The Chevrolet Camaro has a long history of delivering impressive performance to those that aren’t afraid of handling the reins of a big v8. But the history of the aftermarket improving on that performance, is just as extensive. For years, firms like Callaway Cars have been taking the general’s best to performance heights that the factory just won’t touch. And now they’ve worked their magic on the ZL1.
The last time we were behind the wheel of a stock Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, we called it the complete track package. So, how could Callaway Cars possibly improve on that with their 2017 SC750 ZL1 Camaro?
Well, as with most things Callaway, work begins under the hood.
Starting with the ZL1’s 6.2-liter LT4 V8, Callaway replaces the supercharger with their own GenThree TVS2300 with TripleCooled intercooler, fed by a high flow intake system. The results are an additional 100-horsepower at 750. Torque jumps to 739 lb-ft. Yeeehaaah!
Engine management software has been tweaked to keep everything working together happily, and carbon-fiber engine covers are added for good measure.
So we wasted no time cranking this thing up to 11 through the twisty 2-mile road course of Dominion Raceway near Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Here, there’s a good mix of tight twisties, and open sweepers, followed by a long 2700-foot straight-a-way for properly stretching this ZL1’s legs. Through it all, we found the same well-balanced package that we remember from the stock ZL1, only now there’s a hundred added horses pulling you out of corners and powering you down the straights.
Callaway keeps the suspension stock, and it’s a testament to the great job that GM engineers did; as the additional power fails to test this chassis at all. It handles it in stride, like a boxer packing on 10-lbs. of additional muscle to step up a weight class.
Of course, throttle induced oversteer is just a toe curl away; but it’s still not this car’s natural tendency. It remains very stable and controllable. You can lay rubber coming out of just about any corner you choose, but this ZL1 never feels crazy enough that you think you might lose it at any time.
All told, that additional power simply shortens up the straights a bit, giving you less time to relax between corners.
Brakes are standard ZL1 fare, which means 6-piston Brembos up front; and again they had no problem dealing with the extra speeds we were seeing at the end of the straights.
Our car featured the fantastic Tremec 6-speed manual with GM’s rev-matching feature. It was awesome at Dominion; but as most of you know, it’s a little slower than the available 10-speed automatic when it comes to acceleration times.
Still, with a heavy metal soundtrack of supercharger shredding and blaring exhaust rhythm, you can rock n’ roll this thing through the ¼-mile in 11.2–seconds at 127 miles-per-hour.
While it’s a blurry, white-knuckle ride the whole way, things are actually pretty drag friendly starting off; with a very light and precise clutch for getting the most out of your launch, allowing you to hit 60 in just 3.3–seconds.
Those numbers are quicker than we achieved in the stock automatic ZL1; so clearly the additional 100-horses are put to good use.
While the 6th gen. Camaro is not the most menacing of muscle cars, this ZL1 certainly sets an aggressive tone.
There are plenty of functional aero elements, and lots of intakes for ingesting power-producing air. Callaway add-ons are limited to just some simple badging.
Likewise, there’s some badging inside, as well as door sill panels, floor mats, and Callaway key fobs.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings don’t differ from the stock ZL1, putting them at 14-City, 20-Highway, and 16-Combined with the manual transmission.
Sure, you could spend the time and effort bulking up your own ZL1, but why do that when you can get instantaneous performance improvement from Callaway Cars for just $18,395 on top of the ZL1’s sticker of $63,435. Putting the highly potent package at reasonable $81,830. That’s a super high performance bargain if we ever saw one.
Indeed, the SC750 ZL1 Camaro is a built-to-brawl beast, ready to lay waste to any track it gets a whiff of. And, it’s not too bad of a daily driver either. It’s pure Muscle Car Rock n’ Roll…Callaway style!
Engine: 6.2 liter
Torque: 739 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.2 seconds @ 127 mph
EPA: 14 mpg city / 20 mpg highway