A few months after the launch of the sixth generation Camaro, Chevrolet is swinging for the fences with the announcement of its first variant, the 1LE. Not familiar with that name? It’s code for an under-the-radar, ultra cool, smartly engineered, track-oriented option package.

When speaking of fifth gen Camaros, there’s one that stood out to me. As delicious as the fifth gen Camaro Z/28 is – with the mega LS7 and epic dampers from Multimatic among other tricks – my favourite of the lot was the SS 1/LE. Reason being, it was a hard core track day special, it was affordable, and recognized by only those in the know.

The 1LE name comes from an option code for the hard core racing spec Camaros and Firebirds from the Eighties that were used in the then-popular showroom stock racing series. While those days are long gone, track day specific cars are more popular than ever and with that in mind, Chevrolet is relaunching the 1LE option package with the sixth generation Camaro, in V8 and, for the first time, V6 trim.

Only the black wheels and flat black hood are clues to the cognoscenti that this 2017 Camaro you’re looking at is a 1LE. That’s the thing about the 1LE package because all of the goodness is under the skin. Engines are unchanged and the best part of the 1LE is that its truly enthusiast only – pretenders need not apply – because 1LEs are exclusively equipped with manual transmission.

The V8 model – the VVUZZ choice – gets the best of Chevy’s performance tech that includes GM’s excellent latest gen magnetic ride dampers and an electronically controlled limited slip differential. Engine, diff, and transmission coolers are part of this package, as are Brembo calipers and two piece front rotors, while the driver enjoys a big Recaro seat and a sueded steering wheel and shifter. Standard on the V8 1LE is GM’s superb integrated Performance Data Recorder data acquisition system.

While the V8 makes the most power and the best sounds, the V6 Camaro is no slouch. In line with the lower power output and the inherently lesser price point, the V6 is slightly decontented – no super duper dampers or e-diff – but it still gets a mechanical limited slip diff, specific Brembo brakes, and much of the standard V8 model’s performance suspension components. Similar oil, diff, and transmission cooling is standard, but the Recaro seats and PDR are optional.

Tires for V6 an V8 models are by Goodyear and sized appropriately for each application.

The 1LE option package availability begins with 2017 model year Camaros, so you’ll have a to wait a few months to get it, but if the previous gen 1LE is a reference point, then this latest Camaro 1LE is going to be absolutely brilliant. Pricing has yet to be set, but my educated guess suggests you’ll pay between $5,000 to $7,000 for the privilege of 1LE performance and cool factor. We can’t wait to hustle this one around our favourite circuit.


Photos by Brian Makse for VVUZZ.

Published on Feb 18, 2016