Off RoadRace of Champions

Polaris RZRs return for 2023 Race of Champions

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Credit: Polaris

Polaris will return as the official off-road vehicle of the Race of Champions, which is set to take place on 28/29 January. As part of the partnership, Polaris will supply vehicles for both competition and support usage, the latter of which includes snowmobiles and UTVs for logistics and travel across the snowy terrain of Pite Havsbad, Sweden. From a racing standpoint, the Polaris RZR Pro XP will be used by competitors. It is an all-wheel-drive UTV with a 181-horsepower engine and will come with studded tyres to better grip the snow/ice surface.

“Polaris is extremely proud to have been chosen again this year as the official off-road vehicle supplier for the star-studded Race of Champions (ROC SNOW + ICE) that will take place at the end of this month on the frozen ocean of Pite Havsbad in Sweden,” reads a statement from the company. “Continuing on from the successful partnership for last year’s event, Polaris Sweden will be supplying a fleet of Polaris RZR vehicles to support the highly competitive off-road racing at the Race of Champions.”

The final round of the 2022 Race of Champions’ individual tournament was decided in RZRs as Sébastien Loeb defeated Sebastian Vettel. Loeb, a four-time ROC champion, recently formed a partnership with Polaris that allowed his Sébastien Loeb Racing team to compete in RZRs at the Dakar Rally in early January; Florent Vaysadde led the programme with an overall finish of tenth in the T4 category.

The UTV was also used in the 2022 eROC Invitational, a hybrid esport/real-life event between sim racers with the winners forming a team at the ROC Nations Cup. Lucas Blakeley and Jarno Opmeer set the quickest times in the Polaris to become eROC All Stars, though they fell to Vettel and Mick Schumacher. Schumacher, who will once again partner with Vettel to comprise Team Germany in 2023, called the RZR his favourite vehicle of the ones at ROC 2022, opining that “the electric rallycross car is really fun but the Polaris has the upper hand for me right now.”

The RZR is perhaps Polaris Inc.’s most well-known product. It is a popular vehicle among UTV racers in desert competition like SCORE International and Best In The Desert, where it has shined despite a reputation as a glorified golf cart that permeates the UTV classes. Polaris Government & Defense also supplies military variants for the United States Armed Forces under the MRZR designation, with other customer militaries including the Royal Marines, Latvia, New Zealand, and Turkmenistan.

Other vehicles that will be used at ROC include the CUPRA UrbanRebel Racing Concept, the Zeroid X1, and the Supercar Lite. The X1 and Supercar are both rallycross vehicles while the UrbanRebel Concept is an electric car set to enter production in 2025.

Polaris will have a contest for attendees in which the winner can ride a RZR alongside an ROC driver. Swedish quad freestyle rider Jonas Hedberg will also perform a stunt show at the event.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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