Is Chevy Testing A Raptor Killer?
This week Chevy introduced an off-road-ready Silverado built to compete in the Best in the Desert Racing series, debuting at the Laughlin Desert Classic this month. Chevy claims this Silverado is for engineering development and validation but if you read between the lines, Chevy is testing a Silverado ZR2 off-road package.
Chevy has a history of testing off-road truck trims in a race setting before rolling them out on showroom floors. Take for example the Colorado ZR2 Bison, Chevy raced a version of this truck in the 2017 season of the Best in the Desert Racing series before releasing a production version a year later. Based on this knowledge we expect a production-ready Silverado ZR2 in about a year.
Gallery: Off-Road-Ready Chevy Silverado Could Preview Hot ZR2 Version
The Off-road race Silverado Chevy is fielding this year competes in the 1200 Stock class, which limits changes to suspension, underbody, and installation of race-safety equipment. To keep the Silverado race truck safe on tough terrain the race truck is beefed up with rear shock skids, 35-inch off-road tires and skid plates covering the transfer case, steering gear, rear differential, and front underbody.
The Silverado race truck also uses long-travel suspension and a set of prototype high-capacity Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSVTM) dampers. These innovative dampers give the Colorado ZR2 serious off-road performance and their application on the Silverado will surely follow suit.
The team at Multimatic is very excited about the Silverado’s off-road racing future Michael Guttilla, executive vice president, Multimatic Engineering. “We’ve taken everything we learned from the highly successful Colorado ZR2 program and scaled it to deliver next-level performance in the Silverado. Initial on-truck development has been successful, but competition will provide a true test.”
With the current success of the Colorado ZR2 and the promise of the Silverado’s Best in the Desert Racing series, we have high hopes for a future Silverado ZR2. Can a ZR2 Silverado dethrone the mighty Raptor?
LAS VEGAS — Today, Chevrolet announced the Silverado will compete in the Best in the Desert Racing series, debuting at the Laughlin Desert Classic in October 2019. The Silverado race program follows the success of the Colorado ZR2 in off-road racing. Like Colorado, the Silverado race truck will be used for engineering development and validation.
“Off-road racing is just brutal on vehicles,” said Mark Dickens, chief engineer, Government Programs, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports, “and a single race puts more wear and tear on trucks than most vehicles will experience in years. That makes off-road racing a valuable test bed to evaluate new components. What we learn while racing informs everything from future performance parts and accessories to GM Defense projects and production vehicle changes.”
Chevrolet Performance first applied this model to the Colorado ZR2, which has competed in off-road racing since 2017. Driven by Chad Hall of Hall Racing, the Colorado ZR2 was one of only four of 434 vehicles to finish all 12 Best in the Desert races it competed in. In the process, the team developed a portfolio of 15 Colorado ZR2 race parts available through Chevrolet Performance. Many of those parts have since been integrated in to GM Defense’s Infantry Squad Vehicle selected for prototype testing and evaluation by the U.S. Army.
The Silverado race truck started as a LT Trail Boss model, powered by the 420-hp, 6.2L V-8 mated to a 10-speed automatic. The truck will compete in Best in the Desert’s 1200 Stock class, which limits changes to suspension, underbody and installation of race-safety equipment.
Significant changes to this vehicle include long travel suspension, front and rear jounce shocks and a set of prototype high-capacity Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSVTM) dampers.
This damper technology was first used in an off-road application with the factory Colorado ZR2, followed by the ZR2 race truck. These dampers have proven to be remarkably capable for off-road racing, offering impressive levels of control and compliance. For full-size Silverado race truck, the dampers have been scaled up for greater wheel travel and even greater control.
“This is the next evolution of the DSSV off-road damper,” said Michael Guttilla, executive vice president, Multimatic Engineering. “We’ve taken everything we learned from the highly successful Colorado ZR2 program and scaled it to deliver next-level performance in the Silverado. Initial on-truck development has been successful, but competition will provide the true test.”
Other prototype parts on the Silverado race truck include front and rear jounce shocks, rear shock skids, 35-inch off-road tires and skid plates covering the transfer case, steering gear, rear differential and front underbody.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished with the Colorado ZR2 race truck, and I’m excited to see what the Silverado is capable of,” said Chad Hall of Hall Racing. “With Colorado ZR2, we cut four hours off our race time from our first Vegas to Reno race to our second. When you marry that suspension design and expertise with the Silverado’s 420-hp V-8 and even greater suspension travel, I believe this new race truck will be a beast on the race course.”
The Silverado will be joined in the Laughlin Desert Classic by Hall Racing’s Colorado ZR2, driven by Frank D’Angelo. Chevrolet will participate in six Best in the Desert races next year, along with the Mint 400, with both Silverado and ZR2.
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