Aaron Link takes on the Grand Course in the 1LE (Photo : General Motors)
Chevy is bragging that the 2013 Camaro 1LE has lapped the Virginia International Raceway "Grand Course" in 2:58:34.
The feat, which Chevy claims as belonging until now to much more expensive performance vehicles, was carried out with Camaro engineer Aaron Link behind the wheel.
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Al Oppenheiser, Camaro's chief engineer, said in a statement, "To break a three-minute lap on the four-mile Grand Course is an incredible accomplishment for any car. Like the Nurburgring, at VIR there's never a moment when the car rests at steady state. Each lap tests every aspect of a car, including power, brakes, steering, tire grip, and chassis balance."
Earlier this year, Aaron Link drove a 2012 Camaro ZL1 Coupe around the Grand Course with an even more impressive time of 2:52.4. The ZL1 however, is the higher-grade Camaro, and has a starting cost of $54,995.
The 1LE package is an option for the 1SS and 2SS coupes with manual transmission, and costs $3,500 for a total starting price of $37,035.
"The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and the ZL1 with a focus on handling," Oppenheiser said. "We optimized every part of the SS for improved track driving, including gear ratios, suspension tuning, and chassis mounts. The result really brings the Camaro SS alive at every turn - whether you're carving through your favorite backroads or working on lap times on the track."
Best of all, the Camaro 1LE is $10,000 less than its nearest competitor, he said, making it an excellent buy for a driver in the market for a performance car.
The car Aaron Link drove on the track was a Camaro SS with the 1LE package, built to production specifications and modified with only a race seat and roll cage. The test session was carried out in the early morning with temperatures approaching 90 degrees.
"Like the ZL1, the 1LE is very easy to drive fast, and its performance is very consistent," Link said in a statement. "Even in the hot, humid conditions through a tank of fuel, there were no issues with brake fade, changes in grip, or powertrain performance."
"One of the best sections in the 1LE is the Climbing Esses," he said. "They are a series of four quick turns, as the track climbs uphill, that tend to upset the balance of most production cars. The 1LE offers such neutral balance, and tenacious grip, that I could charge into the Esses at nearly 125 mph and steer the car with the throttle to carry a tremendous amount of speed through the Esses. That would not be possible in a car that wasn't as confidence-inspiring as the 1LE."