Greater Toronto Collector Car Museum | 1991 Player’s Challenge/GM Motor Sport Racing Series
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1991 Player’s Challenge/GM Motor Sport Racing Series

Players Challenge 1991 Camaro Z28 1LE R7U

General Motors was a big supporter of the Players Challenge/GM Motor Sport Racing Series during the late 80’s and early 90’s sponsoring such drivers as Ron Fellows, Richard Spenard and David Empringham in the Eastern Series. The racers competed in specially built identically prepared race ready Camaro’s and Trans Ams. Known by their RPO codes A4Q (1986), A4U (1987/88) and 1LE R7U (1988 to 1992), they were a well-kept secret within the racing and automotive community.

How did all of this come about?

The Players Challenge/GM Motor Sport Series ran from 1986 to 1992 at first using showroom stock Camaro’s and Firebird Trans Ams. It wasn’t too long before the deficiencies surfaced in brakes, fuel delivery and transmission gearing. GM engineer Phil Minch began researching better brake components in the GM parts bin that might help the situation without spending a lot of money. Along with Chuck Hughes, Chief engineer of the Camaro platform and Ray Canale, Powertrain manager for the F-Car line, they were able to devise unique in-house fixes for these problems. The package became known as RPO 1LE and was first offered in 1988 with only 4 Camaro’s and 3 Trans Ams equipped with the option.

Soon the racing series expanded to include International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Sports Car Club of America (SCAA) events in Canada and the U.S. Interest began to rise such that by 1992 the general public was well aware of the benefits of the 1LE option and a total of 714 Camaro’s and Trans Ams were produced that year alone. By 1993 the Challenge Series was over and the new 4th generation Camaro would incorporate many of the special features of the previous 1LE as standard equipment.

So what did you get for your original 1LE option?

  • Your choice of either the B2L 350 V8 mated to an automatic or the LB9 305 coupled to a specially calibrated 5 speed transmission
  • Engine oil cooler – required to keep the engine oil temperature down during racing
  • 4 wheel Corvette style disc brakes – to prevent overheating and brake fade
  • Aluminum drive shaft – to reduce mass and weight
  • Gas tank baffles – to prevent fuel starvation under hard cornering
  • Dual converter performance exhaust

In Canada, the Canadian Players Series racers simply ordered code R7U to get their cars. All R7U cars are 1LE’s but have added features separate from 1LE’s including power windows, power mirrors, a power hatch and a stereo cassette AM/FM radio. All of this was done to improve the resale value after the cars retired from racing. Additional features unique to the R7U’s were a specific power steering pump for racing, special Delco rear shock absorbers and hand built factory blueprinted 305 engines. The engines had special yellow paint fasteners to deter tampering, an identification tag on the manifold and a GM Motorsport decal on the intake plenum.

Canadian Players Challenge cars are very rare with fewer than 500 built compared to a total of 1464 1LE’s, in themselves also fairly rare. How many of those have survived the punishment of race tracks is any one’s guess.

Our featured Canadian Players Challenge car was built on March 2, 1990 and delivered to Stewart Chev Olds in Bolton Ontario. It is one of 97 built for the 1990/91 model year. With only 4 owners since new, it has been driven just over 10,000 kms and has never seen track time. It is optioned just as described above and has led a pampered life rarely venturing out into the world. The paint is original, shines like new and is immaculate. The interior is exceptional retaining that new car smell and there is nary a speck of dust under the hood or the underside of the car. All original components are in place. This truly is a “showroom new” Camaro Players Challenge Car.

This featured “showroom condition” 1991 Camaro Z28 1LE R7U is one of the cars available to our sponsors or patrons for promotional purposes.
Please contact us to find out how you can have it at your Dealership,  Automobile Show or Special Event.