2014 Chevrolet Silverado: Truck Stuff
August 8, 2014
With the transmission oil cooler in our 2014 Chevrolet Silverado good to go and World Superbike a mere 325 miles north at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, it was only natural to pile our Chevy full of gear, three people, and tow a pop-top camper up to one of the greatest race tracks in the country.
Oh, wait. I've never towed anything before in my life.
As it turns out, I didn't need to worry because the Silverado made towing a nearly 2,000-pound trailer a total piece of cake. Sure, the motor did work harder than usual, but it was never strained. And the same could be said about the brakes, as they had more than enough capacity to stop the packed truck and the brakeless trailer without drama. I should mention that while US 101 isn't exactly a rollercoaster ride of mountain passes, it's not flat either.
I need to add a paragraph about the Silverado transmission's tow/haul mode. It's really, really well sorted. Of course it holds on to gears a bit longer for every upshift, but as you slow, even if you simply coast, it pulls off some pretty slick rev-matched downshifts to take some load off the brakes. And on longer downhill grades, it activates a grade braking mode that, combined with the truck's barn-like aerodynamics, manages to hold the speed pretty constant. I kept an eye on the trans temps with the multi-function display, but it never exceeded 196-degrees F on even the longest uphill grades even in 96-degrees F weather.
Want to hear about the return trip? It was a carbon copy of the drive up, enough said.
And now for the important part: the Superbikes!
From a spectator's point of view, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is arguably the best track in North America. And while it's getting a bit narrow for the ultra-fast and aggressive prototypes, it's nearly perfect for motorcycles. Fully exposed, their skill, riding style and bravery is on display. If you can get to a motorcycle race this year, be it flat track, the domestic Superbike series, World Superbike or MotoGP, do it. Like you needed another reason not watch an IndyCar race...
Race One winner, Marco Melandri on board the Aprilia.
Race Two winner, Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki.
The very pretty MV Agusta, ridden by Leon Camier.
Jonny Rea on his TenKate Honda
Yeah, that's cool.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 24,090 miles