Chevy Camaro ZL1: 2017 Model Chases 200 mph Club

2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1 (Photo YouTube)
2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1 (Photo YouTube) /

The Camaro ZL1 is Chevy’s high-horsepower variant of the Camaro, and it now holds the title of the fastest Camaro to date.

The Chevy ZL1 attained this title by hitting an official top speed of 198 mph. That’s a solid 14 mph faster than the previous generation ZL1. Let’s take a look at what is required to achieve such a high top speed and how the 2017 Camaro ZL1 pulled it off.

Where did Chevy achieve this top speed run?

Chevy took the ZL1 to the High-Speed Oval at the Automotive Testing Papenburg GmBH proving ground in Germany. The High-Speed Oval consists of two 2.5 mile long straights, and two 1.3 mile-long turns. These sweeping turns are banked at a 49.7-degree angle. Because of these banked turns, Chevy test drivers were able to keep the ZL1 flat out through the entire oval.

How was the ZL1’s top speed recorded?

Chevy started by fitting the ZL1 with the obligatory safety and data recording equipment. When doing official top speed runs you have go flat out in both directions, take the top speeds of each, then average the two. This eliminates any outside factor affecting the top speed, thus giving you the best real world number. In the first direction, the ZL1 clocked a 202.3 mph top speed, then clocked a 193.3 mph in the second direction.

What made the ZL1 able to hit this top speed?

One factor is tires. The ZL1 comes equipped with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires. Chevy ran these tires at 44 psi for the top speed test. This is because high tire pressure is optimal for high-speed driving. General Motors’ highly acclaimed Magnetic Ride Control is another contributing factor.

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This feature scans the roadway 1000/sec and adjusts the dampers to give you the most stable ride possible. As for the power, the ZL1 has an LT4 6.2 liter supercharged V8 (derived from the C7 Corvette Z06) which produces 650 horsepower and 650-pound feet of torque. Chevy’s Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser stated:

"The ZL1 was developed with high-speed performance in mind, incorporating a balanced aerodynamic package that reduces lift without significantly affecting drag,"

This all means that you can go down to a Chevy dealership and get a 200 mph muscle car that has a starting price of just $63,435 if you opt for the manual transmission. For the top speed run, however, Chevy used the optional 10-speed automatic transmission which will increase the starting price to $65,830. This is an amazing bargain for such a capable vehicle.

Even further, Al Oppenheiser said:

"After testing the car in standard settings, which produced the 198-mph average, we set the front and rear camber adjustments to 0 degrees and the tire pressures to the maximum allowable sidewall pressure, and saw the ZL1 average over 200 mph."

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Engineers manage to keep making these vehicles better and better year after year. This is just one of many reasons why it’s such a good time to be a car lover.