Thunderhawk Performance is going racing!
We'll be covering the build-up of our RZR XP 1000 right here, as we get ready for the upcoming racing season. Now, this isn't going to be one of those mega-dollar build-ups where we gut the machine, cut it down to the frame rails and then build a tube-frame race car that gets RZR body panels when it's done. Those race car builds are cool to see, but don't relate at all to our typical customer, and their RZR.
Thunderhawk Performance will be racing at a natural-terrain short-course track, where anyone can bring their trail-ridden machine and enjoy a fun day of racing. Our plan is to build our RZR into a fast dual-purpose machine that can be raced competitively in the "Sportsman Open" class (801cc and larger, naturally aspirated) and still be trail-ridden on non-race weekends, using commonly-available bolt-on parts. We think this will be a great project that will be interesting and relevant to our regular customers who want to improve the performance of their RZR, whether it's for the trails or on the track.
Project Track-N-Trail RZR XP 1000 Begins!
Thunderhawk Performance has laid-out our plans for our RZR XP 1000 that we will be racing in the Thunderhawk UTV series at Rolling W Ranch. We haven't started building it quite yet, as we are awaiting the final rules. Right now we are planning the parts that Thunderhawk Performance will be building (these parts will be produced and available for purchase on our website) and we are also talking to a number of UTV industry leaders to source the best, commercially available parts that Thunderhawk does not manufacture. We want to build a car that anyone can duplicate, and we will keep everyone updated as we choose our parts and assemble this RZR.
Track-N-Trail RZR XP 1000
ROLL CAGE, FRONT & REAR BUMPERS, NERF BARS, FRONT BUMPER BRACE, RADIUS RODS, DOUBLE-SHEAR RADIUS ROD SUPPORT, A-ARM REINFORCEMENTS, CHASSIS UPGRADES AND TRAIL PROTECTION (SKID-MAX, FUEL TANK GUARD, REGULATOR GUARD, INNER FENDERS, CV GUARDS & TRAILING ARM GUARD)
LOOK FOR A COMPLETE ARTICLE ON THUNDERHAWK'S TRACK-N-TRAIL RZR XP 1000 IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE
STAGE 1 SHOCK RE-VALVE (of factory Walker Evans shocks), STEEL REAR SHOCK BODY UPGRADE, DUAL-RATE SPRINGS WITH SILENT CROSSOVER RINGS (triple-spring rear), REAR SWAY BAR KIT, FRONT SWAY BAR KIT
CUSTOM SHOCKWEAR SHOCK COVERS, RADIATOR SCREEN
BELT TEMPERATURE GAUGE
PURSUIT SIDE VIEW MIRRORS
STEP #1: THE PLAN
Project Track-N-Trail RZR XP 1000
Whether you're building a RZR for racing or customizing your RZR for recreational trail riding, the first thing you should do is to make a plan. A good plan will keep you focused on your goals and help you to find the best combination of parts to accomplish those goals. You will also avoid buying the wrong parts and all of the hassles and expenses of returning or re-selling parts that do not work for you. Since Thunderhawk is building our Track-N-Trail RZR to run as both a race car and as a recreational trail machine, laying out a detailed plan is even more important to allow us to compare various parts to determine what will suit our dual purpose usage the best.
Here's an outline of the parts we plan to use to accomplish our goals of building a fast racer that we can quickly and easily switch over for trail riding.
Suspension - Goal is to improve suspension for fast trail riding & racing, reduce body-roll and strengthen suspension mounts and radius rods.
- Retain stock front A-arms and trailing arms
- Thunderhawk chassis braces & control arm mount reinforcements
- Re-valve of stock W.E. shocks
- Add coil spring cross-over rings (true dual-rate suspension
- New coil springs
- Coil spring / shock covers
- Exhaust heat shield for rear shock
- Upgrade rear sway bar
- Rear sway bar mount frame reinforcement
- Add front sway bar
- Thunderhawk heavy-duty radius rods
- Thunderhawk double-shear radius rod support
Wheels & Tires - Goal is to use stock tires for trail riding. For racing, we will have a second set of tires and beadlock wheels to reduce weight, increase track width, and lower the vehicle height & center-of-gravity. We will be testing to find the best tire for the track conditions
- Beadlock wheels
- Commercially-available ATV tires for track use
Brakes - Goal is to improve braking performance.
