet satin black hoods.
Engine specs stay stock (335 horsepower and 455 horsepower for the V6 and V8, respectively), and pricing will likely be revealed closer to launch, but we don’t expect it to add more than a couple grand to each model. So if you’re looking for a more affordable and more forgiving alternative to the Z/28, Chevy’s got your back.