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Old 08-30-2018, 10:47 PM   #1
Skylab
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Default 2019 Camaro 1LE: First Drive

2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE First Drive: Point Me to the Corners

The little 2.0-liter finally gets its track legs





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As I exit a corner with my foot nailed to the floor and all the nannies switched off, I can't help but mutter to myself, "So much grip." The new 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE oozes it. The car combines the 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and the wizardry of the famed 1LE Performance package, which is a thing of beauty, even with the least powerful engine option. The ZL1, SS, and V-6 have had their turn; now it's time for the base engine to get the track treatment.



Producing 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, the Turbo 1LE isn't a straight-line speed brute, though Chevrolet claims a pretty quick 5.4-second 0-60 run. Instead, it shines in the corners. During my time in our former long-term 2016 Camaro SS, power oversteer was a worry when pushing the V-8 version hard through corners. But this isn't the case with the Turbo 1LE. I found myself eagerly applying full throttle exiting corners, not fearing the worst. If I'd driven the SS that way, the ditch on the side of the road would've been my next stop. You might miss the power of a larger engine on a straight stretch of road, but the coupe makes that up with impressive cornering control. Three sports cars with "low" power outputs and superior cornering capability come to mind: the Mazda Miata, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota 86. But the Camaro is quicker and more powerful than those three and has a lower starting price than their top trims. If you're curious, the above SS hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and produces 455 hp from its 6.2-liter V-8.

The $4,500 1LE package (available on all LT trims) gets you Camaro SS suspension components, including larger-diameter front and rear stabilizer bars, uniquely tuned dampers, stiffer rear cradle bushings, and upgraded rear toe links designed to improve lateral stiffness. The goodies continue with lightweight 20-inch forged aluminum wheels shod in Goodyear Eagle F1 Run Flat summer tires (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear), a mechanical limited-slip differential, track cooling package (engine oil, differential, and transmission coolers), short-throw shifter, dual-mode exhaust system, an upgraded fuel system borrowed from the SS (for high-load cornering), and Touring, Sport, and Track drive modes. If that's not enough, Competition mode enables launch control and displays performance instrument readouts and shift lights. Recaro seats, a suede-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, and a suede-covered gear shifter are extra. Outside, you won't find "Turbo" or "1LE" badging. Instead, the hood, front splitter, and three-piece spoiler are wrapped in satin black, distinguishing the Turbo 1LE from other, less track-focused Camaros.


To get us behind the wheel of the Camaro Turbo 1LE, Chevrolet invited us to drive a picturesque 60-mile route from our hotel in Renton, Washington, to Ridge Motorsports Park, where a 16-turn, 2.47-mile road course was waiting for us. On the way there, the 1LE provided good ride comfort, better than the Camaro SS. I expected an overly stiff ride given the performance suspension, but I was happily surprised. The throws from the Tremec six-speed manual (the only available transmission, and rightly so) are short and precise, which is a good thing because I found myself downshifting a gear or two whenever I passed on the freeway or simply to pick up some speed due to the transmission's tall gears. Sixth gear should be used strictly for cruising, not for passing. But 30 mpg highway is nice (20 mpg city). Turbo lag doesn't help the situation, and it's noticeable since peak torque hits a little late at 3,000 rpm (and lasts until 4,500 rpm). Still, Chevrolet claims that 90 percent of torque is available below 2,000 rpm. Why not 100 percent? Many modern turbo engines hit max torque below 2,000 rpm. Plenty of road noise seeps into the cabin. If you don't like it, about your only choice is to tack on the optional Bose audio system and crank it up.

With the scenic drive over, it was time for the track. Before I set out, I inserted an SD card into the optional Performance Data Recorder slot for later viewing. On the track, it's hard to find many faults with the coupe. Almost nonexistent body roll provides for crisp and confident turn-in, and the chassis is rock-solid. Over- and understeer almost never happened unless purposely induced, something that put a smile on my face the few times I did it. Steering felt similar to that of the SS, heavy but quite telepathic. The front four-piston Brembo calipers—borrowed from the SS—bite hard and help bring the sports car to a stop from 60 mph in a Chevrolet-claimed 112 feet, not bad for a car weighing at least 3,350 pounds. Braking power never seemed to fade and the Recaro seats offered plenty of lateral support and comfort during our numerous runs.



