Chevrolet started working on variations of the 1LE in 1988, to improve the then third-generation Camaro’s racetrack handling, for events like the Player’s Challenge Series, which ran from 1986 to 1992. Race teams had asked the folks at Chevy to improve the car, and they in turn installed larger calipers from the Caprice, and bolted on Corvette rotors and suspension components, among a few other handling-enhancing items. Thus the 1LE was born, and by 1989 it was available through Chevy dealers.
The Camaro 1LE returns for 2017, though there’s a new twist to this track-ready muscle car: For the first time since its introduction, there will be a V6-powered 1LE available alongside the traditional V8 model. The 1LE package is available with the 1LS and 2LS 3.6-litre V6 models, and with the 1SS V8 model. If you’re averse to using both feet when driving, though, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the 1LE is available only with a manual gearbox — everyone else can rejoice! The six-speed manual is operated conventionally in the V6, while the V8-powered SS incorporates no-lift shift (permits full-throttle, clutch-less gear changes) and rev-matching functions (automatic throttle blips on downshifts).
Externally there are a couple of styling cues giving away the 1LE’s enhanced handling package, including the addition of a front splitter and rear spoiler, and matte-black hood wrap, though the SS 1LE has hood vents, hinting at its more muscular powerplant beneath. The V6 and the SS roll on 20-inch wheels, though the latter uses 1.5-inch wider wheels and also rolls on stickier Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, as opposed to the V6’s run-flats. If you want a Camaro, you should really want the 1LE. It's well worth the extra $4,500 for the V6 or $6,500 for an SS.