PHILLIPS RACING RZR TURBO R DESERT BUILD

The machine that took Landon Phillips to first place at the Mint 400By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Landon’s Turbo R took second place at the King of the Hammers Desert Challenge, and first place at the Mint 400 this year. He will also compete in Best in the Desert’s Super Stock Turbo class.

Landon Phillips, the owner of Phillips Racing, is not new to racing RZRs. The RZR Turbo R is the most recent and third version of the turbo RZR from Polaris and the third complete desert race build created by the Phillips Racing team. Starting with the XP Turbo, Landon then moved to the Turbo S 4 platform and is now onto this newest ideation from Polaris, the Turbo R. Landon’s Turbo R took second place at the King of the Hammers Desert Challenge and first place at the Mint 400 this year. He will also compete for points in one of Best in the Desert’s (BITD) newest pro classes—the Super Stock Turbo class—where he currently ranks second in championship points. This race class has been heavily pushed by the manufacturers who want their side-by-sides to appear stock, but with a few required safety modifications to make them race-legal.

DESERT TOUGH

Since the new Turbo R comes with a solid one-piece chassis, Landon kept the lower frame and added a weld-on chromoly top half with door bars and a pneumatic tire carrier ($8,500). One of the critical pieces of making this Turbo R race-legal was the door bars. They are fabricated perfectly into the lines of the Cagewrx doors ($870), giving them a factory-racing appearance. The cage and door modifications are completed by a set of custom PRP SFI-certified window nets ($600).

You cannot cut the OEM bed in the Super Stock class. After Landon brain-stormed with Dan Fisher, the owner of Lone Star Racing, they came up with an above-the-bed tire carrier utilizing two gas shocks that can easily lift a 35-inch tire. Strapped down with a SpeedStrap Y-strap ($100), this setup allows plenty of room in the bed for tools and a Yeti Tundra 35 cooler ($275). Landon also retained the OEM camera in the rear by relocating it to the custom rear race bumper.

The most noticeable change to the Turbo R is the color. Landon called Garrett Maxwell, the owner of Five18 Designs, and had him design and print a custom Matte Red wrap ($2,700) for his Turbo R. Staying late into the evening on a Friday night, the Five18 crew executed a flawless color change.

SUSPENSION

After the success many other racers see using the OEM suspension, Landon chose to keep the OEM trailing arms in the rear and have Lone Star add custom gusseting ($800) to stand up to the abuse of desert racing. Lone Star replaced the rear radius rods ($1,050) with their high-clearance chromoly rods that are fitted with massive 3/4-inch heim ends. To save weight, the team also strengthened the radius rod mounting plate ($100) and rear sway-bar end links with a pair of Lone Star 7075 aluminum links ($200). 

As for the new toe-link bars that run through the rear of the Turbo R trailing arms, Landon opted for Shock Therapy’s toe-link bar ($600) with its colossal heims and the ability to adjust the rear toe without removing it.

In front of the Turbo R, Landon kept the OEM lower A-arms and collaborated with Lone Star to add custom gusseting and convert the ball joints to uniballs ($1,200). Lone Star also added their adjustable chromoly upper A-arms ($1,500) with simple toe adjustment, ditching the ball joint for a more robust uniball setup on the upper A-arms. Shock Therapy contributed the aluminum front sway-bar end link ($300).

Zollinger Racing Products (ZRP) was tapped for the tie-rod setup. Landon has run their 7075 Desert Series tie-rods with 3/4-inch FK rod ends ($850) in the past with great success.

Landon trusted Justin Smith, the owner of Shock Therapy, with all three of the desert race RZRs he has built. Shock Therapy agreed to jump in and ensure the electronic Fox Smart-Shox worked perfectly for desert racing in the harshest conditions. Adding a dual-rate spring kit ($1,000) and internal valving ($750), Shock Therapy took the smart suspension to a much higher level. “There is no such thing as ’big stuff’ anymore,” Landon claims. 

Shock Therapy’s shock retainers ($150) and shock forks ($300) solved a couple of the weak points in the front shock setup and are custom powdercoated Candy Gold to match the wheels. Using Shock Therapy front limit straps ($270), Landon keeps the front axles at the perfect angle at full droop.

Polaris RZR
When it came to power, Evolution Powersports was the company of choice. Using their handheld ECU programmer, the Codeshooter, Landon was able to unlock the full potential of the ECU.

COMFORT FOR MILES

With its long history of making American-made race seats, Landon customized a pair of PRP Podium Elite suspension seats ($970 per) with black suede and red stitching to match the car. Landon also upgraded to heated seats and diamond stitching with his team’s race logo on the seat-back. Lone Star fabbed the custom seat mounts to make sure they bolted directly to the frame, per BITD rules. PRP SFI-certified five-point harnesses ($250 per) keep Landon and his co-pilot safely secured, even over the roughest terrain.

MORE THRUST

When it came to power, Evolution Powersports was the company of choice. Using their handheld ECU programmer, the Codeshooter ($195), Landon was able to unlock the full potential of the RZR’s ECU. Set on the Stage 3 flash with Launch Control ($600), he is pushing 22 pounds of boost with 235 horsepower, which gets him from zero to 60 in under four seconds. He also added Evolution’s Magnum exhaust ($750), blow off-valve ($215), V-Flow intake boot ($171), Charge tube ($181) and Brisk spark plugs ($30).

