Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Makes Racing Debut At Best in the Desert
Its race-spec parts might arrive on production ZR2sby Mark McNabb, on
The Chevy Colorado ZR2 will finally have a chance to prove its off-road chops in a sanctioned race this weekend. Chad Hall of Hall Racing will drive a moderately modified 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 in the General Tire “Vegas to Reno” portion of the Best in the Desert racing series. The 550-mile, off-road race will trek through the Nevada desert starting at Las Vegas on Friday, August 19 and end in Reno on Sunday morning. More than 350 vehicles will compete in what’s regarded as the longest and most grueling off-road race within American borders.
But even folks who aren’t into racing should like this news: Chevy is working with Hall Racing and will closely monitor the Colorado ZR2 and its array of custom parts. Should they perform well, they have a potential to get bolted to a future version of the Colorado ZR2. Russ O’Blenes, the director of GM’s Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports division said, “The components being tested on this truck are ultimately intended to take the already-exceptional off-road capability of the Colorado to the next level. Racing them allows us to quickly understand their performance attributes and reliability in the extreme environment of off-road racing, ensuring the highest performing components for Colorado customers.”
So, what parts are custom and how much of this ZR2 is stock? Keep reading to find out.
A new version of “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday?”
The ZR2’s spool valves are beefed up to endure heavy abuse from high-speed desert running.
The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is a formidable off-roader right from the factory floor. Its headlining feature are its spool valve dampers from Multimatic – the same type of shock absorber found on supercars and F1 racers. The ZR2’s spool valves are beefed up to endure heavy abuse from high-speed desert running. The rest of the ZR2’s suspension is also strengthened over the standard Colorado’s. The truck rides two inches higher and is 3.5 inches wider than a standard Colorado, too. Aiding in traction are electronic locking front and rear differentials, while aggressive Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires do the dirty work. The ZR2’s exterior is also unique, boasting a heat-extracting hood vent and stubby bumpers for increased approach and departure angles.
It comes with the same 3.6-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission as all other Colorado versions.
The Colorado ZR2’s powertrain isn’t different, though. It comes with the same 3.6-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission as all other Colorado versions. Optionally, the ZR2 can be had with the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel and six-speed automatic transmission.
For the Best in the Desert race, Hall Racing chose the 3.6-liter gasser and the four-door Crew Cab version of the ZR2. But like most racing series, the officiating body requires extra safety gear. As such, Hall Racing added a roll cage, racing seats with fully harnesses, a 44-gallon fuel cell, two-way radios, a GPS system, and off-road lights from KC HiLites mounted above the windshield and on bull bar on the front bumper.
The truck’s mechanical additions include unnamed revised spool valve dampers and suspension system. The cargo bed is also sporting two full-size spare tires held in place with ratchet straps. Hall Racing also dumped the Goodyears for a set of larger BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM tires, but mounted on the factory 17-inch wheels.
It will be interesting to see how Chad Hall, his racing team, and the ZR2 hold up to the 550-mile desert race. Hall has plenty of trophies to his name, so this is certainly more of a test for the Chevy.
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.