Moving at a very quick pace, we stayed in third gear for most of the lap, only going to second gear once or twice and hitting fourth at the end of the long straightaway. Automatic rev-matching is not available, so ready your heel-and-toe action. I never noticed the engine temperature creeping up, even though we were at wide-open throttle for a significant amount of time. This shouldn't come as a surprise because Camaro engineers claim the Turbo 1LE can survive 24 hours of cumulative track time in 35-minute sessions (not counting consumables like tires and brakes). Furthermore, due to the engine's efficiency, the Camaro can potentially run on a track for 60 minutes using a single tank of gas. Don't expect that from the V-8.

The starting price of $30,995 is a performance bargain that could potentially turn the heads of hot-hatch buyers, Chevy's surprising target market. That's correct: The maker of some of the most famous examples of American muscle wants to attract Golf R, WRX STI, Focus RS, and Civic Type R buyers to the lineup. The Camaro is a little short on horsepower but has a lower starting price than the above four-doors. If it had competed in our latest hot-hatch comparison, the claimed 0-60 time would have fallen midpack. Furthermore, some potential hot-hatch buyers might appreciate the Turbo 1LE's non-boy-racer look. Chevy could be onto something. The Camaro's latest track-happy example is a sports car gem: You can comfortably cruise to work in morning traffic and take it to the track afterward to blow off some steam. Let's hope Chevrolet never stops cranking out these fun machines.

https://www.motortrend.com/cars/chev...78419904A459F9
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:29 AM   #2
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They should sell about 14 of these. Im all for turbo 4’s, but not in this case. Ill take the 6.2L.
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Old 08-31-2018, 03:55 AM   #3
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Does this motor take well to a tune and mods?
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Old 08-31-2018, 08:03 AM   #4
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I outran one of these the other day. Not a 2019, obviously. 2016ish. The power numbers are there, pretty solid for a 2.0T, but not for a car like this. Too heavy.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
https://youtu.be/DfxQFRCotkc

Does this motor take well to a tune and mods?
Yes. Not sure if you care about or follow SCCA autocross, but the GM autocross team has been campaigning a Turbo 1LE, SS 1LE, and ZL1 1LE at numerous events around the midwest and generally win their individual classes. Most recently they took the cars to the SCCA CAM challenge in Indiana. My friend on the team said they turned up the wick on the turbo car. The engine tune won't last very long, but they are cranking out enough power that the 4-cyl 1LE took 1st and 2nd in class, ahead of GM's own SS 1LE and ZL1 1LE. That 1st in class was also 4th overall on the index results, out of 173 entries. A bone stock turbo Camaro in the same class was 2.5 seconds slower...and that's a driver who is likely to challenge for 1st in class in D Street at Nationals this weekend.
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Obviously Tyler View Post
I outran one of these the other day. Not a 2019, obviously. 2016ish. The power numbers are there, pretty solid for a 2.0T, but not for a car like this. Too heavy.
Was this in your WRX?

The curb weight starts at 34xx lbs for the Camaro 2.0T which is not far off from the WRX, especially higher trims.

The packaging is there: relatively light ( for a pony car), turbo, RWD, great chassis, MT available. But there are some issues that is going to limit its sales: It's in a Camaro body (you know the arguments: V8 heritage, visibility, controversial redesign, blah blah blah...), and too close in price to the V6 1LE.

That said I probably would choose the 2.0T over the V6 since I live at altitude.
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:21 PM   #7
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Was this in your WRX?

The curb weight starts at 34xx lbs for the Camaro 2.0T which is not far off from the WRX, especially higher trims.

The packaging is there: relatively light ( for a pony car), turbo, RWD, great chassis, MT available. But there are some issues that is going to limit its sales: It's in a Camaro body (you know the arguments: V8 heritage, visibility, controversial redesign, blah blah blah...), and too close in price to the V6 1LE.

That said I probably would choose the 2.0T over the V6 since I live at altitude.
Yeah my WRX. Which the only notable mods are lighter wheels and a decent alignment. So consider me surprised, my guess was he was trying to keep up but not really trying.

I'm a HUGE fan of the 6th gen because of all the handling upgrades it received. Even more so the 1LE cars.

But you're 100% right, the V8 exists. So it's hard to love the 2.0T. One of my close friends recently picked up a 2SS and after being in it I can't imagine driving one that only has the acceleration capability of my WRX.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:21 PM   #8
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Not my cup of tea but any time a big company wants to focus on offering a REAL sport package in any motor options (Remember the Z24 days) I'll support the idea.

