The list of cars that can run the quarter mile in under 12 seconds right off the showroom floor is a short one, populated by cars like the Nissan GT-R, the Ferrari 458 Italia and Chevy’s Corvette Z06 and ZR1.
Now you can add the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 to that list as well, as both the manual and automatic transmission-equipped cars have cracked the 12 second barrier in testing at Michigan’s Milan Dragway.
A manual transmission ZL1 turned in a best run of 11.965 seconds at 117 mph, while the (theoretically faster) automatic ZL1 delivered a time of 11.936 seconds at 116 mph.
Both cars ran on the stock Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G-2 tires, not on drag radials. In fact, Chevy is quick to point out that using drag radials may produce a time of under 11.49 seconds, which would require the addition of a five-point roll bar to run on NHRA-sanctioned tracks.
The ZL1, Chevy wants you to know, can easily stand up to the additional driveline strain produced by drag radials. Mode five of the ZL1’s launch control was specifically designed for tracks that use traction compounds, and was tested with the stock tires, 18-inch drag radials and 20-inch drag radials.
Manual transmission cars even come with launch control, allowing a driver to set a predetermined engine speed for launch based on track conditions. When the car launches, its Performance Traction Management (included on automatic transmissions cars, too) modulates torque to ensure maximum traction and minimum elapsed times.
Don’t think the ZL1 is a one-trick pony, either. It’s designed to be equally adept at running the quarter mile, lapping a road course or commuting to and from work, something that few cars can boast.
Of course this raises one big question: how fast will the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 run the quarter mile in stock trim? We can’t wait to find out.