Off Road

Polaris Factory Racing upgrades to second-gen RZR Pro R Factory for 2024

3 Mins read
Credit: Polaris

Polaris Factory Racing had a début season for the ages when they won the Pro UTV Open category at all four SCORE International rounds in 2023 and Brock Heger claimed the class championship. With the 2024 season fast approaching, they will defend their titles in a new, second-generation Polaris RZR Pro R Factory.

It is noticeably chunkier than its predecessor as more carbon fibre bodywork has been added to increase the car’s power-to-weight ratio. To cancel out the increased weight, the steel driveshaft has been replaced by one made from carbon fibre and aluminum, which is lighter but has more torque capacity. The muffler is also lighter than the original.

Perhaps its defining feature is a brand new one-piece chassis developed by Technique Inc., who also builds the chassis for the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen car. Made from chromoly steel, the chassis is much larger and stronger than on the previous car, intended to be twice as strong as what is mandated by the FIA. Technique also supplied upgraded front and rear bumpers that better handle contact from other vehicles.

Surrounding the chassis is a redesigned roll cage. The car will rely on brake systems, which includes rotors, opposed-piston calipers, and dual master cylinders, from Alcon USA. The fuel cell, made by Aero Tec Laboratories, has been increased to a range of 200 miles (321.869 kilometres).

Otherwise, it continues to use stock parts like the first-gen RZR such as the same ball joints, front and rear knuckles and drives, power steering rack, trailing arms, and the CVT (continuously variable transmission) system like the belt. The control arms are stock as well, though a newer model that are stiffer and stronger for better handling.

While the FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 internal bypass shocks will be used again, they are now joined by a new DYNAMIX DV suspension control module that readjusts the car’s suspension depending on the terrain. The two-litre Polaris ProStar Fury 2.0 engine makes its return, albeit now using an ECU and other electronics from MoTeC.

Credit: Polaris

“Drawing upon key learnings from ongoing adjustments that we made throughout the 2023 season, our team in Minnesota (Polaris Engineering) and California (Scanlon Clarke Incorporated) worked succinctly to take the dominant RZR Pro R Factory, refine it and ultimately elevate it with the goal of doubling down and winning back-to-back championships,” said technical director Alex Scheuerell. “This machine is the ultimate demonstration of Polaris engineering’s expertise and commitment to pushing the boundaries of off-road performance.”

The first-generation RZR Pro R Factory dominated in 2023 as PFR principal Craig Scanlon won his class at the San Felipe 250 followed by Heger winning the Baja 500 and Baja 400 then Cayden MacCachren topping the Baja 1000; the team also boasted the highest finishing UTV overall at three of the four SCORE events. The success then extended into rally raid in January when Xavier de Soultrait won the Dakar Rally in a variant fielded by Sébastien Loeb Racing; unlike what PFR uses in North America, SLR’s RZRs, also built by Polaris Engineering with SCi support, have a windshield and more bodywork among other differences to comply with FIA regulations. Speaking with The Checkered Flag during the race, Scheuerell revealed the RZR Pro R Factory was “designed with the FIA rules in mind” while the rally model was basically the “first Gen-2 cars out of our workshop.” Although Polaris Factory Racing’s personnel including Heger have expressed interest in racing the Dakar themselves, Scheuerell explained whether it happens will depend on budget.

Heger continued his hot streak in February when he won the Pro Stock Turbo class in the King of the Hammers‘ Can-Am UTV Hammers Championship as well as UTV Open in the Toyo Tires Desert Challenge. Besides Heger and MacCachren, the team will also field a Gen-2 RZR for Max Eddy Jr., who becomes a permanent driver after serving as Scanlon’s team-mate at the 2023 Baja 1000.

The 2024 SCORE season begins Saturday with the San Felipe 250. Besides SCORE, Polaris Factory Racing will also run Best In The Desert’s Vegas to Reno in August.

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