Okay, now this is an ‘oh my damn’ moment for me, as well as the new Camaro ZL1. The regular V6 and SS Camaro models are fat slobs that know how to work themselves around a race track about as well as I know my way around a gym. It’s that bad. The Camaro is fast, don’t get me wrong. But it’s weight overpowers its chassis, steering and gearbox so much from the way I’ve driven it.

Here’s something interesting, however. When the Camaro ZL1 was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year I was impressed with the looks, the nicer steering wheel and shift knob, as well as what seemed to be a dedicated commitment to chassis development. And because of the prowess that GM has shown, as well as Aaron Link, GM’s secret weapon in chassis perfection, the new Camaro ZL1 has lapped the world famous Nürburgring in Germany at a ludicrous 7 minutes and 41.27 seconds.

And for the record, I didn’t believe this news when I saw it earlier, and I wasn’t going to believe nor post it until I had a video and a press release, both of which we have now. But now we know that the Camaro ZL1 is one bad ass American monster.

Wait, W-T-F?! Is this really true? I mean, the Camaro SS was a slow poke at 8:20, or some 2 seconds faster than a 2001-2006 E46 BMW M3. The SS Camaro has a 6.2-liter V8 making 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque in manual spec. The E46 m3 had a 3.2-liter inline-6 making 333 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The M3 weighed about 3500 lbs, while the SS weighs in at around 3800-3900 lbs.

The Camaro ZL1 makes its case with the same supercharged LSA motor that the CTS-V and ZR1 make do, however it puts out 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque (24 more horsepower than the V and 58 less than the ZR1).

So now the ball’s in your court, Ford. It’s time to either step up to the plate with the GT500, or just go away. I’d recommend making a Boss 302 Nürburgring Edition with similar power and torque numbers to replicate the time of the ZL1.

Let’s take a second to see how fast 7:41 actually is, though.

  • 7:40 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
  • 7:40 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
  • 7:40 Porsche 911 GT3 997MkII
  • 7:40 Mercedes SLS AMG
  • 7:40.76 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
  • 7:41.23 Porsche 911 Turbo S
  • 7:41.27 Camaro ZL1

  • 7:42.99 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 (First C6 Z06 test from 2005. 2012 model tested at 7:22.68)
  • 7:44 Audi R8 V10
  • 7:46 Lamborgini Gallardo Superleggera
  • 7:47 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
  • 7:47 Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 E-gear
  • 7:48 BMW M3 GTS
  • 7:50 BMW M3 CSL
  • 7:50 Porsche 911 Carrera
  • 7:55 Ferrari F430 F1
  • 7:56 Porsche Panamera Turbo
  • 7:59 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z51
  • 7:59 Cadillac CTS-V

Press Release:

Camaro ZL1 Laps Nurburgring in 7:41.27

DETROIT – The 2012 Camaro ZL1 recently recorded a 7:41.27 lap at the Nurburgring. That is nearly 40 seconds quicker than a Camaro SS tested at the legendary German track in 2009. Measuring 12.9 miles (20.8 km) and including some 154 turns, the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife (“north loop”) is widely considered the world’s most-demanding course.

The Camaro ZL1 used for the lap was a production-intent model, with no performance modifications, driven by Camaro Performance Engineer Aaron Link. The Camaro ZL1 recorded its time of 7:41.27 from a flying start.

“The Nurburgring is unlike any track in the world,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “Each lap includes fast straights, sweeping off-camber turns, hairpin corners, and elevation changes. In order to do well on the ‘Ring, the car has to do everything well – including acceleration, braking, and lateral grip. Breaking an eight-minute lap in a 2+2 production car is a tremendous accomplishment, and validates that the Camaro ZL1 will truly be track-ready from the showroom.”

More than 30 percent of the Camaro SS was re-engineered for the Camaro ZL1, which arrives at U.S. dealerships in the first quarter of 2012.

The Camaro ZL1 features a supercharged 6.2L “LSA” engine SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm) – making it the most-powerful production Camaro ever. Power is delivered to the rear wheels by either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The ZL1’s power is complemented by exclusive performance technologies, including the third-generation of Magnetic Ride suspension and Performance Traction Management.

Additional track-ready features standard on the Camaro ZL1 include coolers for the engine, transmission and rear differential, cooling ducts for the Brembo brakes, and a high-performance fuel system delivers fuel to the LSA engine under any performance-driving condition.

“The ZL1’s full capability is evident at the Nurburgring,” said Link. “One of the best moments is coming through ‘Fuchsröhre’, or Foxhole. The ZL1 accelerates at an unbelievable rate down through the tunnel of trees, and into a sweeping left-hand corner flat out in fifth gear. You have to have an extremely well-mannered, confidence-inspiring car to take any corner at 160 mph without lifting off the throttle – and the ZL1 was just brilliant.”

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

[Source: General Motors]