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2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Ready for BaJa? By Dan Sanchez Photos courtesy of Chevrolet The first midsize pickups were designed for light-duty, and fuel economy. Those designated with off-road capability received nothing more than high-pressure gas shocks and all-terrain tires. By modern standards, that doesn’t cut it for real truck owners and off-road enthusiasts. They want a truck with a proven track record of hauling loads on the highway, as well as at high-speed on dirt roads. When the first Chevrolet Colorado appeared in 2004, it was designed from a joint venture between Chevrolet and Isuzu. The truck became popular with people wanting a compact truck with the capability of carrying light cargo in the bed. It wasn’t until the introduction of the ZR2 in 2017, that an off-road version of the truck came to the forefront. Chevrolet appeared to be committed with the ZR2 model’s off-road performance, adding its own unique shock system called the Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve, locking front and rear differentials, longer control arms and more, which real off-road enthusiasts would appreciate. Since that time, Chevrolet has continued to enhance the Colorado ZR2, the latest being the 2021 model that enjoys some real off-road racing experience behind it. Since 2017, the truck has been a part of the Hall Racing Team, run by Chad Hall, son of ORMHOF inductee Rod Hall, and has survived numerous racing series with components that were made more robust with the Hall’s input. Some of these turned into factory racing components which now are available as aftermarket parts to fit the newest 2021 ZR2 models. These parts include race-tuned versions of ZR2’s Multimatic Front and Rear Long Travel DSSV shocks with up to 15 percent more suspension travel in the front and 10 percent in the rear. Other factory racing parts include a 1.5-inch Body Lift System, Front, and Rear Jounce Shock Systems, ZR2 Steel Driveshaft, Plunging Ball Spline Half Shaft System and severe duty Tie Rod Sleeve Systems. “In off-road racing, your speed comes from your suspension, not your engine. Usually, when you modify the suspension on a stock truck, the rest of the truck can’t keep up with it,” said Chad Hall. “However, the Colorado is such a great platform, everything seems to work at the same level. This is true even during off-road races, which are some of the most punishing miles you’ll ever put on a truck.” Along with some updated trim that differentiates it from previous models, the 2021 Colorado ZR2 also comes in a new Sand Dune Metallic paint. A lower front fascia and front skid plates, along with a revised Chevy “bowtie” front emblem and an embossed “Chevrolet” on the tailgate also aid in giving the 2021 model a more aggressive appearance. According to Bob Krapes, director of marketing, Chevrolet Trucks, the front offers drivers improved visibility when tackling difficult terrain at speed. As most SCORE fans know, driving fast on difficult terrain requires extensive suspension modifications, but Chevrolet engineers have continued using the company’s Multimatic DSSV™ position-sensitive dampers, along with a two-inch suspension lift and 3.5-inch wider track. Included are cast-iron control arms and skid plates in key locations for optimum drivetrain protection. Fortunately, the 2021 Colorado ZR2 still comes with front and rear electronic locking differentials and includes rocker panel protection. ZR2 models are available in WT, LT, and Z71 trim levels. WT and LT models feature a gold Chevy bowtie while the Z71 gets a black bowtie logo. Although the Colorado ZR2 has had success in a variety of off-road racing venues, SCORE fans hope to see it soon during the 2020 race season. According to Hall Racing, the team will be running it's Chevrolet Silverado SCORE Trophy Truck Spec at the SCORE Baja 400 and SCORE Baja 1000 this season.

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