In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” has become somewhat of a mantra in the world of competitive racing, and it’s especially relevant for companies that are starting a new factory racing program. The pressure is on to perform and win, as second place simply isn’t an option. With the stakes so high, companies must be prepared to invest heavily in research, development, and state-of-the-art technology in order to gain a competitive edge and come out on top. The journey won’t be easy, but for those who are willing to push themselves to the limit, the rewards of a successful racing program can be immeasurable.
Polaris Off Road has recently embarked on a new venture by launching an industry-first Polaris Factory Racing team, which will race and develop their RZR Pro R Factory, the first purpose-built, race-ready UTV. Based on the award-winning RZR Pro R platform, the RZR Pro R Factory is designed to withstand the grueling demands of open desert racing. The team will participate in various desert races, including the SCORE International series and the Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno race. The RZR Pro R Factory features a race-tuned engine, a high-strength and lightweight chassis, and advanced suspension systems that provide maximum control.
“Since the early days when automotive OEMs drove the evolution of off-road racing, to the modern factory racing programs that exist today in auto racing, every legitimate factory racing program has been built around the development of a purpose-built race vehicle, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the RZR Pro R Factory,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President, Polaris Off Road Recreation. “We are a company of passionate enthusiasts that live and breathe the off-road lifestyle and the development of the RZR Pro R Factory was nothing short of a labor of love. We are excited to arm our new factory racing team with this incredible machine as we embark on our inaugural season at the San Felipe 250.”
At the wheel of each RZR Pro R Factory machine are Polaris RZR’s new factory drivers Austin Weiland, Brock Heger and Cayden MacCachren. As three of the sport’s brightest young drivers, each has extensive off-road racing experience and various accolades to their name.
But What Does This Mean for You?
As a factory race program, the racing team is backed and supported by Polaris, which means they have access to the latest technology and resources to develop and test their machines. This allows them to push the limits of what’s possible, and to constantly improve their UTVs in terms of performance, reliability, and safety. It will have a significant impact on the overall quality and competitiveness of its products, as well as its market position and reputation. It’s a high-stakes, high-reward endeavor that requires a significant investment of time, money, and resources, but can pay off handsomely in a win-win situation for both the manufacturer and the end consumer.
And for those who are looking to buy a UTV for their own off-road adventures, the RZR Pro R Factory and its future iterations will undoubtedly be top contenders for the ultimate racing machine. The innovations and technology developed through Polaris’ factory racing program will trickle down to the Polaris production models and into the hands of the everyday off-road enthusiast.
What’s It Like Riding In a RZR Pro R Factory?
If you have ever driven a UTV, you know the feeling of freedom that comes with going fast off-road. At least, that’s what you think until you ride with Austin Weiland and Cayden MacCachren on their shakedown runs. Prior to that, we had spent plenty of time in some Pro Rs, hauling ass and having fun, thinking we were fast. Little did we know that the Polaris PR team had a surprise in store for us. We were fortunate enough to sit shotgun with both Austin and Cayden, and it was an eye-opening experience for many reasons. For starters, these guys are incredibly fast, and the speed, acceleration, and handling of the Pro R are truly intense. It was a quick and exciting hot lap around Johnson Valley, showcasing various terrains and conditions they may encounter during a race. Without a doubt, it was pure adrenaline and pure fun!
Pics Or It Didn’t Happen!
Well, we’ll one-up it with some video. Check out the fun below for some in-car and awesome aerial footage of our ride with the pros!
The Goods (The Tech Specs and Go Fast Goodies)
The RZR Pro R demonstrated its elite combination of performance and durability last year when Brandon Sims captured the 2022 Baja 1000 UTV Overall. With the purpose-built RZR Pro R Factory, Polaris has taken the Pro R platform and elevated it with a race-ready level of power, strength, and control capable of withstanding the harsh terrain and unrelenting demands of desert racing’s most daunting events.
The RZR Pro R Factory features the industry’s most powerful engine in a consumer side-by-side, the naturally-aspirated ProStar Fury 2.0L.is tuned for wide-open desert racing, the RZR Pro R Factory’s large rear-mounted radiators and Polaris Lubricants PS-4 Extreme ultimate synthetic engine oil take performance to the limit and allow the factory drivers to push the machine further in the harshest conditions. A racing-calibrated driveline with a race-tuned transmission provides maximum power to the ground, and high-strength, lightweight materials increase the overall power-to-weight ratio for maximized performance from start to finish.
Built with a high-strength, lightweight chassis compliant with FIA T4 Class, SCORE, Best in the Desert, and Rally Raid race series, the RZR Pro R Factory is ready for any global race event. Equipped with 35″ BFGoodrich Tires that maximize power while staying secure on Method Race Wheels with exclusive Bead Grip technology. A full skid plate, front and rear Baja bumper, and cage offer complete vehicle protection so critical components such as the engine and driveline stay protected. In addition, integrated mounts for spare tires, jack, and tool kits allow the factory racers to confidently tackle each racecourse, knowing they can get out of tricky situations when needed.
The RZR Pro R Factory features FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks and a race-tuned DYNAMIX DV system that delivers maximum control through the roughest terrain. These systems are the ultimate in high performance, independently adjusting the compression and rebound in each shock to keep the vehicle firmly planted through corners and floating across the roughest whoop sections. The racing cockpit provides improved racing ergonomics with Sparco seats, harnesses, and steering wheel, offering the comfort needed to stay focused on the next corner, whoop section, or rock climb. Additionally, factory drivers and their co-pilots can closely monitor the course and know what lies ahead with a seven-inch RIDE COMMAND and GPS, all while staying in touch with their pit crew with PCI radio communication systems. RIGID lighting enables the racers to see and be seen in the harshest conditions.
If you enjoyed this ride-along with the Polaris Factory Racing team and want to see more, be sure to follow along as they take on the rugged terrain at San Felipe 250 this weekend. With their purpose-built RZR Pro R Factory and the skill of their talented drivers, Austin Weiland, Brock Heger, Cayden MacCachren and possibly another surprise driver, the team is sure to put on a thrilling performance. Don’t miss out on the action and stay tuned for updates on their upcoming races by following the Polaris Off Road social media accounts