Chevrolet Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser announced yesterday that America’s newest muscle car, the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE, would carry a starting price of just $31,035 and that announcement was followed up by a video showing the new road race Camaro lapping Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:58.34. That time ranks the new Camaro 1LE as the 23rd fastest car to turn in a lap at VIR, according to FastestLaps.com. Far more importantly, the official time for the Camaro 1LE is 4.46 seconds quicker around VIR than the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca – the $49k muscle car at which GM has taken aim with the new Camaro 1LE.
The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE’s time around VIR of 2:58.34 is also better than the 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 (2:58.48), the 2009 Audi R8 V10 (2:59.50) and the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe (3:04.20). In the list of 22 vehicles that turned in quicker laps than the 2013 Camaro 1LE are some incredible sports cars including the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 (2:58.00), the Ferrari 430 Scuderia (2:54.60), the Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce (2:53.90), the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (2:48.60) and the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – which turned in a track record time of 2:45.63.
With the announcement of the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE time at VIR, the battle between the Detroit muscle cars heats up even more. Ford previously had the bragging rights that GM had nothing to counter the Mustang Boss 302 and Boss 302 Laguna Seca but with a time that beat the Laguna Seca model by almost 4.5 seconds – it looks like Chevrolet has the answer for the Boss. Now, both the Camaro and Mustang offer a base V6 coupe and convertible (Mustang V6, Camaro LT and LS), a higher volume V8 model in coupe and convertible (Mustang GT, Camaro SS), a supercharged premium performance version in coupe and convertible (Mustang GT500, Camaro ZL1) and the two lower cost, road racing models (Mustang Boss 302/Boss 302 Laguna Seca, Camaro 1LE).
Between the V6 models, the Ford Mustang has a price advantage of a shade over $1,000 while the Chevrolet Camaro has an 18 horsepower advantage, making the Mustang the more affordable but less powerful V6 option. When the Camaro SS and the Mustang GT are pitted head to head, the Camaro SS costs over $2,000 more than the Mustang GT but the Camaro’s V8 makes 426 horsepower to the Mustang GT’s 420hp, so while the Camaro is slightly more expensive it also offers more power. The Camaro 1LE carries a starting price of $37,035 to the Mustang Boss 302’s price of $42,995 although when it comes to this pairing – the Ford offers an advantage in power over the 1LE. Finally, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 starts $1,300 less than the Camaro ZL1 in coupe form even though it offers vastly more horsepower and torque. With the exception of the “road race” Camaro 1LE and Boss 302 Mustang, the Ford offers an advantage in pricing across the model lineup – helping Ford to close the gap in 2012 annual sales over the two months.