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Vildosola Racing Builds A New Prerunner

Posted in Features on January 4, 2017
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“Winners practice how they play.” We’re sure you’ve all heard it from some coach at one time or another. When Vildosola Racing goes pre running, they’ll be doing it in this Ford, and since it’s close to what they actually race, it not only give them a chance to plot the course, it also gives them a chance to get some actual driving practice in.

Flying their #21 proudly, Vildosola Racing is nonetheless very well known to all when they are out pre running.

“We built this truck because we wanted to have a light pre-runner.” Said the guys at VR. “When you pre-run you want to have a vehicle that drives similar to your race car, but also be comfortable because you are pre-running for 10 hours straight in a day. You also want your pre-runner to drive similar (to your race car), so you can pre-run and practice at the same time.” And we’re thinking, have one heck of a fun time.

To do all that, the crew at Vildosola Racing began with what they know and that’s with the chassis and suspension. The frame is a Vildosola Racing Space frame made entirely out of 4130. The various frontend pieces, are from Dave Clark / Vildosola Racing while the shocks are King Shocks units that are identical to what the team runs on their race trucks. The rear suspension is a 4 link that is of a Vildosola design that again is nearly straight from their Trophy Truck and also utilizes King Shocks coilover and bypass shocks. The brakes are Brembo unit that feature 6-piston calipers with 16-inch rotors, which are needed to stop the 40-inch Toyo Open Country tires (M/T 40” X 15.5” R20). The Toyo’s are mounted to Method Race Wheels (MR 105 20 X 9 bead-lock 6 X 6.5 bolt pattern).

Basically a Trophy Truck chassis and suspension system, by Dave Clark / Vildosola Racing makes up the truck while two pairs per wheel King Shocks (coil-over and bypass) are the shock of choice.

It’s takes a lot of engine to get them spinning too, and as usual, the Vildosola guys called up Dougans Racing Engines of Riverside, CA. Dougans built a 454 C.I. Ford that pairs sheer displacement along with all the tricks at their disposal. One is the Multic Ignition, a cool individually runnered 8 Stack Induction induction system, along with REF Unlimited Headers that connects with a Borla Exhaust System. A K&N air cleaner provides plenty of clean air to the 760HP beast.

That’s a lot of power to handle, that’s why Vildosola went old school with a Rancho Drivetrain Engineering TH-400 3 Speed. It has a Reid case and Rancho Underdrive and is cooled with a Setrap trans cooler. The rearend is an I.D. Designs rear end housing that holds an Xtrac spool with 5.29 gears.

It’s funny to hear Javi Valenzuela, who has done co-driver duties for Tavo Vildosola, say that the interior in this Raptor is way more comfortable than the race truck, but it sure looks all business to us. Especially since nearly every surface and panel is made from Carbon Fiber with the dash/console being made by Larry Stork at Zoom Factor. A Motec C187 Color Display dash hides behind the Momo Steering wheel, which has been equipped with a cool Works Bell Paddle Shifter assembly. There are Impact Carbon Shell Seats, each equipped with a 5 Point MasterCraft Safety Harness System along with a Motorola VHF radio and noise canceling intercom and a gigantic Lowrance Touch Screen HD GPS system.

A huge Lowrance GPS unit dominates the space in front of the co-driver/navigator. It’s just possible to see the Works Bell Paddle Shifter assembly mounted behind the MOMO steering wheel.
The beautiful Carbon Fiber center console was built by Larry Stork at Zoom Factor, and it holds all of the electrical switches along with the Motorola radio, a Boat Communications intercom and the Vintage Air A/C system.

Maybe it’s the fact that it has windows and a Vintage Air Dual A/C system. There is also a Branix Vehicle Tracking and Data Transmission System, just in case the Raptor seemingly takes itself for a walk.

The Carbon Fiber extends to the exterior as well as the body is a custom 2017 Raptor by Vildosola Racing and Palhegyi Designs. The fenders are Carbon Fiber, but it was Nick at Loose Cannon Customs of Santee CA who painted the metal cab to make it look like Carbon Fiber. Loose Cannon has done some amazing customs over the years (check out their website at, but the Raptor is beautiful. A quartet of Baja Designs ONX6 LED lights are in place and used as headlights. A Carbon Fiber number plate, with Vildosola Racings’ #23 and a list of sponsor’s names appear along the lower rocker panel are just about the only adornment there is on the truck. Simple and elegant, the Vildosola Raptor appears beautiful, menacing and dangerous all at the same time. Kind of like a 4 wheeled Angelina Jolie.

When asked about pre-running, the Vildosola guys had this advice, “Especially when you are getting into off-road, you have to do your homework pre-running because experienced drivers already know the race course from previous races. Take a lot of notes and be paying attention.” But they also had another bit of sage advice. “Pre running is one of the funnest parts of off-road racing, so enjoy yourself!”

Now that’s advice we can take to heart.

With two spares, a huge fuel tank and air conditioning, this Raptor is ready to run long and hard in search of the next victory.


Chassis: Vildosola Racing/Dave Clark
Wheelbase: 138-Inches
Overall Length: 18-Feet
Overall Height: 6-Feet
Track Width: 88.5-Inches
Weight: 6,000 Lbs

We’d like to show you the 454CI Dougans Racing Engines engine, but it’s way back between the occupants. There are the K&N air cleaner and finned King Shock reservoirs to look at though.
Massive, 40-inch Toyos Open Country tires (M/T 40x15.5 R20) are mounted to Method Race Wheels beadlocks.
Again it was Dave Clark / Vildosola Racing that designed and built the 4-link rear suspension system.
The rear system is equipped with King Shocks too. There are one Coil-Over and one Bypass per side.
There’s something very cool about having your name on long trailing arms.
Four Baja Designs OnX LED act as headlights while a gigantic Ron Davis radiator keeps the big engine cool.
A pair of the Method/Toyo wheel/tire combinations and the fuel cell dominate the rear of the truck.
With both front and rear doors open, it’s easy to see inside the Ford. There is room for everything that the team will need on long, pre-running journeys.
A Motec C187 Color Display dash provides the pilot with all relevant engine related info.
Though the base says Sparco, the seats are Impact Carbon Shell units that are equipped with a 5-Point MasterCraft Safety Harness System.
The Ford is as at home in the air as it is powering through rough sections.
Things got a little close when shooting shots of the truck coming at us through a long whooped out straight.
PhotosView Slideshow


Vintage Air
San Antonio, TX 78266
K&N Engineering
Riverside, CA 92507
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Toyo Tires
Tulsa, OK
MasterCraft Safety
Santee, CA 92071
Baja Designs
San Marcos, CA 92069
Method Race Wheels
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Impact By Mastercraft Safety
Borla Performance Industries
Oxnard, CA 93033
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
ID Designs
Dougans Racing Engines
Branix Fleet Management

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