The ZL1 1LE has brought the Camaro to new heights, but chief engineer Al Oppenheiser isn't done yet. Speaking to , Oppenheiser outlined some of his next goals for the Chevy pony car. Among them? A sub-seven-minute Nürburgring lap time, and possibly a street-legal drag-racer.
The subject of Nürburgring laps came up when Hagerty asked if the ZL1 1LE could beat any of the Dodge Viper ACR's 13 US road-course lap records. "We think there’s more in it," he told Hagerty. "We’re going to keep tinkering around with it. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a Camaro under 7:00 at the Nurburgring? I’d like to see it."
Last summer, the ZL1 1LE ran a 7:16.04 around the Nürburgring, 13 seconds quicker than the regular ZL1. Shaving an additional 16 seconds off that time would be a huge task. Maybe the ZL1 1LE could get carbon-ceramic brakes, just like the prototype we spotted a few weeks ago in suburban Michigan.
When Hagerty asked if the ZL1 1LE marks the pinnacle of the Camaro lineup, Oppenheiser hinted at the possibility of an even-faster Camaro—perhaps something akin to a Dodge Demon competitor.
"Who said we capped the line? We did for the moment," Oppenheiser said. "We’re looking at performance drag packs for the street, we’re looking at any available horsepower that will fit in the car, trying to stay relevant and on top. That’s a very vague way of saying we’re still playing. There’s a lot of bandwidth to play in this segment."
Related to to a "drag pack" Camaro, Oppenheiser mentioned how his team collaborated with Chevy's Performance Parts division when working on the new ZL1. Apparently, the Performance Parts crew was tasked with durability testing the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Try as they did, they never managed to break it, Oppenheiser said.
The Camaro boss also hints at some good news for the opposite end of the Camaro spectrum. He says his team is working with Chevrolet Performance on some upgrade parts and packages for the Camaro's base turbocharged four-cylinder.
Today's Camaro lineup offers a wide variety of performance, but clearly, Oppenheiser sees more potential for the car. We can't wait to see what he's got in mind.