Track Tested: 2011 Chevy Camaro ZL1 SLP Convertible


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We're months away from the official release of the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 but we're already chomping at the bit. Thankfully, for the impatient, SLP has a thriving tuning business and limited rights to the ZL1 name.

The result is this, the 2011 Chevy Camaro ZL1 SLP Convertible. It's for 2011 only and only 69 will be made, an homage to the original 1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1. That car had a 427-cubic-inch aluminum V8 and so does this new one, but this ZL1 SLP cranks out a whopping 750 (claimed) horsepower. Thank a TVS 2300 supercharger pushing 10 psi of boost, SLP rocker arms, Blackwing cold air induction and an SLP tune (with 205 mph top speed limiter) for the big numbers.

Big numbers are all well and good, but we had to find out how well the 2011 Chevy Camaro ZL1 SLP Convertible did when those 750 ponies hit pavement. Follow the jump for test results...

Vehicle: 2011 Chevy Camaro ZL1 SLP Convertible
Date Tested: 6-28-2011
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $80,000 (Plus cost of a donor 1SS or 2SS -- $31,070/$34,420 -- for a total of $111,070 - $114,420)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Displacement (cubic inches): 427
Redline (rpm): 6,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 750
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): n/a
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): SLP Adjustable Coil-over
Suspension Type (rear): SLP Adjustable Coil-over

Tire Size (front): 255/40ZR20 (101Y)
Tire Size (rear): 295/35ZR20 (105Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Asymmetrical Summer performance
Wheel size: 20 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum
Brakes Front: 16-inch ventilated, cross-drilled rotors with six-piston fixed Brembo calipers
Brakes Rear: 15-inch ventilated, cross-drilled rotors with four-piston fixed Brembo calipers
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,168


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.2 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.2 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 4.3 (4.6 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (4.3 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 5.9 (6.1 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.2 @ 117.2 (12.5 @ 117.9  with T/C on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 110

Handling
Slalom (mph): 69.2 (67.1 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g):  0.89 (0.89 with T/C on)

Sound
Db @ Idle: 60.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 88.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 74.0
DB @ 70 with top open: 76.9


Comments

Acceleration: The trick to getting the most from this car is to find exactly the allowable rate of throttle application that the tires can manage, at launch (2,500) and thereafter. This car's 0-60 time is severely restricted by the amount of grip the tires can provide -- can't go to WOT until 1-2 gearchange. Shifter requires deliberate (but not ham-fisted) effort. Rev limiter is punishingly abrupt. I was expecting a much higher trap speed from 750 hp. Still, this car sounds absolutely magnificent.

Braking: First stop was shortest by 4-5 feet, then every stop after that was absolutely fade-free and dead straight, with no drama whatsoever. Pedal feel is solid and dead consistent. Felt like it would do the same stop all day long.

Handling:

Skid pad: With ESC off, the car feels well balanced and begins a mild understeer condition that requires throttle steering -- I never moved my hands at all. With ESC in Comp mode, it allowed the same amount of understeer without intruding.

Slalom: With ESC off, the car is limited by front grip, where understeer begins to creep subtly but consistently from cone to cone. The trick becomes (as with all Camaros) attempting rotation with lift-throttle without murdering cones because it's next to impossible to spot them at the front or you'll run them over with the rear tire. The Coupe didn't acknowledge the dip/hop at cone #3, but the Convertible was tossed off course, making me late for cone #4. Overall, the suspension setup works very well in a track situation, with predictable behavior at or even slightly beyond the limits set by the tires. The tires are excellent (predictable break-away) and allow the chassis to perform at its best.

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