The Ford Raptor has been in a class of one for some time, as it’s the only half-ton pickup built for high-speed off-roading, but Chevrolet will have answer soon.
Chevy has once again partnered with the Hall Racing team, just like the brand did to bring the midsize Colorado ZR2 to life. And like that small truck, all of the parts and upgrades coming to Chevy’s planned Raptor fighter, rumored to be called the ZRX, are being tested and refined in the toughest way possible: Desert Racing.
Hall Racing will take the race-prepped Silverado through the Best In the Desert series this season, which means hundreds of miles of the roughest terrain that the United States has to offer.
The biggest components coming to the upgraded Silverado, both in size and impact, are new shocks by Multimatic, using spool valve technology to allow this truck to ride solid on the road and then swallow up the biggest whoops and rocks when the pavement ends. New hydraulic bump stops and unique leaf springs are also part of the suspension package, and let me tell you first hand, this new setup makes a significant difference.
We met up with Hall Racing at the Mint 400, a desert race that takes place in Primm, Nevada, outside Las Vegas. It was there that I strapped into the backseat of the Silverado race truck with Chad Hall behind the wheel for a one hour thrill ride.
Immediately after pulling out of the pits, it was clear that this truck wasn’t a standard Silverado. Still in the 25 mph speed limited zone, the suspension felt plush underneath us and the truck pitched ever so slightly backwards. Then the reigns were taken off, and we entered what has to be one of the toughest testing laboratories out there.
Near constant whoops keep the suspension working, while tire-eating rocks and VW sized holes lurk around every corner. And more than once, we hit a hole with entirely too much speed, putting the bump stops to the test. The hits weren’t soft, but they never had the spine shattering affect that overcooking a hole in a stock pickup can.
Climbing out of the truck, one thing was incredibly clear to me: Chevy is going after the Raptor’s crown, and it has a serious contender on its hands.
To find out all the details on the truck and to see it in action, you’ll have to watch the full video above.