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Polaris believes performance side-by-side UTV racing is ready to step up a level. So it's launching the "first full-fledged UTV class factory racing program," complete with a purpose-built race vehicle, a full-time crew and a dedicated workshop.

Until now, says Polaris, "factory teams" in UTV racing have really been independent teams working with varying degrees of OEM support, including the provision of some stock race cars. But the company believes it's time to kick off a new era of professionalism in the sport, and it's going out hard after it.

The new Polaris Factory Racing team gets its own 10,000-square foot race shop in San Diego, and a full-time staff of 12 serious cats. It gets its first three gun drivers in Austin Weiland, Brock Heger and Cayden MacCachren. It gets two Team Principals, a General Manager, an Operations Director, a Crew Chief, three junior and three senior mechanics.

Sponsorships are already lined up with Rockford Fosgate, Synchrony, Progressive Insurance and GoPro, with further support with livery and apparel from Fox Racing, with semi-active live valve suspension from Fox Shocks, tires from BF Goodrich, rims from Method Race Wheels and other odds and sods from Polaris Engineered Lubricants and Rigid Lighting.

Polaris Off-Road Racing Technical Director Robert Wilmot has led a factory engineering team on the development of a purpose-built racing UTV, yet to be fully revealed although you can catch a glimpse of development in the video at the end.

It's a far cry from roping in a regional sales manager to go win the Baja 1000; the team will go out with every possible advantage as they compete in the SCORE International series down in the Baja, and the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno Race this year. There'll also be a huge target on their backs, given those advantages, and that seems to be exactly what Polaris is inviting.

"Polaris is not only responsible for literally inventing the performance side-by-side category, it also has a long and storied history of winning at the highest levels of off-road racing," said Polaris Off Road VP Reid Wilson in a press release. "So it simply makes sense that we'd be driving the industry forward yet again with the first, full-fledged UTV class factory racing program. Racing is integral to everything we do ... ultimately pushing the industry forward and advancing the consumer side-by-side market. We're absolutely chomping at the bit to now showcase Polaris' engineering prowess and ingenuity through our new Polaris Factory Racing team."

Source: Polaris