Chevy's full-size Silverado pickup makes its racing debut this weekend, joining the Colorado ZR2 at the Best in the Desert race series at its kick-off event in Nevada. 

While Chevy hopes the Silverado will prove to be as successful on the desert racing circuit as the smaller Colorado, the primary goal of the program will be engineering development and validation, GM says. 

"Off-road racing is just brutal on vehicles and a single race puts more wear and tear on trucks than most vehicles will experience in years," Mark Dickens, GM's chief engineer for motorsports, said in a statement. 

Racing is often used as a test environment for everything from next-generation technology to bolt-on performance parts. 

"What we learn while racing informs everything from future performance parts and accessories to GM d35

efense projects and production vehicle changes," Dickens said.

The Silverado is competing in the series' stock class, which allows only a handful of modifications, mostly to address suspension durability and capability, and provide for driver safety. 

To prep the Silverado, Hall Racing installed a long travel suspension, front and rear jounce shocks, and a custom set of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks. 

Chevy has employed DSSV shocks on two production vehicles: the 2014 Camaro Z/28 and the current Colorado ZR2. This will be the first time they've been employed on the Silverado, and they've been beefed up to account for the full-size truck's added weight.

Further modifications include rear shock skids, 35-inch off-road tires, and skid plates covering the transfer case, steering gear, rear differential, and front underbody. 

The Best in the Desert Racing series kicks off in Laughlin, Nevada, Oct. 10-13.