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Camaro Boss Hints 1LE Faster than Shelby GT350 Mustang

Ford Motor Company has been riding high with their new Shelby GT350 Mustang, but comments made by Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser at the Chicago Auto Show suggests that the 2017 Camaro 1LE might be able to beat the GT350 around a race track.

The folks from GM Authority had a chance to talk to Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser about the 2017 1LE package following its reveal at the Chicago Auto Show and one of their key questions was whether or not the new Camaro 1LE would beat the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. Oppenheiser didn’t say yes, but he also didn’t say no. He pointed out that this new car was 3 seconds faster around the track than the previous generation Camaro 1LE and he also said that he knew the whether or not the new Camaro 1LE would beat the GT350 – but he wasn’t going to tell us.

In short, the head of the Chevrolet Camaro program insinuated that the new Camaro 1LE (with the V8, of course) might beat the new Shelby GT350 Mustang and for me, that is good enough to believe that it will at least be a very close fight between the two.

Could the 1LE Beat the GT350?
On paper, it seems like it would be tough feat for the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE to beat the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. The Mustang packs 526hp and 429lb-ft of torque while the Camaro “only” has 455hp and 455lb-ft of torque, giving the GT350 a big advantage in horsepower while the Chevy has a slightly smaller advantage in torque. We don’t know the official curb weight for the 1LE package, but we know that the GT350 Mustang weighs 3,760lbs and the 2016 Camaro SS weighs 3,685 – so the Camaro 1LE should have a slim weight advantage.

In terms of handling performance, both cars have a high tech suspension setup with the Mustang having Ford’s MagneRide and the Camaro having the newest generation of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system. The Camaro has monster 6-piston Brembo brakes, but the GT350 has a more advanced Brembo package with a high tech floating rotor design – so the Mustang should (in theory) have the braking advantage. Finally, the Camaro rides on Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires while the Shelby Mustang uses Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

So, the Mustang has more horsepower, a slightly better braking system and tires that some would argue are better, while the Camaro 1LE has more torque, a slightly lower curb weight and a more proven suspension setup. Can a little less weight and a little more torque allow the Camaro 1LE to overcome the power disadvantage to beat the Shelby GT350 Mustang?

Al Oppenheiser didn’t say yes – but it seems that he thinks that his Camaro is up to the task.

It could be a little while before someone has a chance to put the 2017 Camaro 1LE head to head with the Shelby GT350 Mustang, but when they do meet – it should be an epic clash of modern road-racing muscle cars.

Source: GM Authority