By Seth Fargher
In some disciplines of racing, would-be racers can swing into their local dealer, pick up a brand new machine and head straight for the local track and be fairly competitive with a nearly stock vehicle. Thats not the case in desert racing however and anyone whos ever tackled an off-road course in a UTV could concur. To finish a race, let alone have any chance at competing, requires a meticulously prepped, purpose built machine designed to endure hundreds of miles of brutal terrain.
Justin Lambert has some experience racing in the desert and also knows a thing or two about suspension; one of the more essential components for desert racing. His company, Cognito Motorsports, is a leading supplier of aftermarket suspension kits for both trucks and UTVs so as you can imagine, suspension is a focal point in any vehicle that Justin Builds.
Such was the case with the Hellsraiser XP1K, Lamberts signature race vehicle that he uses to compete in the Best in the Desert (BITD) and Score races down in Baja. This particular vehicle was built for an episode of the popular TV show Destination Polaris.
Like anything built to last, the Hellraiser XP1K starts with a solid base; a custom built desert chassis fabricated in house at Cognito Motorsports. A stock 2015 Polaris RZR XP 1000 was dismantled and stripped to provide the basic structure of the frame, then Justin and his crew fabricate an intricate maze of DOM tubing supports that provide the necessary structure and geometry to make the car perform well in the desert.
Next, Cognitos own long travel suspension kit with FOX Internal Bypass Shocks are added. An optimal suspension system is more crucial than a lot of people think; its not just about smoothing out the bumps so the driver can go fast. The suspension and shocks are responsible for absorbing and dispelling energy that would otherwise be transmitted into the vehicle and the driver. Without a good suspension, it would be virtually impossible to keep a car together for hundreds of miles on end and the driver would pay dealer with his body.
FOX Internal Bypass Shocks
We pride ourselves on showing that weekend warriors and retail customers can purchase the same suspension we win in the desert on, said Lambert. When you buy a Cognito product, youre getting the same exact components that we use on our own personal cars for both work and play.
30-inch ITP Ultracross Tires mounted on Method Beadlock Wheels
For shoes, the Hellraiser XP1K wears big 30 inch ITP Ultracross tires wrapped around Method Race Wheels 401 beadlocks. The Ultracross tires are 8 ply rated tires which is pretty much becoming a standard in desert racing. As a Method Race wheels supported driver, Lambert earned himself a $1000 bonus at the UTV World Championships for earning the top spot in the Walker Evans Racing desert championship race.
Sparks Racing Dual Exhaust
Sparks Performance Products is tasked with making sure the Hellraiser XP1K has enough power to stay out front while remaining dependable enough to last a long race like the Baja 1000. A Sparks Racing Stage 2 performance package including Sparks own X-6 stainless exhaust system, a Dynatek fuel & ignition controller with Sparks specific fuel maps, performance clutch kit and heavy duty clutch kit dampener wake the engine up and to give Lambert that extra edge Sparks adds heavy duty standard bore pistons, heavy duty connecting rods and its stage 2 cylinder head work.
Rigid Lighting 40 E2 LED Light Bar
For those early morning starts or in the event that a race runs into the night hours, a Rigid Lighting 40 E2 light bar and Q2 driving light provide plenty of illumination for Lambert to see the course ahead. Rugged Radios RRP 6100 intercom and radio kit ensures Lambert and his co pilot can communicate at all times and a Rugged MAC 4.2 air pumper system keeps both occupants breathing fresh clean air.
Hellraiser Dash includes Lowrance GPS and Rugged Radios RRP 6100 intercom and radio
As we mentioned before, this particular car was built for an airing of Destination Polaris and then debuted at the Sand Sport Super show last September. Originally we werent sure if we would sell it or race it said Lambert, Obviously we decided to race it.
Keeping the car and racing it at the first two rounds of the BITD series looks to have been a good decision as Lambert is 2-0 so far which means 2016 might just be the year for Lambert to secure his first desert racing championship. Weve won the Blue Water Desert Challenge twice and taken first at the Silver State 300, Parker 250, Vegas to Reno and now the UTV World Championship but an overall series championship has eluded us. We have had a 3rd place finish at the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 but were still hunting for a win south of the border.
Following the UTV World Championship, its back to work as Lambert and his crew hustle to get the Hellraiser XP1K prepped and ready for the Mint 400 just a couple of weeks away. To give you an idea of how much time goes into prepping a UTV for desert racing, Lambert and his crew spend an average of 40 hours stripping the car down, replacing common wear items and building it back up between races.
For his efforts at the UTV World Championship, Lambert took home a brand new Polaris RZR XP Turbo. When asked if the new machine would be transformed into a new race vehicle Lambert was unsure what his plans were for the new car. We are already working on a new XP Turbo race car, so this car that we just won might end up being another pre-runner/dual sport build.
Race or play, you can be sure whatever Justin and his team at Cognito Motorsports come up with, it will be a purpose built, ultimate fun having machine!
Build Specs Cognito Motorsports Hellraiser XP1K
- Vehicle: 2015 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000
- Chassis/cage: Desert chassis built by Cognito Motorsports
- Suspension: Cognito Motorsports +4 long travel suspension, 19.5 wheel travel. Includes front control arm kit, heavy duty tie rod kit, trailing arms, radius rods, radius rod cage, sway bar end links and axles.
- Shocks: FOX Internal Bypass shocks, 2.5 front and 3.0 rear, calibrated by Cognito Motorsports
- Engine/Clutch/Exhaust: Sparks Performance Products X-6 Exhaust System, Fuel Management, Performance Clutch Kit and HD Dampener, High Compression Std. Bore Piston Set, HD Connecting Rods, Stage 2 cylinder head work
- Tires: ITP Ultracross R-Spec 30x10R-14
- Wheels: Method Race Wheels 401 beadlock, matte black, 14×7
- Lubrication: Mystik Lubricants Full Synthetic 10W-40 ATV/UTV Motor oil, and JT-6 Synthetic Hi-Temp 220
- Lighting: Rigid Industries 40 E2 light bar, and Q2 driving light
- Communication: Rugged Radios RRP 6100 intercom and radio kit
- Air Filtration: Rugged Radios MAC 4.2 Air Pumper System
- Justin Lambert Sweeps the Field at the 2016 Polaris RZR UTV World Championship
- Trip Report: 2016 UTV World Championship
- Cognito Motorsports 2015 BITD Blue Water Desert Challenge
- Cognito Motorsports Justin Lambert Wins 2015 Vegas to Reno
- Cognito Takes Best in the Deserts 2014 Silver State 300
- Cognito Motorsports #1918 2015 Mint400 Race Recap
Photos by: Kopesh Media, Seth Fargher and UTVUnderground.com