Richard Childress Racing Street Performance partnered with General Motors to create RC1 Camaros to pay homage to legendary racer, Dale Earnhardt. The latest rendition of the RC1 series came just one model year after the Camaro beat all odds and made a successful comeback following its deletion in 2002.
This 2011 Camaro SS/RC1 is based on the 2011 Camaro SS, but features much more than any normal SS on the market. It not only features a stylish design, but it also packs a mean bite under the hood. This particular 2011 Camaro SS/RC1 was not offered to the public, but instead Richard Childress Racing (RCR) built several of the RC1 Camaros and shipped them straight to RK Motors Charlotte.
The RC1 is the first of the series and the least powerful of the three. Of course, being the least powerful of the RC-series is not saying much, as the top-end RC3 pumps out a concrete pummeling 750 horsepower. The best thing is that this special edition Chevy Camaro is in a price range that a working class Joe can actually afford. You may be wondering how much it actually is and what you get for your money.
Click past the jump to read our full review and answer all of your questions.
This 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 features a glossy black paint job with red and gray stripes on the cowl hood and down its side. The front end features a standard Camaro SS bumper with a NASCAR-like carbon fiber valance. The front fascia features a GM Heritage grille and a set of HID headlights with halo lights around them.
This Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 also boasts a fully customized hood with a reverse-flow hood scoop and a set of mesh air intakes. On either side of the hood scoop are the aforementioned red and gray stripes, making the hood even more unique.
Down the side of this Camaro, there’s the sexy and muscular appearance of the typical 2011 Camaro. Making this side-angle view more interesting are carbon fiber ground effects that widen out with the body as we approach the rear wheel wells. As we stated before, there is a red-outlined gray stripe down the side of the Camaro with “RCR” cut out of it on the rear quarter panel.
On the back end of this awesome machine are your standard Camaro taillights that are reminiscent of classic Camaro taillights. Just above the taillight is a large spoiler that is obviously inspired by the spoiler that NASCAR vehicles don. Under the rear bumper sits a plastic matte black insert that the dual chrome exhaust tips protrude from, making this tail end look so good that the competition won’t mind staring at it.
RCR did a great job on modifying the body of an already stunning car. Many racing companies take their modifications too far and ruin the natural good looks of a car. RCR obviously took great care not to do this.
We’ll begin by saying that we do not particularly care for the Camaro’s interior from the factory, so we cannot fault RCR for the hand that they were dealt. Chevy way overdid the “space age” design of the new Camaro’s dashboard and really killed its muscular outward appearance.
RCR completely customized the majority of the interior, giving it a two-toned black and gray look. The door panels are all black with a gray insert in them. The outline of each front seat is black, but the seating area is gray. The headrests have “RCR” embroidered into them. The rear seats boast the same styling as the front, sans the headrests.
Neat additions to the Camaro, which almost make up for the space age dashboard, are the four rectangular gauges that are placed near the base of the center stack. This Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 boasts RCR embroidered floor mats too, just in case you forget who built this beast.
Technology is pretty plentiful in this Camaro too, as is features GM’s “Heads Up” display, a Boston Acoustics AM.FM radio that plays CD and MP3s, SiriusXM radio capabilities, nine speakers, cruise control, and Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, this Camaro boasts power windows, power door locks, self-dimming rearview mirrors, dual front airbags, side curtain airbags, and remote keyless entry.
As we said, we are not particularly fond of the Camaro’s interior straight from the factory, but we have to give RCR some credit for not making it any worse. If anything, the two-toned interior helps to draw your attention away from the cluster of buttons on the dashboard. We do wish RCR would have mounted an emblem on the dashboard and maybe have added in a less space shuttle-like steering wheel.
