HEMI® Crate Engines to Power Spec Class in ‘Every Man Challenge’ Race
- Mopar joins the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers off-road race in a new spec class to debut on Feb 6 in the California desert
- 8th annual “King of The Hammers” is an off-road event combining desert racing and rock crawling with four competitive classes
- Mopar to provide six Gen III 5.7L HEMI® crate engine for first spec class vehicles in the “Every Man Challenge” race category
- Mopar is committed to participating in the 2014 and 2015 editions of event as well as four other Western Regional ULTRA4 Series events
- More than 35,000 spectators are expected on site and 500,000 will tune into the live online broadcast on ultra4racing.com/live/
Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand, will be testing its mettle in the southern California desert at the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers, an event built around what many consider the toughest one-day off-road race in the world that combines desert racing and rock crawling.
Organized by the ULTRA4 Racing Series, the week-long event is held every February on public lands in Johnson Valley, Ca. in an off-highway vehicle area known as “The Hammers.” Competitors, divided into in four distinct categories, race on a 100+ mile course that runs over terrain that includes sandy washes dotted with creosote bushes, flat dry lakebeds, sand dunes and, of course, the world-famous rock canyons and trails from which it derives its name.
Competing in the Every Man Challenge race category, which allows off-road enthusiasts a chance to race their stock and modified stock vehicles, Mopar’s GEN III 5.7 liter HEMI® crate engine will power the six vehicles competing in a newly created spec class in which each entry is outfitted with the same equipment. These unique “4700 Spec Class” 4×4 vehicles have a custom tube frame design based loosely on a Jeep® Wrangler, and are outfitted with Mopar’s HEMI crate engine and some of the best industry-leading parts the off-road world has to offer.
“We’re excited to supply HEMI engines to the newly formed spec class at King of The Hammers and put our quality products to the test in the toughest conditions,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO — Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The 5.7 crate engines we are providing are the off-road race version of the recently announced Scat Package performance upgrades for the Challenger and Charger. This event is in essence a proving ground for our engine, set-up, calibration and parts, as we don’t just design and produce quality parts, we want to test them in the field so that customers know that they are getting the very best available.”
Participating in the off- road event is a fitting tribute to the heritage of the revolutionary Gen II 426 race HEMI, which is celebrating 50 years since its introduction after being built specifically to win races. The success of that GEN II race HEMI has resulted in an amazing lineage of quality Mopar engines, which now includes the newest generation of 5.7L crate engines. “We’ve partnered with the best manufacturers in off-road, and this class required parts that could handle the demands of off-road racing and the brutality of The Hammers,” said David Cole, Executive Director of ULTRA4 Racing Series. “Nobody knows off-road better than Jeep and Mopar, and we’re excited to have the HEMI powering the 4700 Spec Class.”
“The 4700 Spec Class offers both professional drivers and first-time enthusiasts a chance to experience what ULTRA4 Racing is all about,” said Cole of the turnkey solution the spec class offers. “We wanted to give people an opportunity to race or recreate off-road in a fully capable 4WD vehicle without the expense and headache of having to build or buy one of their own.”
The six unique Mopar-powered 4×4 vehicles make their debut on Thursday, Jan. 6 with an 8:00 a.m. (PT) 30-second staggered start. Behind the wheel of each Mopar-powered 4700 Spec Class 4×4 vehicle are the following drivers:
#4701– Eric Bothwell, from Tuckahoe, NY., is no stranger to the Hammers as he was part of the core Hammerking volunteer team in 2012. Bothwell’s co-driver Robb Pritchard is an international off-road journalist coming all the way from Croatia. They will be driving the Dynomax vehicle.
#4702– Larry Nickell is a Senior Editor at Crawl Magazine and has been an active off-road enthusiast for many years, taking his Jeep vehicle on many of his adventures across the country. Larry has a background in racing boats and drag cars and will be driving the Team Yukon Vehicle.
#4703 – Jessi Combs is the fastest woman on four wheels after breaking the land speed record in Utah’s Salt Lake Flats last year. She is also host of television show “All Girl’s Garage” and autoblog’s The List and will be racing in the Team Falken Vehicle.
#4704 – Ross Stanford is based out of Loveland, CO. as the sales manager for Spidertrax Off Road, and will be racing for Team Spidertrax. Ross is an avid off-road enthusiast and has competed in several Dirt Riot events.
#4705 – Shannon Campbell is the only two time “King of The Hammers” Champion after winning in both 2008 and 2011. Shannon will be racing the Team Fox car on Thursday and then racing his own ULTRA4 car again in the Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire on Friday.
#4706 – Jim Marsden will be traveling all the way from the United Kingdom to compete in the Team Odyssey vehicle. Jim is no stranger to “King of The Hammers” having raced in both the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge and the Griffin King of The Hammers categories in 2013.
Mopar is scheduled to participate in both the 2014 and 2015 editions the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge Race as part of the 8th Annual Griffin King of The Hammers presented by Nitto Tire. The HEMI-powered vehicles also will compete in the following four Trail-Gear Western Regional ULTRA4 Series events:
- May 30-31– Nor Cal Stampede in Sacramento, CA
- July 11-12 – ULTRA4 Glen Helen Grand Prix in San Bernardino, CA
- July 22-23 – American Rocksports Challenge in Tooele, UT
- Oct 17-18 – Nitto Tire National Championship in Las Vegas (Moapa), NV
From its humble beginnings in 2007 as an invitation, non-spectator race involving 12 teams battling for bragging rights, Cole, founder of event, has seen its popularity grow exponentially. It now includes more than 300 teams competing in front of more than 35,000 spectators who descend on the area, creating a small make-shift town dubbed “Hammertown.” An additional 500,000 viewers previously have watched the online live broadcast and even more are expected to log on for this year’s event at ultra4racing.com/live/.