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Corvette Grand Sport, Camaro 1LE Shine in Car & Driver Lightning Lap

The folks at Car & Driver have published the results of their 2016 Lightning Lap tests at Virginia International Raceway and among the most impressive cars on the track were the new Corvette Grand Sport and both of the new 1LE Camaros – with the V6 model nearly matching the new all-wheel drive Ford Focus RS.

This year’s Car & Driver Lightning Lap trials were packed with supercars and while the best-finishing Chevrolet product was the new Corvette Grand Sport, it is hard to argue that the newest Corvette and Camaros offered up some of the most impressive lap times.

Corvette Grand Sport Finishes 4th, Beats European Exotics
The best finishing Chevrolet in the 2016 Lightning Lap was the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, which laid down a lap time of 2:47.1 – just 1 tenth of a second behind the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. That Porsche starts at $176k, whereas the Grand Sport starts at $66,445 and $74,440 with the optional Z07 performance package.

Finishing behind the new Corvette Grand Sport were the 2016 McLaren 570S (2:47.4), the 2017 Acura NSX (2:50.2), the 2016 Mustang GT350R (2:51.8), the BMW M4 GTS (2:52.9) and the Porsche Cayman GT4 (2:54) – many of which are vehicles that are commonly cross-shopped by prospective buyers. You can see the full list of times for the 2016 Lightning Lap below, which also includes the Audi R8 V10 Plus.

Across the 10 years of Lightning Lap, the new Grand Sport is the 9th quickest car to lap the VIR Grand West course and in the Grand Sport’s LL3 price class ($65,000-124,999), the only quicker entry was the 2015 Corvette Z06, which ran a 2:44.6.

Based on the C&D Lightning Lap results, the new Corvette Grand Sport has more than proven its meddle as an incredible bargain supercar killer. Or, maybe we should just call it the best bargain supercar, although some people might insist that it is too short on power to be considered a supercar.

Camaro 1LE Proves to be Amazing
The 2016 Car & Driver Lightning Lap included the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE in both V6 and V8 form. If you look strictly at their finishing position, the Camaro’s finishing positions of 10th and 16th might not seem all that impressive, but you need to look at the times and the other vehicles that turned in similar times.

The 2017 Camaro 1LE SS ran a time of 2:54.8, making it the 3rd quickest muscle car in the Lightning Lap ever, trailing only the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R (2:51.8) and the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2:50.9). The V8 Camaro 1LE beat the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus, the 2016 BMW M2 and the Audi TTS, among others, and while we don’t have official 1LE pricing yet, we can expect that the track-ready Camaro will be far less expensive than the GT350R. The Mustang is 3 seconds quicker for now, but you have to wonder how the Camaro ZL1 with far more power would have gotten down the long straights of VIR.

Finally, the Camaro 1LE V6 might be the most impressive car on the 2016 C&D Lightning Lap, as the 335hp muscle car got around the track in 3:04 – just 1 tenth of a second behind the AWD Ford Focus RS. For the sake of comparison, it should be noted that the newest Ford Mustang GT was tested for the 2015 model year and in ran a 3:05.2, making the new V6 Camaro more than a second quicker than the current Mustang GT. As is the case with the V8 1LE, we don’t have official pricing for the new V6 package, but we do know that in the C&D LL1 class (up to $34,999), the 1LE V6 Camaro is the quickest entry ever in the Lightning Lap trials.

In short, if you want the most road course capable car under $35,000, the 2017 Camaro 1LE V6 is the car for you.

General Motors rolled out the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport and the 2017 Camaro 1LE packages, touting them as track ready monsters, and the 2016 Car & Driver Lightning Lap confirms that to be the case.

2016 Car & Driver Lightning Lap Times
2:44.2 - 2016 Dodge Viper ACR
2:45.1 - 2016 Ferrari 488GTB
2:47.0 - 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
2:47.1 - 2017 Corvette Grand Sport
2:47.4 - 2016 McLaren 570S
2:50.2 - 2017 Acura NSX
2:51.8 - 2016 Mustang GT350R
2:52.9 - 2017 BMW M4 GTS
2:54.0 - 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4
2:54.8 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro V8 1LE
2:56.1 - 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus
3:01.9 - 2016 BMW M2
3:02.2 - 2016 Jaguar F-Type Project 7
3:03.5 - 2016 Dodge Charger Hellcat
3:03.9 - 2016 Focus RS
3:04.0 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro V6 1LE
3:05.9 - 2016 Lexus GS-F
3:06.4 - 2016 Mazda Miata MX5 Cup Car
3:07.7 - 2016 Audi TTS

Source: October 2016 issue of Car & Driver