With the GT4R Camaro being supported it is nice to see a "cheaper" option that handles well even if it isn't putting down 400+ HP.
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Not my cup of tea but any time a big company wants to focus on offering a REAL sport package in any motor options (Remember the Z24 days) I'll support the idea.

With the GT4R Camaro being supported it is nice to see a "cheaper" option that handles well even if it isn't putting down 400+ HP.
A quick Google search suggests that with an exhaust upgrade and a turbo swap the 2.0T Camaro will get damn close to 400hp.

I suppose all things considered it's just like most other small displacement forced induction 4-cylinder engines. Unlike the STi it actually has decent throttle response. So maybe more like an Evo, except it's RWD with a better weight distribution and not a ****subishi...so better all around .
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:25 AM   #10
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Default Autoweek Test Drive

019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE first drive: Budget track toy

The 1LE four does its best work on the circuit

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Cheap performance cars are a blessing for enthusiasts. If those cars are track-ready from the showroom … well, that’s even better. Enter the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE. For just a hair under $32,000, you can have exactly that.

If you’re familiar with the V6 1LE package Chevy has offered the last couple years, then this one won’t be a surprise. Power-wise, the Turbo 1LE still has the base car’s 2.0-liter turbo producing 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is the only choice -- rightfully so. Chevy pairs a mechanical limited-slip differential with a 3.27 ratio with the 1LE pack, as well.

The additional cooling and suspension is really where this car starts to differentiate itself. It uses engine oil, differential and transmission coolers to keep everything at the proper operating temperatures when being flogged around the track. A modified SS suspension keeps everything planted to the ground. Chevy calls it the FE3 suspension and it includes larger diameter front and rear antiroll bars, stiffer dampers, stiffer rear cradle bushings and cross-axis ball joints in the rear toe links. The staggered SS summer tires get called upon as well -- 245/40R-20s in front and 275/35R-20s in the rear.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro: 1LE everything, add a 10 speed and a fresh face


CAR NEWS 2019 Chevrolet Camaro: 1LE for all, plus a 10-speed and a fresh face
Bringing the 3,354-pound Camaro to a stop are four-piston Brembos clamping onto the front rotors and one-piston Brembos on the rears. Track pads ensure you won’t need to add a single thing before chucking it out onto a racetrack post-purchase. A perfectly sculpted suede flat-bottom steering wheel and shift knob are standard with the 1LE, and Recaro seats are available as an option – we highly recommend checking this box if you’re planning on spending any amount of time on the track.

Of course, Chevy changed the styling on the entire Camaro lineup for 2019. We can probably all agree it looks worse than before – especially the Silverado-esque front face on the SS. Thankfully it’s worlds better on the Turbo and V6 models, but still somehow feels overdone. Everything, and we mean everything, appears to have received the “black-out” treatment for the 1LE. Black Bowtie badges, black RS badges, black wheels, black mirror caps, black spoiler and front lip, black taillights and even a blacked-out third rear brake light make it feel like it’s trying way too hard. If that’s your thing, though, you’ll love the commitment to the theme here. One part of the all-black treatment we can get behind is the hood. Only the 1LE models have it, and it’s a perfect, subtle way to differentiate it from the rest of the Camaro lineup.


The four-cylinder 2019 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE is the track ready special.

The Execution

The Ridge Motorsports Park, more commonly referred to as “The Ridge,” is a 16-turn, 2.47 mile road course and is a little under two hours from Seattle.

We tap the traction control button twice to turn on “Competition Mode.” This activates the performance instrument readouts, shift lights and if you have an SD card, the Performance Data Recorder. Those shift lights come in handy later…

The first thing you’ll notice about lapping the Turbo 1LE is how easy and approachable it is. Since the rear wheels are dealing with less than 300 hp, you really have to try to get it out of line compared to an SS. That being the case, I was wanting for more power almost instantly on the asphalt.

As I come screaming around the long carousel-like corner at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Washington state, the Turbo 1LE reveals itself to be supremely balanced. Ed Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer, says Chevy was able to get the weight distribution dangerously close to 50/50 on the four-cylinder since there’s even less weight out front.