- Large-diameter rotor kit (front & rear)
Safety - Goal is to improve driver safety, increase chassis strength & stiffness, and install vehicle protection without adding excessive weight.
- Thunderhawk roll cage
- Window nets (req'd)
- Thunderhawk front bumper
- Thunderhawk bumper brace (reinforces stock front bumper mount)
- Thunderhawk rear bumper
- Thunderhawk tree-banger nerf bars
- 5-point harnesses (req'd)
Reduced Weight - Goal is to reduce vehicle weight and rotational weight where financially reasonable to improve acceleration, braking & handling performance. We expect the overall vehicle weight to be close to the stock weight after these weight reductions are offset by the safety equipment and trail accessories that we will be adding. However, our efforts to reduce weight will have our RZR 40-60 lbs lighter than others that have not reduced weight and the benefits of the lighter rotational mass will offer a significant benefit to us in improved acceleration, braking and suspension response.
- Wheels *
- Tires *
- Billet wheel hubs *
* reduces rotational mass
Engine - Goal for Stage 1 is to use common bolt-on parts to improve reliability and add a few horsepower. If we get out-run on the track due to a lack of horsepower, we will proceed to Stage 2. Goal for Stage 2 will be to build a naturally-aspirated big-bore "race" engine that can be run on the track or trail, to maintain our objective of building a dual-purpose RZR. This will require careful selection of components to maximize HP without hurting reliability, and we will partner with a well-known ATV/UTV engine-builder to assure that we have a tested & proven combination.
- Manual timing chain adjuster
- Oils & lubricants changed to improve reliability & performance
- Bikeman Stage 1 Kit (adds 18 HP) - includes full exhaust system, Bikeman-tuned Bully Dog GT Tuner & clutch kit
- Outerwears pre-filter and radiator screen
- Big bore kit
- Ported cylinder head
- Camshafts & valve train
Clutch - Goal is to have the clutch tuned to maximize power delivery while improving clutch cooling for reliability and maintaining water-proof clutch housing for trail-use.
- Clutch temp. gauge
- Clutch housing duct kit and fan
- Bikeman clutch kit (part of Stage 1 engine package)
Trail-Use Updates - Goal is to add the protection we need for trail riding without adding excessive weight.
- Thunderhawk Skid-Max kit (8 lbs)
- Thunderhawk fuel tank guard (2 lbs)
- Thunderhawk regulator guard (1 lb)
- Thunderhawk front inner fender & floor board guards (7 lbs)
- Thunderhawk CV-Max Plus C.V. guards and A-arm reinforcement kit (8 lbs)
- Thunderhawk trailing arm guards (5 lbs)
- Aluminum roof (12 lbs)
STEP #2: SUSPENSION
Project Track-N-Trail RZR XP 1000
Our plan was to upgrade the suspension on the XP 1000 to eliminate excessive "lean" in the turns and allow us to run much faster on the trails, while being able to convert easily to a lower & stiffer "race-track" set-up. Since we wanted to improve our performance on the trails, as well as on the race track, buying a separate set of race-only shocks did not make sense. Plus, high-end racing shocks are not normally in the trail-rider's budget, nor are they really necessary except at the highest levels of racing. We spoke to a few shock tuning experts to find out what could be done using the stock Walker Evans shocks, and we were totally impressed with the service, products, and tuning advice available from Shock Therapy. These guys know their stuff, and they take the time to get you exactly what you need based on how & where you ride.
I guess you could say we are going with Shock Therapy's Stage 3 kit (plus front sway bar), but considering their custom set-up service our kit is unique for our riding/racing, just as they do for all customers. We will be sending our stock RZR XP 1000 Walker Evans shocks to Shock Therapy to receive their RIS shock valving (this is their Stage 1 level), and we will also have them upgrade the rear shocks with their steel shock body to eliminate the problem of the upper spring seat seizing on the factory aluminum shock body. To reduce the XP 1000's notorious body-lean and improve handling on both trail and race track, we will be adding Shock Therapy's adjustable rear sway bar (this is their Stage 2 level). We will also be getting a set of dual-rate springs with silent cross-over rings (this is their Stage 3 level). In addition, we will be adding Shock Therapy's new triple-spring rear race set-up and also getting their new adjustable front sway bar. Using these parts, we can go from race track to running wide-open on the trails with just a spring & cross-over adjustment. Not counting the extra front sway bar, the cost for this whole kit is about half of what a new set of out-of-the-box (un-tuned) race-shocks would cost.