Ahead of the 48th edition of the Dakar Rally set to take place in Saudi Arabia in January next year, the two SSV pilots from the Sébastien Loeb Racing Team, Xavier de Soultrait and Florent Vayssade, flew stateside to visit the Polaris Factory Racing Team and test the RZR Pro R Factory vehicle in Minnesota last month.
The Polaris Factory Racing Team welcomed the Dakar pilots with a view to showcase the RZR Pro R Factory vehicle—the SSV that the Sébastien Loeb Racing team will be taking to Dakar 2024—as well as introduce the engineering and development team behind it.
“Meeting the factory racing team in Minnesota was very impactful, it’s crazy how passionate everyone is about racing at Polaris,” said Xavier de Soultrait. “The many engineers that they have there are all very interested in the Dakar; how the race is going and how they can help us win it. There are a lot of similarities in the preparation of the Sébastien Loeb Racing team and the Factory Team. There are specificities for each championship but we have the same objective – to win.”
Unveiled earlier this year, the all-new Polaris RZR Pro R Factory is the industry’s first purpose-built race-ready UTV built specifically as the centrepiece for the Polaris Factory Racing team, breaking entirely new ground for the UTV racing class. Backed by the full power and innovation of Polaris engineering, along with a dedicated team made up of some of the sport’s most proven and successful off-road racing veterans, the Pro R platform has been elevated with next-level power, strength and control. Built with a high-strength, lightweight chassis compliant with FIA T4 Class, the RZR Pro R Factory is capable of withstanding the unrelenting demands of the Dakar Rally, known by many as the toughest off-road race in the world.
At its heart is the industry’s most powerful engine in a consumer side-by-side—the naturally aspirated four-cylinder ProStar Fury 2.0L—that puts out 225 horsepower in its stock form. Pair that with a racing-calibrated driveline and transmission for maximum power to the ground, as well as FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks and a race-tuned DYNAMIX DV system for optimal control, exclusive vehicle protection components for desert-proven strength, and improved racing ergonomics.
“The new RZR Pro R Factory is built and designed for racing, I immediately felt like I was in a true racing car,” continued Soultrait. “The performance of its chassis and its engine capacities are astonishing. It has similar driving elements to those that amazed us at the 2023 Dakar with the standard RZR Pro R performance and reliability. For the chassis, I found it to be an easy and well-balanced SSV; for the dunes it will be perfect. I’m really looking forward to facing the competition.
“For the 2024 Dakar, we are going to be an actor in the race and ride with less restraint. Yes, we have to finish, but I will do the maximum to ensure that we are on the podium and with one or more stage victories.”
The RZR Pro R Factory vehicle that will be prepared for the Sébastien Loeb Racing Team will be assembled in the US at Polaris facilities, with debugging and testing completed on-site. Pre-Dakar training will include the Polaris Camp Maroc 2023—a customer off-road event held annually in Morocco by Polaris France—where Xavier and his co-pilot Martin Bonnet will accumulate more experience in an SSV.
“In 2023, I learnt that the most important thing in a side-by-side is to never stop, you always have to move forward at a good pace. Martin and I had everything to learn last year, and we are stronger for this year!”
The Sébastien Loeb Racing Team RZR Pro R Factory vehicles will debut on 5th January 2024 at the start of the 48th edition of the Dakar Rally, playing a crucial role in the team’s core mission of playing the leading role in the SSV T4 category in its five-year rally-raid program in partnership with Polaris Off Road Vehicles.
Follow the team’s progress on Facebook and Instagram: @loebracing
For more information on the Polaris RZR Pro R, please contact the Polaris ORV Media Office at email@example.com
For more information on the Sébastien Loeb Racing Motor Racing Team, please contact Amandine at FrayMédia: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT SÉBASTIEN LOEB RACING
« The highest possible, the fastest possible»
When it was born in 2011, the Sébastien Loeb Racing Motor Racing Team has been chosen to match with the high ambitions of its founders, Dominique Heintz and Sébastien Loeb. These words have been respected from the first year of existence with an impressive track record since 2012. Building on Sébastien Loeb’s experience as a rally raid driver, first at Peugeot then at Prodrive, Sébastien Loeb Racing decided to write a new page in its history by developing a rally raid program within the team. with a 5-year vision, with the support of an SSV manufacturer, POLARIS.
As the global leader in powersports, Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) pioneers product breakthroughs and enriching experiences and services that have invited people to discover the joy of being outdoors since our founding in 1954. Polaris’ high-quality product line-up includes the Polaris RANGER®, RZR® and Polaris GENERAL™ side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman® all-terrain off-road vehicles; military and commercial off-road vehicles; snowmobiles; Indian Motorcycle® mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot® moto-roadsters; Aixam quadricycles; Goupil electric vehicles; and pontoon and deck boats, including industry-leading Bennington pontoons. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a robust portfolio of parts, garments, and accessories. Proudly headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves more than 100 countries across the globe.