Engine and Drivetrain
The engine and drivetrain are where RCR really rolled up its proverbial sleeves and dove in. This Camaro began life with the already impressively powerful 400-horsepower LS3 6.2-liter V-8 engine. The guts of the engine remain the same, as RCR reused the high-flow heads, high-flow intake manifold, aggressively ground camshaft, offset rocker arms, 10.7-to1 compression ratio, and high-capacity fuel injectors that already came with the LS3 V-8.
RCR added in an Air Raid cold air intake system that sucks cool air from the wheel well to help increase throttle response and add a slight amount of horsepower. We love the fact that this cold air intake has a seal that contacts the hood to keep warm air out and that it is only about 12 inches long, giving the air less time to heat up en route to the intake manifold.
The most horsepower is gained in this 6.3-liter V-8 by the aggressive tuning program that RCR flashed into the Camaro’s computer system. This is the beauty of OBD-II cars, there is always untapped horsepower left in the engine that is easily released by simple programming modifications.
The intake manifold and RCR computer programming bumps the horsepower in the LS3 V-8 to an impressive 500 ponies, which is a nice jump for the limited mods to the engine.
The transmission is the standard SS six-speed Tremec manual transmission connected to the standard limited-slip rear differential. Inside the differential the standard 3.27-to-1 gears were replaced with much taller 3.73-to-1 gears. This allows the Camaro to accelerate more quickly, but also lowers the vehicle’s top speed. Keeping all of this in check is the Camaro SS’s standard launch control program.
The standard 6.2-liter V-8 launches the 2011 Camaro SS to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. The extra 100 horsepower and taller gear ratio likely drop this time down to the 4.5-second range, which is damn impressive for this American muscle car. The standard SS Camaro blasts the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds at 108 mph and we would assume that this monster hits the finish in about 12.8 seconds at 115 mph.
The engine work on this car is impressive, considering it was boosted 100 horsepower without really messing with much. This not only leads to a more reliable engine down the road, but also means when it does break there are no worries about running into issues finding the correct parts for it.
Suspension and Braking
As expected, this Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 has independent suspension all the way around. On the front and rear there are heavy duty stabilizer bars to help limit excessive body lean in the twisty stuff. On each corner there’s Pfadt Performance 1.25-inch lowering springs to keep the Camaro’s center of gravity closer to the ground, limiting body lean even more. Topping off the steering and handling systems is a variable ratio, speed-sensitive power steering system – no electric power steering garbage on this machine!
On each corner, there’s a fine 20-inch machined aluminum wheel painted with matte black accents and a red line around its lip. Wrapped around these rims are a set of super sticky 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero tires. Pirelli P-Zero are notoriously terrible for longevity, but there are few better built for both street and track.
The braking system is disappointingly stock, as it features the same Brembo system that any old Camaro SS features. Then again, the stock 2011 Camaro SS only uses 107 feet when stopping from 60 mph, so they are adequate.
Surprisingly, this Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 is not some $100K machine, though the higher levels of the RC series approach and eclipse that mark. Nope, the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 carries a $49,900 price tag from RK Motors Charlotte, which is a doable price for most professionals.
The only competition we can muster up is the 2011 Ford Mustang GT500, which is about on the same level as the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1, in terms of performance at least.
The GT500 and Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 both feature a sexy and lightly modified exterior, but we have to give the Camaro a slight lead here, thanks to the nicely modified hood and carbon fiber ground effects.
On the inside we think you can figure out who wins. That’s right, the Camaro’s awful interior design comes back to haunt the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1, as we certainly would take the more traditional Mustang GT500’s interior over it.
Under the hood – the only place that really matters – these two are on a pretty even playing field. The Mustang GT500 boasts a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine that cranks out 550 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 510 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. While this is 50 ponies more than the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1, the Mustang GT500 utilizes forced air to achieve these numbers. As much as we love the “whoosh” of a supercharger, we also hate the additional maintenance that it calls for.
Unfortunately for Chevy, we are not here to discuss maintenance. We are here to talk about raw performance. The Mustang GT500 flies to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and screams through the 1/4-mile in 12.4 seconds at 117 mph. Both of those numbers annihilate our estimated Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 specs, putting the Mustang up front.
