The Jackal: UTV or Trophy Car?

UTV’s fundamentally changed off-road road culture forever. They lowered the barrier to entry so that nearly everyone can afford to have incredible off-road experiences. The UTV platform continues to evolve with recent variations including Honda’s Talon, Kawasaki’s KRX, and Yamaha’s YXZ. So what do we define as a UTV? Size? Horsepower? Belt drive? Cost? Most of those barriers have been broken with new entries such as Honda with their DCT transmission and Yamaha’s Sequential 5-Speed Transmission. I remember test driving the Arctic Cat WildCat in Barstow thinking immediately that this was a mini Class 1 Car with 4 wheel drive. UTV’s are no longer Utility Terrain Vehicles rather they are now Unlimited Terrain Vehicles.

It’s ironic that the next evolution of the UTV platform was not created by a factory but rather racer, builder, stunt driver, and all around renaissance man Rhys Millen. Like many other racers Rhys fell in love with the UTV platform’s cost effectiveness and diversity. He dove head first into UTV racing building his own UTV race car and relatively quickly winning the Baja 1000 and competing in multiple stage rallies. But there is not a replacement for displacement and Rhys has driven everything from trophy trucks to rally cars and pretty much everything in between. Speed is a drug that is undeniable. It will always call you back for more. Topping out at just below 100mph the current UTV platform begs for more horsepower, just a little more. As proven in recent races the UTV platform continues to climb, Mitch Guthrie Jr. not only won the Pro Turbo class at The 2019 Mint 400 in his Polaris RZR, he beat all the 6100 TT Trucks on time!

After finding success in UTV racing Rhys wanted to take all the positive attributes of the UTV platform and scale it up, add some horsepower and further increase the durability. So he basically scaled up the current UTV platform and incorporated parts from rallycross cars including SADEV 6-Speed sequential gearbox and SADEV front differential. He also beefed up the driveline and axles with OC Driveline prop shaft with RCV custom axles.The vehicle platform now fills the gap between the UTV platform and the larger faster off-road racing vehicles such as 6100, Class1 cars and Trophy Trucks. It’s absolutely more logical for the current UTV racers to want a similar vehicle that is still 4 wheel drive, that drives similar to a UTV than switch back to two wheel drive vehicle platform.

This new vehicle platform also opens the door for all 4 cylinder manufacturers to get involved in off-road racing. Look at the recent success of two recent entries from Honda’s Truck and Subaru’s Class 5 unlimited both of which garnered more publicity for the brands than traditional pavement racing programs. Honda, Acura, Subaru, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, Nissan, Mercedes-AMG, Mazda, Lexus, all make 4 cylinder power plants that could work for this new class. What does that mean for Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, Yamaha, Textron, and Kawasaki? It remains to be seen, but it’s safe to assume that a $200K+ consumer UTV is not high on the priority list. With 4 cylinder vehicles coming from both Polaris and Can-Am the future of UTV racing is going to get interesting. The Jackal platform Rhys has created has a lot of potential and room for flexibility. It’s got all the features of a UTV but is it a UTV or should we call it a Trophy Car?

 Interested in test driving or buying a Jackal? Contact Rhys Millen Racing today.

Owner: Rhys Millen
Builder:Designed in CAD by Triton Engineering and Built by Rhys Millen Racing
Date Completed: April 2019
Chassis:Rhys Millen Racing Jackal
Weight:3,000lb Dry Weight
Wheel Base:119” 
Track Width:85”


Engine:2.3L Ford Ecoboost
Cooling: CBR Radiator and Intercooler Setup with a CBR remote engine oil cooler
ExhaustCustom made by Rhys Millen Racing
PlumbingAll Plumbing and fittings supplied by BMRS
TransmissionSADEV 6-Speed sequential gearbox and SADEV front diff
Driveline: OC Driveline prop shaft with RCV custom driveshafts
Brakes:Alcon Brakes
Fuel Cell:Pyrotect


Tires: Tensor DS 37”
Wheels: Method 401-R High Offset wheels
Paint/ Graphics: Chassis done in Steel-It Coatings and all graphics done by The Tint Pros GFX
Body: Custom Made Body done by Rhys Millen Racing
Front Suspension: Fox 2.0 Coilovers w/ Fox 2.5” Bypasses
Rear SuspensionFox 2.5” Coilovers w/ Fox 3.0” Bypasses
Steering: Howe Steering Rack w/ EPS 
Paneling:Done by Rhys Millen Racing
Wiring:Done by Rhys Millen Racing
Lights:Lights provided by KC HiLites 


Navigation:LeadNav setup on a 12” iPad
Communication:Rugged Radios radio and intercom with Msat system from PCI
Seats:Sparco Ergo seats 
Safety: Safecraft auto suppression system and handheld system 

In recent years The UTV class has exploded, so if you are a UTV racer with a couple of seasons under your belt this class is the perfect option.

This is a lightweight 4 wheel drive turbo charged 4 cylinder engine class. Those specifications open up to all the major manufacturers FORD, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai all make engines that fit this class.

Rhys Millen has built a lot of different types of race cars from rally cars to drift cars to multiple off-road vehicles. Now he brings all of his knowledge together to create this new trophy car class.

Photos by Ernesto Araiza //

Matt Martelli

Founder of Mad Media, a multidisciplinary creative and marketing firm and CEO of Off-Road Racer, UTV Underground, The Mint 400, The California 300, and Dirt Co. Matt is one of the biggest influences in Off-Road Racing today.

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