Chevy's New Race Truck Makes Me Think There's A Silverado ZR2 Coming

Photo: GM
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Chevrolet announced it’s going to run a Silverado in the Best In The Desert off-road racing series’ 1200 Stock Class, which is neat, but far more interesting is the fact that the truck will run a version of the Multimatic Spool Valve shocks that make the Colorado ZR2 cool and unique. Does this mean a Silverado ZR2 is in the pipeline? I’m beginning to wonder.

“What we learn while racing informs everything from future performance parts and accessories to GM Defense projects and production vehicle changes,” said Mark Dickens, whose long title is Chief Engineer, Government Programs, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports, in a press release.

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That same release stated that Chevy “will participate in six Best in the Desert races next year, along with the Mint 400, with both Silverado and ZR2.”

The Silverado race truck reportedly started as a LT Trail Boss model, with GM’s 6.2-liter V8 making a claimed 420 horsepower paired up with a 10-speed automatic. Added to the kit was a long-travel suspension system, front and rear jounce shocks and a set of “prototype high-capacity Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers.”

Multimatic has been making performance car suspension for some time, but essentially entered the off-road world just a few years ago when its spool valve shock system was applied to the Colorado ZR2. As I wrote in 2016 when that truck came out:

Standard shocks are basically cylinders with a stack of metal discs that are all different levels of stiffness. Some are thick and hard to bend, some you could flex between two fingers. The science of suspension, typically, involves figuring out what order and size to build that stack of discs so the fluid inside a shock tube flows in such a way that the shock provides the right feedback in turns and cousin in bumps while maintaining stability.

A spool valve shock does away with that shim stack and replaces it with, well, spool valves. Conceptually they perform the same function–regulating fluid flow in such a way that the shock can seamlessly switch between keeping your car planted and absorbing impacts.

The spool value technology is theoretically superior primarily because it’s much more precise. While traditional shocks are backing on bending metal, the spool valve has exactly-designed pin-holes that supposedly provide much better consistency and specific tuning.

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When I drove the truck the following year, my main takeaway was pretty much what Chevy intended–the vehicle did a great job being soft when you wanted it to be compliant and stiff when you wanted it to be sharp. The lack of gusto under the hood kept it from being a real Ford Raptor fighter, but the driving flow as a result of those sweet shocks was memorable. It’d be very cool to see that ported to the Silverado.

“For [the] full-size Silverado race truck, the dampers have been scaled up for greater wheel travel and even greater control,” Chevy’s release stated. Michael Guttilla, Executive Vice President, Multimatic Engineering, is quoted as explaining: “This is the next evolution of the DSSV off-road damper. 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.”

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The new race truck is also wearing a comprehensive suite of skid plates and 35-inch tires.

Obviously this isn’t a guarantee that a Silverado ZR2 will make it to dealerships, but it seems pretty clear that Chevy’s at least interested in exploring the idea. Big trucks have big profit margins, so I’ve got to imagine it’d be a pretty easy concept for the Silverado’s product planners to sell up the chain.

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Maybe they’re just waiting to see what the Jalopnik readers think about it.

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About the author

Andrew P. Collins

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL