Aero Package May Enhance Handling, But It Cripples The Camaro ZL1 1LE’s Top Speed

In the world of performance cars, it’s often difficult to find a vehicle that produces huge levels of downforce while still having an impressive top speed unless it sports advanced active aerodynamics. Take the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, for example.

The ZL1 1LE is positioned as the most track-focused variant of the iconic American muscle car. It can lap a circuit at truly frightening speeds, shocking a supercar or two in the process.

Making the ZL1 1LE so much faster than the ‘standard’ ZL1 around a circuit is its aggressive aerodynamic package that includes a towering rear wing, sharp front splitter, and prominent canards. Chevrolet claims the regular ZL1 has a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h,) and this video shows that the 1LE just can’t get close to that mark.

Also Watch: 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE Goes Flat-Out During Half-Mile Speed Test

This red example was put to the test at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, where it ran down the 3.22-mile (5.15 km) long runway and hit a top speed of 178 mph (286 km/h). That’s fast, no doubt about it, but it is well down on the top speed of the ZL1 that doesn’t feature such crazy, and drag-inducing, aero add-ons. Evidently, if you want a Camaro with a top speed that you want to brag to your friends about, the ZL1 is the vehicle you want.

Powering both models is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 delivering 650 HP at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft (881 Nm) of torque at 3,600 rpm. Since aerodynamics only come at play at higher speeds, they need an identical 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph (96 km/h).


  • Jay

    A bit ironic ?

  • robotlogic

    Not to many people change their cars configuration from road course to drag strip so I don’t think it will be a big deal.

  • Ben

    The same is true for the Viper ACR which allegedly tops out at 177mph while the standard variant can reach 206mph. I think for most people, a vehicle with significant down force would be more beneficial. How many people are ringing out their vehicles to 200mph+ consistently(outside of Germany)? I’d assume more people are likely to track their vehicle where the down force would pay off considerably more.

  • john1168

    This is why companies have active aero on their cars. It would be too expensive to have on the Camaro but would be appropriate on the C8. It’s always a trade off. If you want to go fast in the turns, you’ll be slow in the straights. When ever you increase lift (downforce), you increase drag. And when you increase speed, drag increases exponentially. That’s why active aero is so important at higher speeds.

  • Harry_Wild

    Just get a supercar wing that is computer control. It comes out at certain speeds and angle is adjustable!

  • Lynn Dockey

    Mercedes is finding this out right now in F1. Ferrari has less drag and a higher straightaway speed.

  • Roger Kremer

    what does the 10-speed 1le top out at. the test car was a 6 speed

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