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Mostly Stock 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Survives 500-Mile Desert Race

The next generation off-roader finished BITD's Vegas to Reno event quicker than the old one ever did.

Real performance trucks go racing, and the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 serves as proof. The next generation pickup completed Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno contest over the weekend, less than a month after its public unveiling. Chad Hall Racing piloted the red and black machine to a final time of 12 hours, 24 minutes, and 49 seconds, which is plenty impressive when you consider the 500-mile route across rough, bouncy terrain.

This truck’s time was also 34 minutes quicker than the outgoing Colorado ZR2‘s best of 12:58:36.259 in 2021. Chad Hall Racing was behind that run as well, and with this weekend’s result, the outfit reached the finish line for a sixth consecutive year. This speaks to the Chevrolet’s reliability just as much as it does its performance.

The 2023 Colorado ZR2 race truck actually shares a lot with the production model. It features the same 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder that makes 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, as well as the same eight-speed automatic transmission. An upsized fuel tank capable of carrying 50 gallons is one of the few upgrades that aren’t safety-related; the Goodyear Wrangler mud terrain tires are gone in favor of BF Goodrich rubber, which isn’t surprising since that company is a team sponsor.

Importantly, Chad Hall Racing’s new Colorado ZR2 also wears the stock Multimatic DSSV dampers. They’re built to be virtually unphased by heat, and even if you do take one of these out in the desert, it’s unlikely you’ll put them through a test this tough. Just don’t count on swapping them onto a lower-trimmed Colorado.

If you look at the timing sheet, you’ll see that the Colorado ZR2 won its class. It’s also the only truck that was entered in the category, so that was always going to be the case. Nevertheless, it crossed the finish line with an extremely respectable time, and it looks like this new generation is an even better performer than the original.

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