The Mustang-Camaro war has ramped up the past couple years with the introduction of all-new cars on both sides. This past year alone, the Camaro was all-new while the Mustang added the flat-plane crank GT350, a car Ford says is the most track-capable Mustang ever. We tested both cars together, and found that the regular V-8-powered Camaro SS is a close match for the GT350.
Now, if you are willing to believe Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser, the new Camaro 1LE package will be faster around a racetrack than the GT350. In an interview with GM Authority, Oppenheiser was asked if the 2017 Camaro SS 1LE will outperform the Shelby GT350. He replied: “That’s obviously our intent. I have the answer, but I’ll let the rest of you decide how we did. Our goal is to up the game with our competitor, just like they upped the game with the GT350. Everyone had to expect we would punch back. I will tell you this car is three seconds faster than the previous 1LE. Your readers can go out and make their own conclusions."
Chevrolet performed a lot of track testing on the 1LE and Oppenheiser claims it is three seconds quicker around a two-minute track than the last version. It sounds like Chevrolet's internal testing shows that the 1LE is faster than the GT350 on the track at the company's Milford Proving Grounds. We'll be interested to see how the two compare when the 1LE hits the market later this year.
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We expect the 1LE package to run $4,000 to $6,000. At that price, the 1LE SS will be at least $7,000 less than the GT350.
There is no mention of the GT350R in the GM Authority story. If the Camaro SS 1LE can't beat that car, we're sure Chevrolet will make sure the next Z28 and/or ZL1 can.