At the 2019 Haydays event, directly across the aisle from where Ski-Doo was unveiling its new snocross-focused race sled to much fanfare, a lonely 2020 Polaris 600R race sled was perched on a stand unattended. There was no sheet to pull back or booming voices over loud speakers making big proclamations, but that doesn’t mean that Polaris isn’t aiming for checkered flags in the upcoming season.
Finally, two weeks later Team Polaris has now unveiled the truths about the 600R: It features a track that’s certainly new but it has somewhat of a throwback design. That Wolverine track wraps around a skid frame with a new rail profile, new motion ratio on the rear shock and revised shock calibrations overall. And, the track sits under a tunnel that features a steeper rake.
The sled also get a new seat for 2020 – see the full press release from Polaris below.
Most interesting to us is the layout of the new Wolverine track. With lugs set in full-width bars that span the track – as opposed to most modern tracks that have lugs grouped in a staggered pattern – it harkens back to the 1990s or before.
At Haydays, a Polaris engineer familiar with the sled said the track design has two distinct advantages over the previous design: (1) It gets better grip off of a starting line in the sort of man-made snow that is common on snocross race courses, allowing for better holeshots which are so vital in snocross, and (2) it allows the rear end to slide better in corners so racers can pivot the sled better.
It’s always interesting to us whenever the factories notably move away from some design or technology for various reasons, but then years later they go back to it, as is the case with this track design. Polaris race department obviously did a bunch of testing with track designs to get to this point – they wouldn’t purposely move backward in track design! – so they must strongly like they’re on to something. Will fill-width lug bars return to some consumer performance tracks next? Time will tell.
Also immediately noticeable when standing next to the sled at Haydays was the increased slope angle of the tunnel toward the rear. That same Polaris engineer said the angle was built in to allow full range of motion of the rear suspension in full-compression situations.
Otherwise, the sled returns in much the same form as the 2019 Polaris 600R, as does the Polaris race team, which again will feature Kody Kamm as its most high-profile racer. Now, on to the press release from Polaris:
All-New 2020 Polaris 600R Race Sled Delivers Improved Performance from the Holeshot to the Checkered Flag
New Sled Has All-New Wolverine Track, Proven 600 Engine
The new Polaris 600R race sled has been refined for improved performance on the race course, from the holeshot through jumps, bumps and corners, Polaris racers will have a decided advantage heading into the 2019-2020 race season. The new race sled features an all-new track, new rail profile, new motion ratio on the rear track shock with optional rear suspension mounting locations and revised shock calibration. The tunnel angle has also been updated and racer ergonomics continues to be an advantage to the racers.
“We really focused our attention on improving our holeshots this year so several of the changes address that, but the most exciting change is the new Wolverine track. Not only did it do what we were hoping for on the starting line, but we saw added benefits everywhere else on the track.” Thomas Rager Race Team Manager
New Wolverine Track and Suspension Improvements
The all-new “Wolverine” track has an innovated design to improve holeshot, braking and turning. It is engineered for improved performance everywhere on the track and in rough terrain.
The front and rear shocks are the Walker Evans Velocity shocks. They have hi-lo speed compression and rebound adjust. There is a new motion ratio on the rear track shock with optional rear suspension mounting locations and revised shock calibration designed to withstand the rigors of racing and reliably soak up impacts throughout a long main event.
The all new rail profile helps with the holeshot and provides better turning.
Proven 600 Engine Technology
The 600R race sled is powered by the proven title-winning, quick-accelerating 600 engine, which boosts an ignition system that provides increased spark energy. This helps produce extra power for improved top speeds and better high-RPM performance.
Ergonomic improvements made last year have been implemented in the 2020 600R race sled as well. Racers who tested the 2019 600R Race Sled helped refine the new seat design so it significantly improves a racer’s comfort and control. With the new seat, the ergonomics are enhanced to provide the racer with greater stability that is especially noticeable in corners. The racer is positioned to control the sled with less effort, which reduces fatigue. And the new seat cover has additional grip ribs that further improve racer stability.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.