We woke this morning to a pleasant announcement from the Chevrolet PR Machine, the 2017 Camaro ZL1 had just lapped the Nurburgring in an eye melting 7:29.60.
Chevy boasts the current, 650-hp, supercharged ZL1 is nearly 12 seconds quicker around the vaunted German track than its predecessor, but the ZL1 has a significance beyond Camaro on Camaro crime.
The 2017 Camaro ZL1 has elevated the pony car into the domain of the supercar, offering performance equivalent to Ferraris and Lamborghinis from just a few short years ago. Here’s the proof if you don’t believe me:
1. 2012 Mercedes SLS AMG GT: 7:30.00
Mercedes in-house successor to the SLR McLaren was an ostentatious throwback to the legendary Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. When it debuted in 2010, AMG claimed its 563-hp 6.2L V8 was the most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever fitted to a production car. Fast forward to 2012, and the SLS AMG GT upped horsepower to 583 and was given shorter transmission shift times, AMG Ride Control performance suspension, lighter alloys and optional carbon-ceramic brakes, helping it lap the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
2. 2015 Ford Shelby GT350R: 7:32.19
Not necessarily a supercar like some of the other machines on this list, but Ford’s screaming Shelby Mustang GT350R deserves a mention for its supercar humbling showmanship. Like the ZL1, the GT350R uses a magical MagneRide suspension system which is constantly optimizing dampening rates, coupled with a mellifluous sounding 526-hp 5.2L, flat plane crank V8– all for under $100 grand.
3. 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia: 7:32.92
The 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia signified an important moment for the Italian factory, it would mark the beginning of the end for manual transmissions from Maranello. The 458 incorporated numerous lessons learned from Formula One, including its 570-hp 4.5L V8 with a bloodcurdling 9,000 rpm redline, and its 7-speed DCT. The 458 also featured magnetorheological dampers and electronics derived from Ferrari’r racing pedigree which helped the car achieve 32% more longitudinal acceleration over the outgoing F430.
4. 2005 Pagani Zonda F: 7:33.12
Welcome to the realm of the absurd, where the 2017 Camaro ZL1 takes down one of the most desirable cars from this millennium’s first decade. The 2005 Zonda F was the most significant rework of the Zonda since its introduction in 1999, it still featured a 7.3L V12 sourced from AMG except now it was kicking out an enhanced 595-hp. The Zonda F featured numerous materials that were borderline unobtainable in 2005, Inconel exhaust, carbon ceramic brakes, a hydroformed aluminium intake plenium and massaged aerodynamics. Jump 12 years and the $62,000 Camaro ZL1 has almost four seconds on the Italian exotic.
5. 2006 Koenigsegg CCX: 7:33.55
The 2006 Koenigsegg CCX was the manufacturers first foray into the North American market, as such it featured several body and powertrain modifications made to meet U.S regulations. The CCX debuted a new, all-aluminum, 4.7L twin supercharged V8 engine capable of kicking out 795 hp and 679 lb-ft of torque. The engine was nestled in a carbon fiber chassis, along with the industry’s first offering of optional carbon fiber wheels. All cars came with then top-of-the-line Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires and 380 mm carbon ceramic discs, with 8 piston calipers.
6: 2012 Audi R8 GT: 7:34.00
The 2012 R8 GT was a more hardcore version of the R8 5.2 TSI V10. The 33-car limited run featured a 220 lb weight reduction, a power bump to 552-hp, fixed rear wing and front mounted canards. The changes conspired to give the new R8 GT a 199 mph top speed and a 0-62 mph sprint in 3.6 seconds.
7. 2010 Lexus LFA: 7:34.00
A car that was over a decade in the making didn’t disappoint when it finally reached roadways in 2010. The LFA was motivated by a perfectly balanced 72-degree, 4.8-liter V10 engine developed in conjunction with Yamaha. The motor was capable of 552-hp at 8,700 rpm, giving the LFA a weight-to-power ratio of 5.9lb/hp, coupled to six-speed sequential gearbox the LFA could sprint to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds.
8: 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S: 7:35.00
By far the most modern scalp on this list, the 2016 AMG GT S is Mercedes’ vision of a muscle car. At launch the $129,900 AMG GT S was the most powerful version of the performance coupe available, offering 50 more horses from the 4.0L twin-turbo V8 than the “regular” 456-hp AMG GT. The car’s structure is made from 93% aluminum, with the use of magnesium sprinkles in key locations. All together the car is capable of running the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds.
9: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: 7:37.47
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 was a harbinger of things to come from Team Camaro, much of its performance pedigree now trickling down to the 2017 ZL1. The Z/28 featured a 7.0L LS7 V8 lifted from the Corvette Z06 which was good for 505 hp–similar to the 2017 ZL1 and Z06 sharing a 6.2L supercharged LT4. The Z/28 was stripped of everything which added superfluous weight, it features only one speaker for the seatbelt chime, the rear glass has been thinned, sound deadening removed, and the rear seats were shaved into shell of their former selves. Significantly, the Z/28 was also the first serially produced car to feature DSSV dampers, a technology first seen in Formula One.
10: 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera: 7:38.00
When the Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera debuted in March 2010, it did so as the lightest road-going Lamborghini in the Sant’Agata stable. The use of carbon fiber inside and out reduced the Gallardo’s weight to a paltry 2,954 lb, nearly 600 lbs down on the more pedestrian LP560-4 on which it was based. It sports a 5.2L V10–related to the R8’s–rated for 562-hp at 8,000 rpm, capable of propelling the LP570-4 to a 202 mph top end.