Chevy promises the new Camaro ZL1 will be a top-notch performer on a road course, but with 650 horsepower, it’ll always be at home on the drag strip. We haven’t even had the chance to drive a ZL1 ourselves (yet), but tuner John Hennessey got his hands on one for a straight line run. The result? It’s quick.
Hennessey’s ZL1 has a six-speed manual which, as we’ve previously reported, has an extremely tall first gear. The car will hit 60 mph in the top of first, but Hennessey short shifts just below redline at a speed of 51 mph.
The ZL1 pulls to 173 mph in fifth gear, which Hennessey believes is the car’s top speed. That might sound like a low number for such a powerful car–especially, when the Cadillac it shares its engine with, the CTS-V, tops out at 200–but the gearing and aero package of the Camaro is vastly different than its brother from Cadillac. It’s also heavier and less aerodynamic than the Corvette Z06 it shares an engine with, so all of that could account for the top speed discrepancy.
Plus, there’s may be more high speed potential in the automatic-equipped ZL1, which has 10 gear ratios to play with. Or just the potential to shift more.
This new ZL1 promises to be one of the most broadly capable Camaros ever, but it’s good to see it hasn’t lost its straight line abilities. We’re driving it in two weeks, so watch this space.