Those shift lights in the heads-up display blink red at you right around 6,000 rpm, and for good reason. Beyond that is the 7,000 rpm redline, but more importantly, peak power is made at 5,600 rpm. This is fine for the street, but when you’re trying to hang on to third gear high in the rev range nearing a corner, the engine feels lifeless. A decision must be made then. Either waste time shifting into fourth and then back down to third for the corner, or hang out in the engine’s dead zone for another second or two and hope that was the right choice


For many tracks this wouldn’t be an issue, but it was a constant struggle at The Ridge where several corners sit on that border. One bit of tech that makes me want to pull that extra gear is Chevy’s “No-Lift Shift” function. Keep your right foot pinned, slam the clutch in and then throw it into the next gear without moving that right foot. It takes a few tries to acclimate yourself to it, but it’s a satisfying bit of tech for the track.

More engine talk – it’s quieter than a GTI. Sure, it’s only a four cylinder, but this is the 1LE. I think it should have a more aggressive-sounding exhaust. The problem was even more apparent when a pack of four Turbos rolled down the front straight at full throttle and it was barely noticeable over the wind.

Where the Turbo 1LE truly excels is in the handling. The 0.97g lateral grip rating quoted by Chevy feels every true. Not only is the mechanical grip there, but the steering wheel talks to you as well. It’s easy to tell when the grip is running out, and equally as easy to make corrections if a hint of gradual understeer starts to creep in. The car turns in quickly when pointed, and roll is kept to a minimum with all the stiffened-up suspension components.


The 2019 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE gets a warranty that extends to the race track.

I did three consecutive sessions for about an hour of on-track time total with not much of a break in between sessions. Not once did the brakes fade or even hint at the beginnings of fading. The pedal is stiff and offers up hard braking right at the top – a confidence inspiring quality.

After, we take the Turbo 1LE for a drive on some surface roads and the engine feels a lot better. It gets remarkably good mileage on the highway – 30 mpg. Here’s the hitch. The abysmal visibility hasn’t changed for years in the Camaro, but that’s still no excuse for how terrible it is. I’d give up the ridiculously high beltline and towering hood to actually see the road in front and beside me – and I think you would too.

Also, the summer tires proved to be a little annoying in daily driving situations. The large contact patches cause a fair amount of road noise. But never mind that. Take it to the track every weekend because Chevy’s warranty extends to track days. That’s a big deal, but keep in mind, your insurance still won’t cover it. And don’t modify it, because that will void the unique warranty.

Takeaway

All of this added up screams introductory track car. Chevy even says it’s a wash between the V6 and the four-cylinder for lap times at its Milford proving grounds. Your local track’s results may vary of course. The competition Chevy is stacking this car up against isn’t your normal Camaro competition either. It’s hoping to steal a few sales away from cars like the Subaru WRX, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Veloster N and even the VW Golf R. I like the though, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Regardless of the competition, Oppenheiser says the 1LE program is doing better than expected, pushing them into offering this less expensive option. At about $32,000 it presents itself as a viable weapon for those looking to get a reliable track car on a budget. You’ll have peace of mind to push as hard as you want to because of the warranty, but the small-ish engine is still a bit of a hang-up for me. For $1,500 more you can have the V6 with more power, a satisfying rev band and a true muscle car yowl. The choice is yours.

Zac Palmer

Zac Palmer - Zac Palmer is a freelance automotive writer. He likes anything that can go around a corner, and is surely talking about a car wherever he might be.
See more by this author»

ON SALE: TBA

BASE PRICE: $30,995
POWERTRAIN: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, six-speed manual, RWD
OUTPUT: 275 hp @ 5,600 rpm; 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 3,354 lb
PROS: Exceptional handling, track specific tech features, track warranty
CONS: Power and sound, visibility, design went backwards




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Old 09-01-2018, 04:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scooby921 View Post
Yes. Not sure if you care about or follow SCCA autocross, but the GM autocross team has been campaigning a Turbo 1LE, SS 1LE, and ZL1 1LE at numerous events around the midwest and generally win their individual classes. Most recently they took the cars to the SCCA CAM challenge in Indiana. My friend on the team said they turned up the wick on the turbo car. The engine tune won't last very long, but they are cranking out enough power that the 4-cyl 1LE took 1st and 2nd in class, ahead of GM's own SS 1LE and ZL1 1LE. That 1st in class was also 4th overall on the index results, out of 173 entries. A bone stock turbo Camaro in the same class was 2.5 seconds slower...and that's a driver who is likely to challenge for 1st in class in D Street at Nationals this weekend.
Scroggs is leading the group.... http://sololive.scca.com/Pro/S4.php and is 1.3 seconds ahead of the next DS car. Not a 1LE, but still... faster than the nearest Subaru.

