–Turbo-destroying YXZ —
Many manufacturers offer a turbo option for their UTVs, but there are still a few brands that have not jumped up to that level yet. We hear that there might be some sort of hyper-performance Yamaha YXZ1000R model happening soon, and we’re rooting for it to happen. There are many aftermarket turbo kits for the Yamaha engine, but what about a bit older technology that shaped how fast and high piston-engine fighter aircraft could fly? We’re talking about a supercharger! Sure, the turbos of today are performing very well, but a supercharger is an easy, effective, no-lag and mechanical way to gain some extra ponies.
Professional-ATV-rider-turned-professional-UTV-driver Nic Granlund knows his way around a track or desert loop. Granlund has won championships in both desert racing and Supermoto racing. He’s a top contender in the Pro UTV classes at the WORCS races now. Nic races the Pro Stock class in his fully built YXZ1000R, along with the SXS Pro class in a built YXZ1000R. Granlund was finishing well in the SXS Pro class, but with his turbocharged competition, it was a tough fight on the starts and on the straightaways. That was until he acquired supercharger specialists Packard Performance as a sponsor!
Packard offers a turbo kit, but they’re seeing a lot of performance out of the three-cylinder Yamaha engine when it’s supercharged. This car is using Packard’s bolt-on supercharger with their number-two pulley. It’s the smallest pulley that they offer, and fine-tuning with the pulley is where most of the power is gained or lost with a supercharger. With this pulley, Nic’s YXZ is producing over 130 horsepower to the wheels. Nic will eventually go with a bigger pulley, but he’ll need to add Packard’s intercooler to help keep the temperature down. Installing the supercharger only takes between two and four hours, and the physical installation doesn’t require any special modification.
That isn’t to say that the engine doesn’t need modifications to get the best race reliability. Packard connecting rods help handle the extra power from the supercharger. CT Racing used their expertise to perform a five-angle valve job, which makes the engine produce more usable power. Nic has his own shop, Nic G Motorsports, and he performed his own head porting to allow more flow. A Hess radiator relocation kit mounts two fans and a larger radiator behind the driver for increased cooling capacity. This kit prevents heat from entering the cab from the stock radiator location. A full Weller Racing exhaust system added a thrilling sound and more potent power to this UTV.
MORE THAN JUST POWER
The YXZs have good suspension in stock trim, especially for short-course settings, but most racers widen their UTVs for better stability and more travel. This YXZ uses Lonestar Racing’s MTS suspension that widens the stance from the stock 64 inches to 71 inches. Summer Brothers extended axles were used since the stock axles won’t work any longer. STV handled the billet tie-rod kit. This setup doesn’t change the overall wheelbase, so the YXZ still handles properly. Another reason this YXZ stays planted so well is because of Double E Racing’s adjustable rear sway bar kit. This is a better setup than stock. It sits higher, is adjustable, stronger and resembles that of a TT quad sway bar.
Helping the UTV hook up is a set of 27-inch Kanati Mongrel tires. Nic grooves select knobs off with a grooving tool to gain more traction and take away weight. His Kanati tires are protected by TireBlocks’ flat-prevention system, and the car sits on 14-inch DWT Sector Zero beadlock wheels.
SAFE YET COMFORTABLE
Nic is a big guy at 6-foot-5, so the stock seating arrangement doesn’t work well for him. An NRG bucket seat allows him to sit farther back in the car, while the NRG quick-release steering hub and steering wheel extend closer to him. To meet the safety standards of WORCS, a full race cage from STV was added for strength and to keep the occupant safe in case of a rollover. An STV five-point harness also keeps the driver safe. Bumping, but not intentionally rolling someone is legal in WORCS, so STV front and rear bumpers were added.
With the jumping, whoops and hard cornering that is in a WORCS race, frames can become weak, so Nic welded in STV’s frame-gusset kit to help with the stress.
We met up with Granlund at the WORCS round at Glen Helen to check out his supercharged YXZ before the race. After the interior mods, the car is comfortable for a taller driver. The NRG seat puts the driver in a lower position to lower the center of gravity. Granlund’s car is a big improvement over stock. Thanks to the Hess 2:1 steering quickener and rapid steer kit, you can turn lock to lock without taking your hands off the wheel. Being that this YXZ is a manual-shifting model, that is extremely important, as Granlund has one hand on the wheel most of the time.
The Kashima-coated Fox RC2 shocks work well stock , but Granlund re-valved them so they work extremely well on a WORCS course. The car floats effortlessly over jumps, through chop, across whoops and over rocks. The most impressive pieces to the suspension puzzle were the LSR arms and Double E Racing sway bar. Having the wider stance aids confidence when driving the YXZ hard in any situation.
