With delivery of the 2017 Camaro ZL1 slated to begin any month now, we can hardly contain ourselves. And even less so now that Chevrolet has dropped this video of the ZL1 running around the famed Green Hell in a scant 7:29.60. To put that number in perspective, it is 11.67 seconds faster than its predecessor, 7.87 seconds faster than the outgoing fifth-gen Z/28, and just 10 seconds slower than the C6 ZR1.
We knew that the car would be a beast on the track, but the time it just turned in ranks it as the 30th fastest production car to have ever been around the Nordschleife, bumping the Mercedes SLS AMG GT to 31st and slotting in right behind the Porsche Carrera GT—if that’s not good company to be in, we don’t know what is.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is that it crushed the Ford Shelby GT350R’s time of 7:32.19 by 2.59 seconds, making it by far the fastest musclecar to have ever lapped the Nurburgring. And, not to discredit the amazing accomplishment just achieved by the ZL1, it makes us curious as to just how fast the upcoming, hyper-track-focused Z/28 will be. With a time like that, there is a solid argument to be made that the incoming Z/28 will be faster than it’s big brother Corvette—at least in some trim levels. With a base price of just $62,000, we’re not sure how you could ever lose.
Is the ZL1 being groomed to be a front-engined, RWD Corvette alternative as C8/Zora moves mid-engine and up market? Sure as hell seems like it.
The biggest news here just may be that Chevrolet has finally returned to the ‘Ring after what some have seen as a substantial hiatus from all things Green Hell. We’re still waiting to see if Chevrolet will ever release an official number for the C7 Z06 after rumors abounded that it had completed the task in just 6:59.13—which would put it in company with the Porsche 918.
All Nordschleife manufacturer record-setting attempts, however, were put on hold after a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 went airborne coming over a crest and flew into a crowd of spectators where it killed one and injured several others in March of 2015. Speed limits were introduced shortly there after, dashing any manufacturers’ hopes of setting a record. Since then, the limits have been lifted and it appears that Chevrolet is back in full swing putting new performance variants through their paces as the infamous track.
The video itself is almost mind bending to watch, as Drew Cattel, a ride and handling engineer for the Camaro and designated hot foot, takes some of the corners at over 140 mph. Also of interest is he leaves the car’s new 10-speed automatic transmission—which was co-developed with Ford and is making its debut in the ZL1—in drive and never once touches the paddles as he peddles the car around the notoriously harsh twisties. The Magnetic Ride Control seem to be doing its job, keeping the car planted at ridiculous rates of speed and over tarmac that is known to be less than ideal.
The six piston Brembos, clamping down on 15.35-inch rotors, seem to be easily reigning in every pony of the substantial 650 horsepower arsenal the ZL1 possesses and show no signs of fading or even a hint of distress—nor does the driver. The video is hypnotizing and makes us wonder if we would have the testicular fortitude to drive the car at even half the speed that Cattel does. In fact, we need a change of underwear after just watching this thing. So if you’ll excuse us…