Wanting to stand out from the crowd, Landon searched long and hard for the right powdercoat color for the 15-inch 401-R high off-set wheels from Method Race Wheels ($341 per wheel). Choosing Prismatic Powder’s Candy Gold to complement the Matte Red wrap, the flake in the coating pops in the desert sunlight. ZRP’s zinc-coated Race lug nuts ($250) lock the wheels in place while reducing rotating mass. The rims are then fitted with 32-inch BFGoodrich KR2 Baja Race tires ($400 per) for excellent reliability during rocky races.

To protect the bottom while saving weight (versus a steel skid plate), Landon uses a 3/8-inch Factory UTV UHMV skid plate ($690). This runs right up to the nose of the CageWrx front bumper ($400) with its additional light mounts. Another custom part tucked behind the bumper—a DRT Motorsports grill ($170)—is powdercoated black and Candy Red. Hiding under the hood is a SoundOff Signal Siren and speaker ($600) to make passing the competition slightly safer.

Polaris RZR
A pair of PRP Podium Elite suspension seats with black suede and red stitching to match the car. Phillips also upgraded to heated seats and diamond stitching with his team’s race logo.

MAXIMUM CANDLEPOWER

There’s no such thing as darkness with the Baja Designs light setup on the Phillips Racing Turbo R. Starting up top you’ll find a 40-inch OnX6 spot/combo ($1,400). Working your way down the A-pillars, we find a pair of Amber Squadron Pros ($430). Finally, the front bumper is where the main workhorses reside—a pair of Clear XL Pro Racer spots ($790) that throw brightness way down the course. They are accompanied by a pair of Amber XL Pro combos ($660) and a pair of Amber S2 Pros ($340) to cascade additional light out to each side for optimal night vision. Red Rock lights ($335) give it that “spaceship” look at night, with a pair of 2-foot NoCo whips ($260) dancing on the roof. The light setup is finished off with a Baja Designs RTL-B Chase light ($475) in the rear.

Polaris RZR
The most noticeable change is the color. Landon called Garrett Maxwell, the owner of Five18 Designs, and had him design and print a custom Matte Red wrap for his Turbo R.

HIGH-TECH COMMUNICATION AND NAVIGATION

In the cockpit, Landon and co-pilot are surrounded by technology while still retaining the OEM look the manufacturers are after. The OEM 7-inch Polaris Ride Command screen gives the duo control over the car’s diagnostics, adjustable electronic shocks, cameras and maps. The Aim MX UTV data logger ($600) with belt-temp sensor collects vital performance data while also delivering real-time lap info. Sitting huge in front of the co-pilot is a 12-inch Lowrance Elite GPS ($1,000), giving him a large map that’s easy to read at race speed. The team communicates pivotal course info clearly over PCI Race Radio’s Comlink X Elite with DSP and Bluetooth ($2,035), along with a Kenwood radio to keep in touch with the Phillips Racing pit crew. Landon chose PCI’s vertical comms mount ($75) to keep the dash uncluttered. A second belt temperature gauge is also mounted right above the steering wheel using a Razorback Technology infrared belt-temp sensor ($310) and their gauge cluster mount.

Polaris RZR
The Phillips Racing RZR Turbo R still looks like a RZR. However, when it comes to race day, it’s up to the challenge of the toughest and most formidable desert races.
Polaris RZR
There’s no such thing as darkness with the Baja Designs light setup on the Phillips Racing Turbo R. A full array of bright LED and amber lights throw brightness in every direction.
Polaris RZR
Since the new Turbo R comes with a solid one-piece chassis, Landon kept the lower frame and added a weld-on chromoly top half with door bars and a pneumatic tire carrier.

CLEAN AIR AND VISION

The racers keep the dust out of their faces and clean air in their Impact Racing helmets with PCI’s Fresh Air Boost ($560) with a custom overhead mount from Lone Star Racing. The setup also includes a KC Cyclone dome light ($30) from KC Hilites. Making both installation and operation of all these electric components simple is a Switch Pros SP9100 ($600) mounted below the race radios.

Assault Industries B2 side mirrors ($320) with a touch of gold and an Axia Alloys 17-inch rear-view mirror ($180) allows the driver to see clearly behind the car and is matched with an Assault Red Hellfire shifter ($85). Keeping the racer and co-pilot fully hydrated is completed using FluidLogic’s hydration system ($1,200). Check it out at FluidLogic.com.

Using Drake Off-Road’s quick-release mounts ($70 per), there is a Safecraft PB2 ($330) and PB5 ($420) Halotron fire extinguisher in a Black Wrinkle finish on either side of the RZR, as well as a Safecraft LM (automatic) extinguisher ($860) mounted over the engine.

Warn Industries door bags ($60 per) keep items like the Pro Eagle CO2 air jack ($450) tucked away but accessible in case of an emergency. Also on board is a complete set of tools, a first-aid kit, safety triangles, and recovery ropes.

Polaris RZR
Shock Therapy added a dual-rate spring kit and internal valving, which took the smart suspension to a much higher level. “There is no such thing as ‘big stuff’ anymore,” Landon claims.

GOING THE DISTANCE

While this latest RZR Turbo R from Phillips Racing has been heavily modified, it still looks like a RZR. However, when it comes to race day, it’s up to the challenge of the toughest and most formidable desert races, such as the Mint 400 and the UTV World Championships. Landon has been racing these events since 2017. As the race field launched on two-door platforms, evolving to four-door for better stability, and now back to two doors for more nimble agility, Landon has been in the driver seat. Passionate about off-roading, he’s excited to continue the Phillips Racing legacy. Follow him on Instagram @Phillips.Racing to see how his race program continues to evolve.  

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