Everyone was wrong.

For months we've watched Chevrolet trot out a pair of Camaro prototypes-- both at home and abroad at the vaunted Nürburgring--one with a pedestal wing and one without. Sometimes they whined, other times they didn't; "that has to be the Z/28" we all said.

Instead of doing what we thought, the bow-tie brand did what they wanted, debuting the surprise 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE just ahead of Daytona 500 festivities last Friday in Florida. If the ZL1 is already absurd, than the ZL1 1LE is asinine, blurring the lines between what a race car is and what a street car could be. Camaro chief Al Oppenheiser calls it "the ultimate track-day Camaro," and who's going to disagree?

Maybe the Z/28, that's who.



Big Z first hit the scene in the late '60s as a trick way to homologate hopped up Camaros for Chevrolet's Trans-Am road racing teams. After the on-track success of the fifth-gen Z/28 we all just assumed we were getting another one.

Well we are, just not when we wanted it.

The legendary Don Sherman reports the Z/28 is far from dead, Chevrolet is simply keeping it's powder dry as it works to develop the most powerful naturally aspirated engine to ever grace the Camaro from the factory. Sherman alleges the Z/28 could use a new family of LT engines that will do away with tried-and-true pushrod, two-valve designs; he calls it the greatest small-block V8, like ever.

It's expected the LT6 will show up with all-aluminum construction, four-valves per chamber, titanium con rods, dual overhead camshafts and a flat plane crank. Pegged for 5.5 liters of displacement, the LT6's rap sheet looks like something stolen from the Ferrari factory. Like the 6.2-liter LT1, there will be a blown version of the LT6, except this time Chevy will trade the supercharger for twin-turbos and call it the LT7.

These engines are expected to proliferate with the next-generation of GM performance products, starting with the Camaro Z/28 in 2019. Following the Camaro, the Corvette should get one when the C8 eventually rolls around, along with the next generation of Cadillac V-cars.