Meet the World’s First 8-Second Sixth-gen Camaro ZL1

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Camaro ZL1 had transmission failure and coasted the last 220 feet, but it is still the first in the 8s.

The 6th generation ZL1 is the quickest and most powerful production car to ever wear the Chevrolet Camaro name, with 650 horsepower and the ability to run in the 11-second range in stock form. Since the LT4-powered muscle car hit the street, we have seen countless examples in the 9s and 10s, but until this past weekend, we had not seen a new ZL1 in the 8s.

That all changed at Memphis International Raceway on the night of Friday, May 31st, when Michael Talley and his 2018 Camaro ZL1 stopped the timers with an 8.992, but there is an interesting aspect to this story. Talley’s transmission went south around the 1,100-foot mark, causing the car to essentially coast through the traps at just 116 miles per hour, but he still ran in the 8-second range.

Talley Camaro ZL1

Record Setting Muscle Car

Michael Talley owns and drives the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 shown here, which set the record earlier this year for the quickest stock-blower quarter mile run when he ran a 9.57, but since then, he has made a handful of changes to add lots more power.

This Camaro has a stock bottom end, stock transmission, stock rear differential and stock suspension, but there are some pretty significant changes made under the hood. Upgrades include an Edelbrock 2650 supercharger wearing a 3.0 upper pulley, a 9.55 lower pulley, a Roto Fab Big Gulp intake, a set of GPI cylinder heads, a GPI camshaft, Kooks two-inch headers, a full Corsa exhaust system, a methanol injection system and a C16 tune by Ryan Stevens at Gwatney Performance.

Talley Camaro ZL1

Next, this car has a 15-inch rear brake conversion from Carlyle Racing to make room for the RTS71 beadlock wheels wearing 28-inch by 10.5-inch drag radials. To cut down weight a bit, this car has 18 Alumistars skinnies up front and the interior is without a passenger seat or rear seat for this record run.

First in the 8s

In the video above from Mike Talley’s YouTube channel, Talley and his 2018 Camaro ZL1 get off of the line with a 1.33 60-foot time, leading to a smokin’-quick eighth mile time of 5.674 at 127.23 miles per hour. He got to the 1,000-foot stripe in just 7.338 seconds, but shortly after, the car stopped pulling. Talley looked at his computer logs and found that the car stopped pulling around the 1,100-foot mark when the transmission began slipping badly.

Talley Camaro ZL1

As a result, Talley and his Camaro basically coasted from the 1,100-foot mark to the finish line, so he only hit 116 miles per hour on the big end, but he still got there in just 8.992 seconds. Needless to say, had the transmission stayed together, Talley would have run further down into the 8-second range, but even with the mechanical failure, he became the first new ZL1 owner to run in the 8s.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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