The folks over at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering apparently weren’t finished having fun with their 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. A few weeks ago, the tuner’s car was the first Camaro ZL1 to achieve a quarter-mile time in the 10s. Now, that same car is the first Camaro ZL1 to top 200 mph, topping out at 202.67 mph.
We caught up with Hot Rod editor-in-chief David Freiburger, the lucky (and slightly insane) driver who joined Lingenfelter at Continental Tire’s Proving Grounds earlier this week in Texas where the feat took place.
Q: Did you initially think the Camaro would get to 200 mph?
DF: Oh yeah, the stock car runs 184 [mph] terminal, so this thing makes 720 hp at the tire, which is way more than what the stockers make. They told me they make 500 at the tires stock, which means they’re kind of underrated from the factory at 580. It was pretty obvious it was going to get there. The real question was could I drive it there on that track? That track is a little like a Texas farm road. It’s not really a track at all. It’s three lanes that were poured in 1959 and they’re… rough. And there’s hills and bumps and all sorts of things.
Q: What are your thoughts on Lingenfelter’s modifications?
DF: The car is brutal through first, second, and third. Actually, it pulls hard all the way through the gears. It’s amazing how fast it gets to 135-150. It drives super tame. It drives like a stock car. The blower screams a bit more, but that’s about it. It even still has the stock exhaust on it.
Q: How many runs did it take to get to that speed?
DF: Quite a few. I ran four times at 199 and change. We were banging our heads against the wall, like, you gotta be kidding me. One time we actually ran 199.9 and 199.8 and 199.2. It really came down to me figuring out the track more than anything else. I had to be on it longer than I expected to get there. The first couple runs I only hit 182 and I thought that was all it was going to do. I just had to get on it much sooner and off it much later. On the last run I was between 190 and 202 mph for 41 seconds and if you do the math that’s like two and a quarter miles. So it took a long time for it to climb. It goes right to 190 and then it’s kind of a struggle to 202 and that’s just aerodynamics. Except for taping up the brake ducts, the thing was aerodynamically stock.
The following video is footage from the ZL1’s drag run: