Chevrolet has an ongoing social media campaign called #FindNewRoads. They show the fun, adventurous side of their product line. Recently, I was able to participate in one such adventure at a legendary location and cross off a major bucket list item of mine.
As an auto writer I’ve had many great experiences, but few can match what I was able to do at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevy invited automotive journalists to a drive event at the legendary race track. All told, six different ride events featuring six different Chevy vehicles were set up for us.
There was a makeshift slalom course for the Chevy Bolt EV, which is the reigning North American Car of the Year. This was my first experience behind the wheel of this all-electric vehicle, and I was impressed immediately with the torque. It was similar to other EVs I had driven, including the Tesla Model S. The 0-60 time was just over six seconds. So, if there’s any misconception about EVs being pokey and boring, the Bolt dismisses this. Additionally, the vehicle’s squatty stature helps keep it controlled. It performed like a go-kart.
Perhaps even more impressive than the torque is the Regen on Demand feature. This allows for one-pedal driving, with no need to hit the brake. Simply push the regen button and let off the accelerator, and the Bolt slows down and can even come to a stop. This can help boost the overall range of the vehicle, which is rated at 238 miles on one charge.
Chevy had its two pickup trucks available to show off. I drove the Silverado HD with the new 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel. This truck was towing an 8,500-pound concrete barrier. I floored it to determine the pull and torque of this engine, and as I got up to speed, didn’t even have to hit the brake as the new diesel exhaust brake system engaged and slowed the truck and the trailer down. This was an impressive display of power and performance and showed how this truck would be incredibly capable towing boats and RVs. With the Allison transmission, the Silverado never once hesitated and was up for the challenge.
The Silverado’s little brother, the Colorado, was available and was even more of a show-off. We drove the Colorado ZR2 which is the off-road ready version of this smaller truck. The ZR2 went through an articulation course, where one front wheel and one back wheel went off the ground, to show how off-road capable it was. I then strapped on a HANS (helmet/neck protection) and took the Colorado ZR2 through a make-shift off-road course over bumps and then over two ramps, the second of which I caught some air and landed gently. GM’s Multimatic shocks held their own through this challenging course, and the front and rear locking differentials helped the Colorado push through the obstacles.
The Colorado XR2 comes with either 3.6-liter V6 engine or a 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo Diesel engine. With the Duramax, the Colorado XR2 has 369 lbs.-ft. of torque.
I also got my first seat time behind the completely redesigned 2018 Chevy Equinox. I drove both the all-wheel drive option and the front-wheel drive option and found the AWD one to be more nimble with better handling. The Equinox course more simulated real-world driving encounters and showed off the crossover’s performance and ability. There is a diesel version of the Equinox that will roll out later in the year. I saw the diesels there, but was not able to drive one. I’m very interested to see how the diesel version will stack up against the gasoline.
You can’t go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway without getting some actual track time. The day concluded with me kissing the bricks, having experienced some raw power and speed on the oval of the IMS.
I felt like Unser or Andretti as I once again strapped on my HANS device, climbed into a Corvette Grand Sport and took a few laps on the race track. Following a professional driver in the pace car, I hugged the wall at a high rate of speed. I took the turns like a boss and on the straightaways, I let the Corvette’s raw power loose. While I only topped out around 120 mph, it was exhilarating.
The Corvette is one of my all-time favorite vehicles and this current-generation Vette is gorgeous and at home on the track. I hopped out of the Vette and climbed into the 2017 Camaro ZL1 for a demonstration of straightaway speed. In about 6 six seconds we got the muscle car up to 80 mph and then back to a dead stop. It was over before I knew it. But I heard the growl of the Camaro’s 650 horses. The 6.2-liter V8 engine certainly helped end my day with a smile on my face.
Driving on the Indy Motor Speedway has always been a dream. Roaring down the final straightaway, I could almost hear the crowd cheering for me. Hopping out, I was compelled to kiss the bricks, too, so I did. Bucket list item checked off. New roads found.