Wayne Matlock Takes The Newest RZR To The Next Level
In Preparation for the Baja 1000
Words and Photos By: Jason Stilgebouer
Seven-time SCORE-International Baja1000 winner Wayne Matlock has been a part of the Polaris factory racing team since 2015 and has raced many Polaris RZRs throughout the years. Seeing the natural progression in an effort to innovate and push boundaries of what is possible – he went from racing the naturally aspirated workhorse RZR XP1000 to the powerful and advanced Turbo S XP1000, earning him many Baja wins in the process. But now, Wayne was ready for the next chapter of UTV racing, and that is in his all-new 2022 Polaris RZR PRO R race car built by TSCO Racing. We saw firsthand how this Pro R was built, the inspiration drawn from Dakar Rally SSVs and a builder known for crafting Trophy Trucks.
Polaris’ all-new RZR Pro R shook the UTV Industry by its level of exceptionalism and by challenging the community’s current standards of what peak performance looks like. Wayne first laid his hands on the Pro R a few months earlier than everyone else and dropped it off at TSCO to construct his new desert race car. One of the many great things about the new SXS is the one-piece strengthened chassis, making it more rigid and requiring less fabrication work to make a desert-capable chassis. TSCO took the Pro R, stripped it down to the bare frame and built it back up to suit the Pro Open Class at the 2021 Baja1000.
Many of the components on the Pro R which come stock from Polaris are exceptionally designed, such as the fully boxed A-arms on the suspension and that one-piece chassis. The primary goal of this build was to utilize the factory chassis and 225 four-cylinder engine to preserve the durability of this Polaris product. The drivetrain of the race car was left in its original state as well, except the removal of the speed limiter which allowed Wayne to hit a top speed of 106 MPH. The Dynamix Fox Live Valve shocks are also original, with the only modification being the Eibach spring kit.
A noticeable change in the design of the side-by-side is the massive carbon fiber fuel cell mounted in the rear like a traditional buggy or Trophy Truck. Keeping the weight on the rear helps keep the front end pointing slightly up and transitions the weight to the back while traveling across whoops and jumps. A custom Borla Exhaust not only provides a new look we haven’t seen on UTVs before but sends out a beautiful raspy four-cylinder sound.
With a fully fresh body and roll cage sporting the Polaris blue colors, a priority for Wayne was to have complete working doors. After having raced his rally car for days at a time at Dakar with working doors, it would later become clear this is a necessity, something not widely seen in desert racing.
Since the four-cylinder engine now has a new transmission, the CVT clutch is located directly behind the new firewall made by TSCO leaving the clutch cover exposed. This update allows the co-driver to change the belt without having to jump out of the RZR. Although Wayne raced on one belt the entire race of the Baja1000, it is hard to say changing belts would be a priority for the drivers, but better it’s to have the option than not!
Overall, Wayne’s TSCO built Polaris RZR Pro R proved its durability in Baja after racing over 1,200 miles of some of the harshest terrain throughout North America. With the number of test miles they drove and fine-tuning they conducted during the competition, Polaris is definitely ready to show the UTV industry how race-capable the Pro R is directly off the showroom floor. And we’re even more excited to prove them right.