Author: Craig Perronne Photos: Boyd Jaynes
Walk around any LOORRS short-course race and one quickly notices the family aspect of our sport. Not only are kids ever present watching the action in the grandstands with their families, they are also out racing as well, behind the wheel of seemingly endless numbers of TrophyKarts. Almost every team is made up of a collection of fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers and sisters, making the family affair that is off-road racing almost impossible to miss. It is a fact that was not lost on Rick Gutierrez, who originally raced in the desert and then short-course in the West Coast CORR days. Seeing it firsthand, the family nature of off-road quickly made an impression on Rick. “We love the sport. It is a total family sport. My wife and I love it, my brothers love it, my family loves it and everyone just loves coming to the races. If we are not there, we are watching them on television.” With a constantly growing construction company demanding his full attention, Rick’s racing career was a short one, but long enough for him to realize that he wanted his children to be a part of it. “I want my kids to grow up in this sport and come through all the classes. That is my ultimate goal,” notes Rick. To make that vision a reality, both of Gutierrez’s sons started racing TrophyKarts at an early age. Now that his oldest son, Sammy, is of the legal age, Rick decided the next step for him was a LOORRS Limited Buggy. He then turned to long-time friend Rino Navera and Raceco USA’s Jamie Campbell to begin design and construction of the project. What started out simply as the next steppingstone for his son soon became much more. Gutierrez shares, “I want to give them the best they can have, and every advantage they can get on the track. It is obviously a really good car, but it just kind of took over. As nice as it came out, I wasn’t really looking to build a masterpiece when we started, but that is what happened. If we put a top-notch driver in that car, it is easily a championship car. That is how much we believe in the design and the innovation found in thiscar.” From the look of it, we don’t doubt Rick’s words, as the newest Raceco USA creation is truly stunning. Its quality parts, beautiful fabrication and the careful attention paid to detail throughout its creation show that even the most limited of classes can still be lavished with the attention usually reserved for upper-end machinery. It was an easy choice as this month’s Masterpiece in Metal.
The front suspension of a Limited Buggy is very similar to that of a 1/2-1600 desert car, with stock-length arms and a leaf-sprung beam. However, the limited nature of the suspension didn’t stop Raceco USA from putting a lot of thought into it. The main goal was to get more bump travel out of the configuration by having the suspension sit higher up in its stroke. To help accomplish this, Raceco USA built a custom beam along with Foddrill arms and spindles made to Raceco’s specs. CNC hubs were then mated with Brake Man two-piston calipers and 9-inch rotors, with a Saco steering rack moving the whole assembly. Finally, to control the 9 inches of wheel travel, King 2.0 three-tube bypass shocks were fitted.
Raceco USA lavished the buggy with lots of care as seen in the carefully constructed front beam.
The strict rules dictate that Limited Buggies must be powered by a 1,600cc VW engine, and this one was taken to well-known builder Adam Wik of Wik’s Racing Engines to squeeze every possible bit of horsepower and torque out of the diminutive mill. Like most engine builders of restricted engines, Wik won’t share what tricks he performed to the mill or its overall output, and the team is equally tight-lipped. All we know is that air flows into it via a K&N air filter and is expelled through a custom hand-built Wik exhaust system and headers. Resting in front of the engine is a 091 transaxle built by Dave Folts.
In the rear, a torsion bar setup is used in conjunction with custom Raceco USA trailing arms. A single King 2.5 four-tube bypass shock with 14 inches of stroke provides the ultimate tunability for the 15 inches of rear wheel travel that this setup produces. TCS 930 CV joints and 300M cages, stars and shafts send power to the wheels. Also visible are the Brake Man four-piston calipers that squeeze on Brake Man 11-inch rotors.
This detail of the rear trailing arms shows their unique design that is plenty stout, but doesn’t add weight to the svelte buggy.
One look at the interior and it’s easy to notice that the emphasis is on saving weight, with items such as a JOES Racing Products drilled steering wheel and lightened gas pedal. The rest of the interior is no-frills, with the only instrumentation being an Auto Meter Phantom oil temperature gauge and a small digital RPM gauge, housed in the Raceco-built dash. Visible on the right is the ProAm Racing Products four-speed shifter that is operated from the Sparco Carbon seat equipped with Simpson harnesses.
The aluminum body built by Raceco USA is absolutely stunning and was powdercoated satin black and orange by Embee Performance Coatings. Patrick’s Signs then handled all the stickers and graphics that adorn the body. Also visible are nerf bars that are easily removable, making replacing them in the event of damage an easy affair.
If it looks like the miniscule Yokohama tires could fit a car, it is because they can. With limited horsepower, every aspect of weight is considered including unsprung weight along with rolling resistance. The small tires help to keep the buggy as light as possible and weigh in at just 1,350 lbs.
POWERTRAIN Engine: 1,600cc VW
BUILDER: Wik’s Racing Engines
MAX Horsepower: Classified
MAX Torque: Classified
MODIFICATIONS: Wik’s Racing Engines block, heads and internals INDUCTION: K&N air filter TRANSMISSION: Folts 091 four-speed transaxle
SUSPENSION Front: Custom Raceco USA beam, Foddrill arms and spindles, King 2.0 three-tube bypass shocks, 9 inches of wheel travel REAR: Custom Raceco USA trailing arms, torsion bars, King 2.5 four-tube bypass shocks, 15 inches of wheel travel Cooling Mesa oil cooler Plumbing Raceco USA WIRING Jimmy Richardson Brakes Front:Brake Man two-piston calipers and 9-inch rotors Rear:Brake Man four-piston calipers and 11-inch rotors WHEELS/TIRES WHEELS: CMS beadlocks (15x7 front, 15x10 rear) TIRES: 195/65R16 Yokohama YK 580 (front), 205/70R15 Yokohama Geolander AT-S (rear)
BODYWORK: Raceco USA custom aluminum body PAINT: Embee Performance Coatings powdercoat
INTERIOR Sparco Carbon seat, Simpson harnesses, JOES pedals and steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges, ProAm Racing Products shifter, PCI race radio CHASSIS: Raceco USA Limited Buggy DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 103 inches Overall Length: 132 inches Overall Height: 60 inches Track Width: 51.4 inches Overall Weight: 1,350 lbs.