How did the new Camaro ZL1 cut 12 seconds off the old one’s Nürburgring time?

Enlarge / The Camaro ZL1 on the toughest racetrack in the world, the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Last week Chevrolet announced that the 2017 ZL1 Camaro ran a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:29.60—11.67 seconds quicker than the previous ZL1's fast lap. Tthe Nordschleife course is used by manufacturers to set lap times. The Sport Auto Lap is 14.1 miles (22.8km) long, so the new Camaro gained nearly a second per mile. In performance and racing terms, that is a huge pick-up, one which might give rise to some skepticism. So how did the new car make such a big gain?

As with all things Nürburgring, "if there's no video, it didn't happen," so have a gander at the lap first. Camaro ride and handling engineer Drew Cattell is at the wheel.

Some of the ZL1's hardware has remained the same, including wheel/tire sizes and brakes. But the 2017 ZL1 has aerodynamic differences starting with a smaller profile and extending to new underbody aero panels borrowed from the Cadillac CTS-V, which keep airflow laminar underneath the Camaro. The smaller car has tighter packaging and requires no less than 11 heat exchangers to ensure reliably cool under-hood temperatures. Above the hood a new supercharger lid improves airflow.

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