Robby Gordon Is Putting His Rowdy AWD Trophy Truck to Work During Quarantine
You want big jumps? Three-wheeling turns? Obnoxious V8 noise? Well, here it is.
If you know racing, you know Robby Gordon and his outright speed in whatever he drives. From NASCAR and IndyCar back in the day to desert machines and Stadium Super Trucks, he'll drive the wheels off just about anything—sometimes literally. His newest creation stems from a Baja-developed trophy truck that's been converted from rear-wheel-drive to all-wheel-drive with a snarling V8 mounted amidships.
Gordon raced this truck in last year's Baja 1000 and has been fine-tuning it in the time since. That includes quarantine testing at his race shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, with purpose-built ramps and even a short SST racecourse.
Whereas normal trophy trucks slide with their tails wagging from one turn to the next, Gordon's all-wheel-drive rig is more precise and controlled. Think Ken Block's Gymkhana cars rather than a full-sized Formula Drifter.
The suspension, which is tuned to eat desert whoops with grace while maintaining speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour, is on full display in the parking lot test. The front-end compresses heavily when on the brakes, helping the truck dive into each corner and bring the rear around all the while. It also absorbs the massive impact when landing on the pavement after each jump.
Perhaps the best part, though, is the on-power three-wheeling when Gordon exits one corner and hammers it into the next.
Gordon nicknamed this truck the "Unicorn" and even fitted a hood ornament of the mythical creature for the 2019 Baja challenge. While he didn't win the 1,000-mile endurance event, the racer was extremely quick. The video below of him desert-testing the truck is all the proof you need:
The switch to all-wheel-drive is admittedly unorthodox as most trophy trucks value rear-wheel-drive for its inherently lower weight. However, having driven wheels at all four corners promotes traction in various situations, helping the machine to launch faster while also making it easier to get out of hairy situations. For example, if you happen to slide into a sand trap, all-wheel-drive will help get you out in a cinch compared to gobs of power at the rear only.
The Unicorn is yet to truly prove itself as superior to traditional rigs in racing action, but one thing's for sure—it can hoon with the best of 'em.
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