It has become common place in recent years for an auto manufacturer to make a hardcore version of one of their sports car for track use. Tuned suspensions, aerodynamics packages and big power are the name of the game when it comes to these rides. Whether it be the Ford Mustang in GT350R spec or a Camaro ZL1 1LE, these sports cars are often referred to as race cars for the street. There is no doubt that these buttoned down models have hardware designed and tested at the race track, but how do they square up against real race cars? One sixth generation Camaro ZL1 1LE owner got to find out just that at Sonoma Raceway.
The Chevrolet Camaro in question is owned by professional racing coach Jeffery Cook, the man behind the YouTube channel Turn In Track Out. Based on his resume and the videos up on his channel, we are willing to say that he is rather quick behind the wheel. It is important to note that for the track day in question, Cook’s Camaro ZL1 1LE was on a set of Hoosier R7 tires, which are a track use only slick. The added level of grip that these tires provide over the 1LE’s standard Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber proved valuable when Cook found himself chasing down an IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Mercedes AMG GT4.
The GT4 spec cars that compete in the IMSA series are more akin to their road going counterparts than their GT3 class cousin. This AMG GT4 is essentially a Mercedes AMG GT R with enhanced aerodynamics, including a larger rear wing. Both the GT3 and GT4 cars share the same 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 that comes in the standard AMG GT, but the engine makes to 503 horsepower and a maximum of over 443 pound-feet of torque in GT4 spec. For comparison, the road legal AMG GT R puts out 577 horsepower and 513 pound-feet of torque with the same motor.
The AMG GT4 really sets itself apart from the road legal GT’s due to its GT3 inspired interior. The aircraft inspired center from the road car remains, however it is now entirely carbon and houses a number of race switches. Full racing buckets finished with a six point harness system round out this race ready interior.
While the Camaro ZL1 1LE has a massive power advantage over the GT4, as it makes 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, it is substantially heavier. This particular 1LE also has the six speed manual transmission equipped, which is slower to shift than the Mercedes’ six speed sequential box, as well as the optional 10-speed automatic Chevrolet offers from the factory. Despite the two cars being dramatically different in their approach, the resulting track session is definitely worth a watch, just below.