Add in the fact that a used Mustang GT500 can be had from anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 makes it a better upfront value than the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1. Having said that, the Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 has just 317 miles on its odometer, so no one has gotten the chance to beat the hell out of it yet and you know what you are getting with it.
While the GT500 is a great car and outperforms this Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1, we never recommend picking up a used performance car over a new one, just to get an extra 50 ponies. We slap our approval on picking up this special edition Camaro and putting a few miles on it. Don’t go too crazy with driving it, as a low mileage Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1 may be worth a ton of money in 10 to 20 years.
- Stylish design
- Powerful engine
- Low mileage
- Space age interior blows
- Stock braking system
- Mustang GT500 is cheaper and has better performance numbers
Gallery Chevrolet Camaro SS/RC1
Dale Earnhardt was the last of a vanishing breed of NASCAR drivers who would stop at nothing to win a race. His sheer tenacity and ability to bring a car through almost anything unscathed were a unique talent that resulted in him becoming one of the most successful and recognizable motorsports icons of all time. ‘The Intimidator’ was an unstoppable force who was a literal embodiment of the American dream to experience success against all odds. In many ways, the new Camaro shares that same spirit of survival. After its cancellation, dedicated enthusiasts within GM wanted it to return and fought a hard won battle that, despite a huge recession, higher gas prices, stricter fuel economy rules and parent company GM’s own bankruptcy culminated in the car you see here. What better way to celebrate the legacy of one of the most tenacious drivers in history and the return of a legendary pony car than with Camaro #3 from RCR Street Performance.
In 2010, RCR Street Performance was founded by the dedicated staff of Richard Childress Racing with one goal in mind: to apply years of hands on knowledge and winning tradition to reliable and proven performance cars for the street. These cars wouldn’t just turn heads with awesome good looks, they would consist of track tested performance components that would be engineered to the exact specifications of racers and sold as complete performance packages. That dedication to building the perfect car resulted in the RCR Street Performance Camaro program and provides you, the enthusiast with the exclusive opportunity to purchase a purpose built performance car from an actual race team.
Exclusively offered through RK Motors Charlotte’s partnership with Richard Childress Racing, Camaro SS/RC1 #3 is the third RC1 series car built by RCR Street Performance. The guys at RCR Street Performance threw the book at this car and the result is a turn-key performance package that features the sinister good looks of the 2011 Camaro, a very impressive 500 horses under the hood and a suspension that is built for the track.
With only 208 test miles on its odometer, this car is the third RC1 Camaro to be built and came straight from the RCR Street Performance shop to our RK Motors Charlotte showroom. The factory body panels are covered in showroom caliber GM gloss black and display excellent fit and finish. At the front of the car, an already menacing Camaro SS specific front bumper receives a carbon fiber front valence that would look right at home on a NASCAR stock car. Above that valence, HID headlamps with round halos sit at either side of a custom GM Heritage grille and combine with factory fog lights in black factory surrounds to provide excellent illumination. Behind the grille, a custom hood with a carbon fiber hood scoop and mesh air intakes wears silver graphics that are outlined in red. At the side of the car, the clean black profile wears another silver and red graphic that traces the car’s front and rear fender lines to better define its classic muscle car shape. Below the door, carbon fiber side skirts match the ground to body ratio of the carbon fiber front valence and widen to line up with massive 10.5 inch wide rear tires. Ornamentation is simple and to the point with a factory chrome “Camaro” badge behind the front tire and “RCR Street Performance” integrated into the side decals on the rear fender. At the back of the car, a NASCAR inspired high profile rear spoiler sits above a blacked out tail panel, blacked out marker lights and a gold and silver Chevy bowtie. Below the blacked out tail panel, a factory splitter houses stainless tips that flow from the cars cat back stainless exhaust system. At the corners of the car, 20 inch custom machined wheels are painted with matte black accents and include red stripes, RCR Street Performance center caps and 275/40/20 Pirelli P-Zero performance radials. The trademark black, silver and red Richard Childress Racing color scheme is instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the last 25 years of Richard Childress Racing. And when combined with the carbon fiber body pieces and custom wheels it creates an absolutely killer look that is befitting of this cars performance ability.
