2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang VS 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS: Tale of the Tape
While the muscle car community has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 6th gen Camaro Z28 to go head-to-head with the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang, General Motors officials have been quick to label the 2017 Camaro 1LE SS as a proper competitor for the non-R Shelby GT350 Mustang. Considering that the new Shelby GT350 and GT350R are the top of the line Mustangs, it seems like an odd choice for GM to compare a higher volume, lower price version of the Camaro to these premium Ford performance cars, but when you look at the two cars on a line-by-line basis – it looks like the Camaro 1LE SS could be a tough competitor for the Shelby GT350 Mustang.
Today, based on the few numbers announced by General Motors pertaining to the new Camaro 1LE SS, we bring you the tale of the tape for these two track terrors.
Camaro 1LE VS GT350 Mustang Drivetrain
The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS is powered by GM’s 6.2L LT1 V8, sending 455 horsepower and 455lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is powered by a 5.2L flat plane V8, sending 526 horsepower and 429lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, also via a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Mustang has an advantage of 71 horsepower while the Camaro has an advantage of 26lb-ft of torque.
More importantly, even though the Camaro 1LE SS is lighter than the GT350 – with the Chevy weighing 3,654lbs to the Ford’s 3,760lbs - the Mustang has an advantage in power to weight ratio, with Ford’s ratio of 7.1lbs per horsepower besting Chevy’s 8lbs per horsepower.
Suspension, Braking and Tires
Both the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS and the 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang feature their own magnetic suspension systems, so there is no clear leader there on paper, but based on real world numbers and GM’s estimates, the Camaro will have a slight advantage. Multiple outlets who have tested the GT350 Mustang have been able to achieve 1.00g on the skidpad, but GM claims that the Camaro will be able to sustain 1.02g. This means that the Camaro might have a very faint advantage in cornering, but the Ford has an advantage in terms of braking components.
The Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang has a high tech Brembo braking system with 15.5 inch floating rotors under 6-piston calipers and while the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS has a Brembo 6-piston front braking setup, it isn’t quite as big or quite as high tech as the Mustang. The Camaro’s front rotors measure 14.6 inches and while they are a two piece design, they don’t have the floating pin design found on the Mustang. Based on that, the Mustang should have the advantage in braking during long periods of track time, but based on the stated numbers, we know that the Mustang will out-stop the Camaro.
Real world tests have shown that the Shelby GT350 Mustang will get stopped from 60mph in 102 feet, while the official figures from GM state that the Camaro 1LE SS takes 107 feet to perform the same task.
Part of that stopping advantage might have something to do with the tires, as the two cars have different tires in different sizes. The Camaro 1LE SS has lightweight 20 inch rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires measuring 285/30/20 up front and 305/30/20 out back. The Shelby GT350 Mustang has 19 inch rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 295/35/19 up front and 305/35/19 out back. The bigger front tires on the Mustang give it more contact surface, so that could play part of the role in the Shelby having the stopping advantage.
Those big tires also play an obvious role in acceleration times, and while the Mustang has more power and a better power to weight ratio, it appears as though the Camaro will hang right with the Shelby GT350 in a short sprint. Most outlets have found that the GT350 Mustang will scoot out from a stop to 60mph in just 4.1 seconds while GM claims that the Camaro 1LE SS will get to 60 from a stop in just 4.2 seconds. With the advantage in power to weight ratio, that 0.1 second advantage could be even bigger in a longer race – such as a quarter mile drag race – but we will have to wait for more numbers from GM to know just how quickly the Camaro 1LE will get down the track. Based on the fact that both the Camaro SS (non-1LE) and the GT350 Mustang both run mid 12 second quarter miles, the battle between the 1LE and GT350 on a drag strip is going to be a driver’s race.
Of course, I have to point out that while we are discussing 0-60 times and quarter mile times, the new Camaro 1LE SS and the Shelby GT350 Mustang aren’t built to be straight-line rockets. These two muscle cars are designed to tear up tracks with turns. The Mustang should have an afvantage getting into the turns with better braking capabilities and getting out of the turns with better power numbers, while the power to weight advantage should make the GT350 quicker on the straights. At the same time, the lighter Camaro can pull more Gs, so it should be the quicker of the two through the turns.
Camaro has a Huge Price Advantage
While many of the comparisons above between the Camaro 1LE SS and the Shelby GT350 Mustang are very close (with the exception of horsepower), the price of these two cars is vastly different. The 1LE package is a $6,500 option for the Camaro 1SS and with the 2017 pricing hitting the website, we know that the 1LE SS should have an MSRP right around $44,400.
The 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang has an MSRP of $56,495, so while the Mustang is accelerates quicker and has more power, it also costs $12,095 more. For far less than $12k, a Camaro 1LE owner could buy better tires and a tune, which would improve the handling, braking and acceleration of the svelte Chevy – which would more than eliminate any advantage for the Mustang. In other words, if you are shopping for a weekend track car in the muscle car segment, the Camaro 1LE SS offers very similar performance figures to the Mustang Shelby GT350 with a considerably smaller price.