The engine runs flawlessly on this machine. The supercharger is unlike most turbo setups. Both are compressing the intake charge, but turbo power can be inconsistent. They run harder when the turbo gets hot or when the engine is under a load. A supercharger has a mechanical drive. There is a certain amount of engine power that is required to spin the supercharger to compress the intake charge, but the effect is consistent power that’s always on tap in any rpm range. When stabbing the throttle from a standstill, you must shift very quickly to avoid bouncing the engine off the 11,500 rev limiter. On one section of the course, Granlund hit 86 miles an hour before he ran out of room, but there was more speed on tap.
Granlund confirms that the Packard supercharger feels very different than a turbocharged machine, but he had all positive notes about the difference. The supercharger means that the power is always going to have the same feeling throughout the powerband, and there is no lag whatsoever. That’s what they’re designed to do. Now, the supercharger probably weighs more than a turbo, but it depends on what setup you’re looking for in a power choice. We watched NG get third on the start of the SxS Pro race against turbocharged UTVs. He then went on to win the race—his first win of the season in that class.
The Packard supercharger gave him the edge he needed to take home a win for Nic G Motorsports and the rest of his sponsors. It just goes to show you that technology from many decades ago can still perform with the technology of the future!
PARTS AND SUPPLIERS
STV Motorsports: www.stvmotorsports.com, 702-701-7101
Race cage and metal work $1,800
Billet steering rack and tie-rod kit $900
Frame gusset kit $300
Five-point harness $79.99
Billet gauge panel: $99
Switche $11.99 per switch
Rear bumper $200
Front bumper $200
RevUp Graphics: www.revupgraphics.com, 888-44-REVUP
Full wrap, number plates, and stickers q$1,600
Fox: www.ridefox.com, 800-Fox-Shox
2.5 Podium RC2 shocks $3,995.99
Packard Performance: www.packardperformance.com, 801-335-4013
Performance supercharger with #2 pulley $2,695
Connecting rods $600
Short shift billet shifter $195
Billet rear diff pinion carrier support $495
Billet body hardware kit $49
CT Racing: www.ctracing.net, 562-945-2453
Five-angle valve job $576
Nic G Motorsports: www.nicgranlund.com, 702-375-1837
Shock tune (includes springs) $1,200
Head porting $750
Weller Racing: www.wellerracing.com, 480-507-4771
Full tuned exhaust system $1,399.99
Billet thermostat housing $85.99
Thermostat housing billet end cap $45.99
Temp gauge $186.99
Air-injection block kit $45.99
Head stud kit $179.99
Double E Racing: www.doubleeracing.com, 985-507-3307
Adjustable rear sway bar kit $950
Torco Advanced Lubricants: www.torcousa.com, 909-980-1495
SR-5R 20w50 100% synthetic racing engine oil $24.65 per bottle
T4MXR 15w-40 transmission oil $14.70 per bottle
MTF-E differential oil $13.15 per bottle
Unleaded Accelerator race fuel concentrate $20.95 per bottle
LoneStar Racing: www.lsracing.com, 480-834-2990
LoneStar MTS +3.5-in. A-arm suspension kit $4,200
DWT Racing: www.dwtracing.com, 800-Race-Rim
DWT sector bead lock wheels 7×14 5/2 offsets $297 per wheel
GBC Motorsports: www.gbcmotorsports.com
Kanati Mongrel 27×9-14 $190.93 per tire
NRG Motorsports: www.getnrg.com, 626-369-2668
FRP-300-BL Bucket seat $264.95
Quick release steering hub $134.99
Two-button steering wheel $129.99
CryoHeat Metal Treatment: www.cryoheat.com, 619-940-4227
Treated and micropolished CVs $59.96 each
Treated axles $29.96 each
Galfer USA: www.galferusa.com, 800-685-6633
Wave brake rotors $137
Rear brake line $99.40
TireBlocks: www.ridetireblocks.com, 253-973-5111
Run flat inserts $960
Hess Motorsports: www.hess-motorsports.com, 940-759-4597
2:1 Steering quickener $600
Radiator and relocation kit $900
Rapid steer kit $275
Rugged Radios: www.ruggedradios.com, 888-541-7223
Short-course system $683.91
IMG Motorsports: www.imgms.com, 951-471-1615
B-flap kit $299.95
Summers Brothers Racing: www.summersbrothersracing.com, 909-395-5555
Rear axles $245 each