It’s October, which means that it is time to sit back and peruse over the latest Car and Driver Lightning Lap times. The annual comparison test pits the very best performance cars against one another at the grueling Virginia International Raceway circuit. Cars from Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini duke it out to see who reigns supreme, but the Americans aren’t forgotten either. This year, Car and Driver featured the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE as America’s sole representative in the comparison, a challenge that we’re sure Chevrolet was willing to take.
The Camaro ZL1 1LE is the most hardcore version of the sixth-generation Camaro money can buy. Ladened with track focused aerodynamic treatments featuring carbon fiber, super sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires, and magical Multimatic DSSV dampers, the ZL1 1LE pack plenty of track-ready hardware. Combine all that with the supercharged 6.2L LT4 V8 engine under the hood, producing 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, and things get a little more serious. For this year’s iteration of Lightning Lap, the magazine opted to run a Camaro fitted with the optional 10 speed automatic transmission, in hopes of saving as much time as possible during the lap.
Despite the gobs of power on tap, the ZL1 1LE appears locked down on VIR, though a nice tap of the throttle appears to help the car rotate nicely in the mid-corner. That stability isn’t entirely surprising considering the massive 305 section tires at the front and 325 section units at the rear, which help the Camaro to put all of the power down when the going gets straight.
With Senior Editor Tony Quiroga at the wheel, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE ripped off an impressive lap time of 2:45.00 at Virginia International Raceway. That quick enough for the track-ready Camaro to dispatch the Ferrari 488 GTB’s time by .1 of a second, and just one second behind the time set by the mighty Lamborghini Huracan Performante. This ZL1 1LE is so fast in fact, that it sits just two seconds behind the 2017 Ford GT on VIR. That’s not bad company for any sports car, much less one that costs $76,380 as tested. Talk about bang for your buck. There are more kills to the Camaro’s name, and the full Lightning Lap list can be viewed here.
Since the C8 Corvette Stingray didn’t participate in LL2019 this year, we’ll leave it up to your imagination as to whether or not it could beat the King Camaro around VIR.
For more footage of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE dominating the road course, check out this video of one keeping up with a very-much-not-street-legal Mercedes AMG GT race car.