Simply put; Ultra 4 is unlimited 4×4 off road racing …
The competition is designed for varying classes of vehicles to race across some of the most challenging off road terrain and purpose built obstacle sections that motor vehicles have ever attempted to cross, with rocks, climbs, descents, mud, dust and water .
Ultra 4 racing started in the US around ten years ago, Ultra 4 Europe has been in existence for five years now with a steadily expanding group of sponsors, followers and growing number of competition entrants, this year saw the first female driver take part in the King of France event, Emma Jones from the UK . Maxxis Tires are the headlining sponsors for Europe supplying many teams with the legendary Trepador tyres that have proved their worth within the event
The organisations intent is to have a King event within most European countries in the future, to date there is a King of Portugal, Italy, France and Briton, with a smattering of short courses held in the UK.
Short courses are just what they say, a short course with several laps in each heat that continue over a days racing with winners announced at the end of each day. Held over a two day period, a short course can usually be observed from a single vantage point to catch most of the adrenalin filled action during each lap. The circuit is no less demanding on the teams, with the same similar obstacles to negotiate just as in the King events. A good event to visit if you are new to Ultra 4.
The King events are the long courses with a three day calendar. Day 1 is tech checks and prologue day, followed by two full days of racing usually to include one evening night stage. The circuit laps can extend as far as 60+km in blistering temperatures to test man and machine to their limits of endurance, strength and performance with the race taking up to 9 hours to complete, that’s if everything stays in good health.
Although termed “unlimited” there are regulations that apply to your race truck, these are mostly safety requirements for you and your fellow competitors. Then there are the categories; obviously a V8 petrol in a space frame is going to have some advantage over a diesel Land Rover chassis so some form of fair play has to be introduced for a level playing field.
Here is a brief overview of the main categories, although subcategories are also used to distinguish further, such as fuel types.
The Unlimited Class
Created for the extreme competing vehicles and they really are top of the class off roaders, the equivalent to Formula 1 for dirt. Built with passion from all the best parts the world has to offer, these machines are what dreams are made of. From the roaring, fire spitting engines opening up on the Ultra4 straights to the mound of boulders these ultimate beasts seem to tip toe over. Take a look underneath and you’ll start to understand why these are top of the Off Road world, they are built personally and with precision. We caught up with Thom Kingston at lasts year Ultra4 Italian Race where he explained his Spidertrax axels are designed with aerospace technology, thankfully we were sat down when he told us the price but then again you’ll never have to buy another set. Suspension is provided by King Shocks and wow you can see the difference as these cars hit the run of whoops the body of the car glides across but try to glance at the wheels and you’ll make yourself dizzy. These shocks are tailor fitted like a Savile Row suit, we caught up with Gerardo Iribe from King Shocks who attends the Ultra 4 races to fine tune all his shocks for the start line, check out our video interview where Gerardo explains how each car and drivers needs are personally united. Other than the Maxxis Tyres that’s pretty much where the similarities between the unlimited cars ends, of course the point of unlimited is to push the boundaries and each car has it’s own personal mix of magic, they are a pure joy to watch, pumping any petrol heads heart just that little bit faster.
The average person is more likely to gain entry in the following classes which is what makes Ultra4 such a great competition, racing on the same terrain but with rabbit runs to ensure each class is tested to it’s limit. The car and its components define entry classification.
Front mounted engines only
Vehicle must contain 2 seats side by side
Single shock per corner
Maximum 37” Department of Transport approved non-sticky tyres
Original Equipment Manufacturer Chassis
2- 2.5inch shocks per corner
37” Department of Transport approved tyres
Original Equipment Manufacturer stock frame
35” Department of Transport approved tyres
Single 2.5inch diameter shocks per corner
Do you have what it takes to compete in the Ultra4 Europe competitions?
Fancy a shot at it?
Do you have a team of dedicated friends and family to be your pit team? If you do then you just need to decide which class of car your going to compete in. And of course a few quid to throw at it. Don’t be put off with £££’s though you could be racing for less than 4k.
This weekend sees the 2nd race for the 2016 season in Varano De Malegary northern Italy.
If you want to check out Ultra4 in person and a little bit closer to home the final race King of Britain is on the 7th – 9th October at Bovington Tank training grounds in Dorset and if you can’t wait that long to see the action or to take part then an Ultra4 short course is to be held on July 9th-10th at Kirton Off Road Centre in Lincolnshire.
Hopefully see you there …