The first-ever Silverado ZR2, Chevy’s flagship off-road truck, made its official racing debut in the Best In The Desert King Shocks Laughlin Desert Classic, but this truck is no stranger to competition.
Off-road racing champion Chad Hall has been competing in the full-size stock production class with a prototype Silverado ZR2 since 2019. Working with Chevrolet engineers, the team leverages racing to test and validate the truck’s off-road performance in some of the most extreme and grueling conditions in the world. The learnings are then used to develop components for production vehicles and performance parts.
“At Chevrolet, our motorsports philosophy is ‘sell what you race, and race what you sell.’ Competing in off-road racing puts our trucks and performance parts through extreme levels of abuse that most trucks will never encounter,” said Dom Lester, General Motors chief engineer for Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports Engineering. “The Silverado ZR2 is a perfect example of how that strategy delivers. We applied what we learned with Chad Hall’s experience in the prototype race truck to the production truck customers buy in the showroom.”
Since 2019, the prototype ZR2 race truck has competed in 10 professionally-sanctioned off-road races, including the legendary Vegas to Reno Best In The Desert race last month – the truck had a flawless race, stopping only to refuel. For the race debut today, the team simply updated the truck with ZR2 sheet metal to match the new production truck. All other major chassis, suspension and powertrain components are the same.
Links between the production truck and the race truck are significant as they share most of the major chassis and drivetrain components, including the robust, ladder-type frame, 420-horsepower 6.2L V-8 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, transfer case, front and rear differential, front skid plate and transfer case skid plate.
“It was exciting to help Chevrolet prove the Silverado ZR2’s off-road capability, hiding the prototype technologies in plain sight,” said Hall. “The tests and refinements made over the past couple of years absolutely prove the adage that racing improves the breed — making the production Silverado ZR2 a strong, capable off-road truck.”
First-ever Silverado ZR2
The 2022 Silverado ZR2 leads Chevy’s factory-lifted off-road lineup, offering race-proven off-road performance matched with a new, premium interior, immersive technology and a number of standard safety equipment features in a comprehensive package.
Suspension upgrades, enhanced off-road technology and exterior enhancements were developed to optimize off-road performance and capability — whether desert running or rock crawling — and balance everyday driving comfort, with payload and trailering capabilities comparable to other Silverado off-road trims. The ZR2’s max payload is 1,440 pounds and the conventional trailer weight rating is 8,900 pounds.
Additional highlights include:
- Standard 6.2L V-8 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission
- Silverado-first application of Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers, which feature:
- Three separate spool valves to control damping
- Three connected chambers for fluid flow
- Uniquely-tuned springs that, with the Multimatic dampers, increase maximum front and rear suspension travel, compared to the Silverado Trail Boss
- Front and rear e-lockers
- Specific off-road chassis and suspension calibrations, including Terrain Mode, which allows one-pedal rock crawling
- Specific 33-inch off-road MT tires
- Unique skid plate package
- New high-approach steel front bumper designed for off-road strength, durability and clearance, enabling an improved 31-degree approach angle, compared to other Silverado off-road models.
- Chevy “flow-tie” emblem for increased air flow
- Repositioned dual exhaust for added protection
Along with its functional features, the new Silverado ZR2 is distinguished by several aesthetic cues, including a new black hood insert, a unique grille with integrated lighting, wheel moldings, ZR2 badges, unique 18-inch wheels and an exclusive Jet Black/Graystone leather-trimmed interior with complementing dark trim.
The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 goes on sale in spring 2022.
FAST FACT: Chad Hall Racing also helped test the Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-road technologies in competition — and is still going strong with them. The Colorado ZR2 has been racing since 2017 in the Best In The Desert series and is the only truck in its class to have finished every race entered. It has accumulated more than 22,500 miles of racing experience.