Motor Trend brought both American brutes together for a decisive showing of power, performance and even some handling finesse. It’s clear these cars are not quite like their predecessors: they are multi-trick ponies. On paper, the 2017 Camaro ZL1 eclipses the GT350R with 200 addition pound-feet of torque from the 6.2-liter LT4 supercharged V8 engine.
The Shelby’s Voodoo 5.2-liter V8 manages a totally respectable 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. As we all know, the Camaro ZL1 cranks out 650 of each power measurement.
Things begin to go awry for the Camaro ZL1, however. Judges found the ZL1 to be docile when not pushing the limits, compared to the Shelby GT350R’s constant rambunctious fun factor. A sky-high RPM redline certainly helps in the Shelby.
Then, there was the handling. Judges found the Camaro ZL1 incredibly competent on the winding roads, but the Shelby came alive in the eyes of judges. Steering feel and engagement topped the Camaro and the Shelby was deemed more fun to drive.
So, you can see where this is going. The Camaro ZL1 was edged out by the Shelby GT350R. It’s worth noting the Camaro team has obviously left areas for improvement on the table. The Camaro ZL1 1LE exists for a reason, and we’re still missing the Camaro Z/28 from the sixth-generation Camaro’s expanding portfolio. Until another round, the GT350R goes home a winner.