David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/6/18 11:44 a.m.

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Blame Canada. Back in the mid-1980s, Camaras and Firebirds came off the production line with brakes that were not quite up to snuff for track use. A…

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snailmont5oh Dork
7/6/18 4:29 p.m.

A buddy of mine had one of those. It was a '91 5.7 liter, and had a 5-speed installed, but it was bona-fide. It was pretty beat down, though, and he sold it for a few grand to someone who beat it even harder. :(

7/9/18 4:26 p.m.

The GM Motorsport/Players Motorsports cars from 1988 or 1989 until 1992 were designated with option code: R7U with the 1LE Package. The Series cars, R7U, had select blueprinted and Sealed 305 engines with 5 speed manual transmissions only. A few small other changes above the 1LE were part of the package. I bought a 1991 R7U-1LE car new from Applewood Chevrolet. 

Suprf1y PowerDork
7/9/18 7:53 p.m.

Used to see these for sale all the time. If I recall they seemed to bottom out around $10k and stayed there for a long time. 

Saw  this one looking for something else


Ranger50 UltimaDork
7/9/18 8:32 p.m.


Suprf1y PowerDork
7/10/18 8:36 a.m.

so the organizers eventually requested a favour,     

I saw what you did there Dave

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/10/18 4:19 p.m.
Suprf1y said:

so the organizers eventually requested a favour,     

I saw what you did there Dave

Yay, someone noticed. 

7/11/18 5:03 a.m.

The 1LE package was a great setup in it's day by GM. 

Around 1999 or 2000, you could still order a Firebird Formula with the 1LE package. A/C was included, but if you wanted you could still get crank windows and no t tops. I came very close to ordering one, but not close enough. You could also add SLP exhaust and air intake on the factory checkbox also - from the now retired Pontiac brand.

airwilf New Reader
7/11/18 10:27 a.m.

That's Ron Fellows car in the cover shot & have seen that car run dozens of races . His brother Rob dabbled in racing a bit, but didn't go on to do great things like Ron did for GM in Corvettes.  I have one of Robs pieces of Corvette artwork & an autographed hat from Ron from the winning Corvette at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Both really classy guys.Ron is nw part owner of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, aka Mosport to us older guys.

racerfink UltraDork
7/11/18 10:52 a.m.

In 1988, I went to work for Joe Varde’s Firestone Firehawk team.  They ran two IROC-Z’s and two Trans-Am’s to start the seasons first three races.  GM then decided after the Watkins Glen 24hr race that they wanted Chevy to win the SCCA Escort Endurance series, and Pontiac to win the IMSA series.  So, we took a pre-production 1989 GTA 350 w/automatic theft recovery that Pontiac gave us, and turned it into a 1988 Trans-Am 305 w/5spd, and went on to win the championship that year.  There were more than a few 1LE cars running Escort and Firehawk in those days.

We had developed a way to make quick pad changes on those cars. We had quick disconnect dry-break couplers on the brake lines, and would replace the whole caliper with new pads already in it for longer races.  We even made a rear end change at the Glen race in under 20 mins.  

Koopsy New Reader
7/11/18 11:45 a.m.

Awesome pieces of Canadian racing history and amazingly fun cars to drive. 

They have been having reunions at the new Area 27 Motorsports park in Oliver, B.C. with many original drivers, crew members, and large Players car counts in attendance. The track was built, designed and is managed by original Players series drivers. 

I am currently the caretaker of this ‘91 R7U. I actively track the car and continue to maintain its originality as much as I can.  

7/11/18 11:09 p.m.

Well guys. Let me jump in.  I am a proud owner of a true 1992 1LE Camaro.  I love the racing pedigree of these cars and that is one of the reasons I purchased this one when I had the chance.   My car has been covered by Super Chevy.   You can check out the link at:  http://www.superchevy.com/features/1101gmhtp-1992-chevrolet-cmc2-camaro/

The previous owner, Jim, bought the car completely stock. He took it to a couple nostalgic track events and was hooked. He began adding this and that to the car to make it hook better or be safer.  Long story short, it was eventually turned into a full caged race car that was very successful in the Camaro Mustang Challenge series at tracks such as VIR and other NASA and SCCA tracks.  

The car is easy to find all over the internet.  Several youtube videos use this car in their track videos of when it ran in the series.  

trucke SuperDork
7/23/18 8:26 a.m.

The Kozlak's 1LE at the Solo II Nationals in 1991 or 1992.  Lynn Rothney Kozlak shown.


wspohn Dork
7/23/18 10:50 a.m.

Discs were used back in 1968 on Z28s and when the Trans Am cars came to Westwood track in BC. They had been running on mostly flat tracks and were appalled at the downhill hard braking needed at Westwood. The next year they came back and all of the cars had disc brakes and the Camaros had 4 wheel discs that had been made an option but wasn't widely adopted in Spring of 1968 (the JL8 package adapted from the Corvette). Made a huge difference.

ZOO UltraDork
12/24/18 4:29 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:
Suprf1y said:

so the organizers eventually requested a favour,     

I saw what you did there Dave

Yay, someone noticed. 

Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports

I didn't notice.  As an English teacher, I never notice correct spelling . . .

ZOO UltraDork
12/24/18 4:30 p.m.

This was such a great series to watch.  Right there with the 944 series, and the Honda Michelin series.

Streetwiseguy UltimaDork
12/24/18 4:53 p.m.

This has been on the wall of my home office for almost 30 years now.

pontiacstogo New Reader
12/24/18 5:29 p.m.

Not a 3rd gen, but I own a 94 1LE - one of 135;

 photo 20080915_WGI_D12B_7312 Cropped_zpsq4dyvnua.jpg

Matt New Reader
1/2/19 7:04 a.m.

Thanks David - this is great! as a 1LE owner and Canadian, its great to read outside perspectives into our awesome racing heritage! The series was "east vs west" and there were 2 series that had a final shootout against each other. An interesting note in the development of the series goes back to the first year when the cars were running out of brakes a little early and during the Toronto Molson Indy, the cars were running out of brakes quite early. I think it was John Powell (who i think was a GM Canada Exec) that got Brembo (then owned by GM) to make a front brake upgrade for the series cars alone. that was a success, and so the GM engineers went to Holden (another GM company) to source the brakes for the production cars as a part of the now famous 1LE option for 1988. Powell was also instrumental in C4 Corvette racing up here and well respected in general. There are still a few of the original 86-87 series cars with the Brembo front brakes, if im not mistaken, these parts were supposed to be returned when the series was completed... (photo cred to kempmotorsports)


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/10/19 5:42 p.m.

Very cool to hear from some owners, too. Thanks for sharing. 

Yeah, there's just something cool about the original 1LE, between the car itself and the steps required to order one. One day. One day. 

Sort of related, but does anyone else remember when Chevrolet would sell you a third-gen Camaro SS along with second set of wheels mounted with BFG R1 race tires? 

1/12/19 4:38 p.m.

Interesting article, I own a non-raced 1989 1LE with traceable background(Mecum Racing spare for owner Ed Mecum Sr.)  Fun car to drive, more fun with the different Proms I have.  Now it relaxes in the garage a lot.

Stealthtercel Dork
1/12/19 5:25 p.m.

Just for clarification, Brembo is an Italian company that has never been owned by GM that I know of.  John Powell is a veteran & successful racer who transitioned into race track management, performance development, driver training, and a bunch of other related ventures.  He was/is very well connected at GM, particularly GM Canada, but AFAIK never actually worked there.

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