GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) has lobbed an Australian-developed concept off-road racer based on the updated Silverado pickup.

It comes shortly after Ford’s Aussie-developed Ranger Raptor off-road racing ute won the stock category in the legendary Baja 1000 in Mexico.

The 12-month passion project serves as a neat promotional tool for the incoming Chevy Silverado ZR2, a more off-road-focused variation of the heavy hauler that’ll go on sale in Australia from mid 2023. 

The Silverado Off-Road Racer concept was built at the company’s Port Melbourne workshop by a group of GM employee volunteers, and from there “taken to the next level” with the involvement of Chevrolet Racing in the US. 

The program was managed by Mark Wakeman, a GM Australia/New Zealand employee who has been involved in off-road racing for the past 25 years.

“The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will be a new model to the GMSV line-up for MY23 and will deliver next-level off-road capability direct from the factory – making it the perfect platform for this latest announcement from Chevrolet Racing,” said GMSV Australia planning, network and motorsport director Tim Price. 

“What started as a passion project 12-months ago across GM teams in Australia and New Zealand quickly transformed into the creation you see today.”

From a GMSV perspective, the upcoming launch of the first Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 gives the increasingly popular big beast – which just passed 5000 sales and is being converted to right-hand drive at a new Melbourne production line – a more off-road focus. 

Some feature highlights of the Silverado ZR2 are front and rear e-lockers and Multimatic DSSV dampers, 33-inch mud terrain tyres, and new steel cut front bumper designed for off-road durability and clearance.

It also has a raised black bonnet (should that be hood?) insert with ZR2 badging, wheel flares, unique 18-inch gloss black wheels, and exclusive Jet Black/Graystone leather-appointed interior.

Like the LTZ Premium, it’s powered by a naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engine with 313kW of power and 624Nm of torque, mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The updated Silverado uses a new 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument cluster. The outgoing model has only an 8.0-inch screen, plus analogue gauges with a digital information screen.

As detailed here, the MY23 LTZ Premium will be priced from $121,000 before on-roads, up $6010 on the 2022 model, while the ZR2 will be priced at $124,000 before on-roads.

Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Off-Road Racer concept

Racing specifications: 

  • Full national spec roll cage
  • Racetech seats and harnesses
  • Toyo 35×12.5 18 Open Country MT tyres
  • ZR2 Multimatic DSSV Shock absorbers, re-tuned for off road racing
  • Chevrolet Performance Exhaust, air intake and heavy duty driveshaft
  • AEV Bison underbody protection

MORE: Chevrolet Silverado gets standalone RHD line, clocks up 5000 builds
MORE: 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 prices: ZR2 joins range

Mike Costello
Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
Buy and Lease
Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
Also on CarExpert