06. We got the chance to hammer on some factory-fresh 1LE Camaros at GingerMan Raceway (South Haven, Michigan), and we were impressed with how much faster and confident the car felt compared to SS Camaros we’ve piloted in the past. Earlier, GM took the new 1LE to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for some track testing. “To break a 3-minute lap on the four-mile long Grand Course is an incredible accomplishment for any car,” Oppenheiser said. “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 in the year Camaro engineer Aaron Link drove a ’12 Camaro ZL1 Coupe around the Grand Course in 2:52.4. Link’s 2:58.37 lap time in the 1LE further demonstrates the Camaro’s capabilities on a road course.”
07. The ZL1-based 20x10 and 20x11 aluminum wheels come bathed in black and are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle Supercar G2 tires. These are the front tires from the ZL1 (285/35-20), and GM found that the car was much faster with the 285s on the rear due to the car’s weight balance compared to the wider ZL1 rubber. The brakes are the same as the SS, but the calipers have been given an attractive coat of red paint.
08. While the Camaro SS utilizes a Tremec TR6060-M10 transmission, the Camaro 1LE features an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6. Paired with a numerically higher 3.91 final-drive ratio, the close-ratio gearing of the transmission is tuned for road racing performance. The 1LE, just like the ZL1, uses a standard liquid-to-liquid cooling system for track use.
09. The 1LE features exclusive monotube rear dampers instead of the twin-tube dampers on the SS model. This new hardware allowed engineers to tune the 1LE suspension to focus on optimal body-motion control while preserving much of the ride quality and wheel-motion control found in the SS. The 1LE also has a unique rear spoiler that aids in downforce.
10. For 2013, the 1LE package is offered only on 1SS and 2SS coupe models and features the 6.2L LS3 V-8, which is rated at 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. For additional chassis stiffness, a strut tower brace has been borrowed from the drop-top Camaro.
11. Inside, the 1LE package incorporates the ZL1’s flat-bottom steering wheel, which is trimmed in suede microfiber and designed for easier heel-and-toe driving on the racetrack. The quick-acting, short-throw, shifter from the ZL1 is also trimmed in suede microfiber. Also new for 2013 in most all Camaros is the integrated touch screen center cluster that has navigation as an additional option.
So it’s 2011 and some gearheads over at GM are thinking about the good old days, when a light bulb clicked on. “Why not bring back the 1LE option for the newest Camaro?” After all, it made perfect sense and this would be just the ticket to help the SS Camaro take down its newest nemesis: the Boss 302 Mustang.
This time around the 1LE package adds $3,500 to the price of a ’13 SS Camaro, and like the 1LE of decades ago, it can only be applied to those equipped with a manual transmission. Do the math and you can get a ’13 1LE Camaro for $37,035, which is way less expensive than the Boss 302. “The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and the ZL1, with a focus on handling,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “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 at the track. Best of all, the Camaro 1LE is $10,000 less than its nearest competitor. For drivers looking for an affordable way to get on the track, what they save with the 1LE will the cover a lot of days at the track.”
1989 1LE Camaro rundown
- Level 1 IROC-Z with 5.0 TPI engine with five-speed or 5.7 TPI engine
- Optional axle ratio (G92) (305/3.45, 350/3.27) and its required options
- Air conditioning delete (C41) (standard heater)
- Foglamp delete
- Aluminum driveshaft (JG1) (PN 10085375)
- Performance exhaust system with dual catalytic converters (N10)
- Special deflected disc shocks
- Lower control arms (PN 10164151)
- Larger (11.86 inch) front rotors (PN 18016035)
- Larger front spindles (PN 18016737 and 18016738)
- PBR front, dual-piston aluminum calipers (PN 10132827 and 10132828)
- Special swinging fuel pickup in gas tank and special 18-gallon baffled fuel tank for fuel pickup down to 0.5-gallon reserve to prevent fuel starvation in hard cornering.
- Some came with special 16x8 light alloy mesh wheels (XWL)
2013 1LE Camaro rundown
- Larger 27mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28mm solid rear stabilizer bar for improved body control
- Strut tower brace for improved steering feel and response
- ZL1-based 20x10 front, 20x11 aluminum wheels
- 285/35-ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G2 tires, front and rear
- ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links, and rear shock mounts for improved on-track performance
- ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump and additional fuel pickups for improved fuel delivery during high cornering
- Visually, the 1LE package for 2013 is distinguished by its matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler, as well as the black 10-spoke ZL1-based wheels.
- The functional front splitter and rear spoiler contribute to the car’s on-track performance by helping to reduce aerodynamic lift at high speeds.