--kC
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Obviously Tyler View Post
I outran one of these the other day. Not a 2019, obviously. 2016ish. The power numbers are there, pretty solid for a 2.0T, but not for a car like this. Too heavy.
I outran one of these a few months back in my GTI. Surprised the hell out of me. I suspect he had an auto, but the magazine numbers seem to suggest it would be a driver's race from a roll. I'm pretty sure it was brand new because he had temp plates on it.

I think it's cool they're putting the 1LE in the lesser model cars because the 1LE V8 is $45k.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:36 PM   #13
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Would be interesting to see how a Mustang version would stack up if the EB 2.3 was pumped up to Focus RS levels and combined with some of the GT 350's track-worthy features. Have to give GM some credit for offering such a vehicle at that price as no other manufacturer seems willing/able.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by KC View Post
Scroggs is leading the group.... http://sololive.scca.com/Pro/S4.php and is 1.3 seconds ahead of the next DS car. Not a 1LE, but still... faster than the nearest Subaru.

--kC
Scroggs wins in whatever car he is in.

But yes, the 4cyl Camaro is an autocross weapon. Wide factory wheels, much less weight than the V8 muscle cars, and a great chassis.

Its just too bad its so hard to see out of one and the interior is crud or I would buy one... (Test drove one when I bought the GTI)
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:51 PM   #15
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I don't find the interior quality to be bad in the Camaro (at least the SS models I test drove). It's a very simplistic layout with, what I thought, was decent materials, but some of the design choices were odd. Like the angle of the head unit, the placement of some of the air vents, the poor design to get in the backseat, and of course the poor visibility.

Everything else about the car is so good. But I just really struggle with the ergonomics/design and this is the first car where I felt blind spot monitoring should be standard due to the poor/limited visibility.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:11 PM   #16
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The front end of the LE actually looks decent enough. It's the SS front end with all the black plastic that will probably cost some people their jobs at GM.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:47 PM   #17
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Personally, I think these cars are hideous. I just can't get over that. How hard is it to come up with a decent looking design?
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by VaporTrail308 View Post
Personally, I think these cars are hideous. I just can't get over that. How hard is it to come up with a decent looking design?
The 5th gen was a huge seller. I think GM thought it best to not deviate form the design that a lot of people liked, but clearly that backfired.

I agree, I am just not a fan of the design. If you could take the handling/feel and transmission (manual) of the SS !LE and put it in the Mustang body we would have a winner.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:28 PM   #19
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Interview / discussion with GM engineers at SCCA National Championships taking about the CAM-C turbo Camaro. Useful discussion on parts starts around 4:00. Engine comments around 6:00.

Highlights:
DSSV shocks from ZL1 1LE
Forged wheels from ZL1 1LE
E55 fuel blend (injector limit)
Custom cold air intake (GM Performance part doesn't exist yet)
Custom straight-pipe exhaust (GM performance part doesn't exist yet)
Engine tune is approximately +100 hp/tq over stock calibration
Engine tune adds anti-lag which holds 10-15psi off-throttle and burns up a turbo in a week
With anti-lag and that 10-15psi the throttle tip-in response provides more torque than the LT1 V8 in the SS


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Old 09-19-2018, 04:10 PM   #20
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Poverty spec V8 is $7,000 more. . .
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby921 View Post
Interview / discussion with GM engineers at SCCA National Championships taking about the CAM-C turbo Camaro. Useful discussion on parts starts around 4:00. Engine comments around 6:00.

Highlights:
DSSV shocks from ZL1 1LE
Forged wheels from ZL1 1LE
E55 fuel blend (injector limit)
Custom cold air intake (GM Performance part doesn't exist yet)
Custom straight-pipe exhaust (GM performance part doesn't exist yet)
Engine tune is approximately +100 hp/tq over stock calibration
Engine tune adds anti-lag which holds 10-15psi off-throttle and burns up a turbo in a week
With anti-lag and that 10-15psi the throttle tip-in response provides more torque than the LT1 V8 in the SS

I wish you could buy one of these from Chevy and keep the warranty..
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:28 PM   #22
godfather2112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thill View Post
I wish you could buy one of these from Chevy and keep the warranty..
Chevy would be replacing customer turbos on a weekly basis if they offered a warranty. Antilag is damn fun but also hell on turbos.
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