Once again at Palm Beach International Raceway, it was time to put the bone stock 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through a solid baseline, on both the road course and dragstrip. As it sits currently, the only thing that differentiates this particular ZL1 from a factory model, are the newly installed EBC drilled and slotted rotors with Yellow Stuff brake pads. The stock rotors were in need of replacement, before a baseline lap could be completed around the 2.034-mile, 11-turn Palm Beach circuit.
With that being said, the ZL1 performed wonderfully. On the road course, the suspension was at its stiffest (Race) setting, the tires were properly inflated to a suggested pressure, and the new brake pads were pre-bedded before arrival. After an out lap, I was able to complete a lap in 1:30.01 seconds, hitting upwards of 130 mph on the long back straightaway. Coming up to a corner, the EBC rotors and pads performed flawlessly, and never presented any brake fade within the ten laps that were completed. On turn in, the car could be pointed with ease, graciously diving to the apex, and the wide stock rear tires never spun, even with 580 horsepower on track out. Through quick directional changes, the suspension was well behaved, and limited body roll.
On the drag strip, launches were a bit of a hurdle. After a smoky burnout to clean and warm up the rubber, the ZL1 launched and ran down the strip to complete the quarter mile in 13.101 seconds at 111.85. The track was a little greasy, and every car had some trouble with traction. Either way, the mile-per-hour suggests that the elapsed time should be lower, given the right conditions and a good launch.
So what have we learned? After making a few laps around PBIR and down the dragstrip, we already know what we’re dealing with in terms of a baseline. A few weeks prior to our PBIR outing, the ZL1 put down 505.87 hp and 501.20 ft-lb. to the rear tires – a great starting point to our planned list of extensive mods!