Raise the custom hood and you’ll find GM’s honed and perfected 6.2 liter LS3 V8 that creates 400 horsepower straight from the factory. The LS3 uses a cast aluminum block, high flow aluminum heads, a high flow intake manifold, an aggressive camshaft, offset intake rocker arms, upgraded electronic fuel injectors and coil near plug firing for a 10.7:1 compression ratio and virtually unmatched street car performance. The RC1 package adds an Airaid cold air intake with a reusable filter and a custom RCR engine tune to bump the power up to a nice, even 500 horses. The motor is dressed in a cool Camaro exclusive shroud that carries the same black and silver theme as the rest of the car and retains its OEM appearance save for the open air filter and the Airaid badging on the air tube. Above the engine, the custom hood is finished in gloss black and is so well done that it could pass for an OEM installation.
Underneath the car, a factory Camaro SS Tremec 6060 6-speed manual transmission sends all that horsepower to a factory Camaro SS limited slip rear end which has been upfitted with 3.73 gears. Built around that transmission and rear end is a Nurburgring tested Macpherson strut front and independent rear suspension that includes heavy duty stabilizer bars and Pfadt Performance 1.25 inch drop springs at all four corners. Variable ratio, speed sensitive power steering and Camaro SS specific Brembo four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake distribution aid in handling. And GM’s Stabilitrak traction and stability control system and a 6-speed Camaro SS exclusive launch control system attempt to keep a handle on all the added horsepower. At the rear of the car, a stainless cat back Billy Boat Performance Exhaust system looks cool and sounds awesome.
In the cockpit of this Camaro, a custom gray and black interior carries over the two toned theme of the exterior and shows no wear at all. At the top of the front seats, custom RCR Street Performance headrests are a natural fit. The heritage inspired dash houses a Driver Information Center between a square speedometer and square tachometer, and includes GM’s acclaimed Heads Up Display which projects vital information onto the windshield. To the right of the driver, a Boston Acoustics premium audio system plays an AM/FM radio, a CD player, an MP3 player or XM satellite radio through 9 speakers. Below the dash, the console features factory optioned four pack gauges and a shifter with a leather wrapped shift knob and silver stitching to match the seats. In front of the driver, the leather wrapped and silver stitched tilt and telescoping steering wheel includes buttons for the cars Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and redundant audio controls. At the floor board, billet pedals sit above custom RCR Street Performance floor mats that protect light gray carpet. The door panels feature silver accent panels to match the carpet and seats and house controls for the power door locks, power windows and self-dimming rear view mirrors. Safety features include dual front airbags, side impact airbags, side curtain airbags and remote keyless entry.
Documentation for this car includes the cars owner’s manual and accessories booklets, original paperwork from the dealership and an RCR Street Performance sheet.
2011 Camaro SS/RC1 #3 is ready to lap the track or tear up the roads immediately. No need to wait. It’s been built, it’s been dyno tuned at the RCR shop and it’s available for viewing in our RK Motors Charlotte Showroom. So for you guys who are falling in love with this car, (and you know who you are) don’t hesitate! YOU could be laying some rubber in our parking lot tomorrow.
We all remember how great The Intimidator was both on and off the track. There is no better way to honor his legacy than driving around in a bad ass 500 horsepower muscle car that is painted black and badged with the number 3. RC1 Camaro #3 is a custom build by a successful organization that has years of experience building race winning track cars. It takes a killer small block V8 and packs it into a race proven performance package with show-stopping good looks. If you’re looking for a car that can be a track day winner and a street car cruiser at the same time, call now!