The Jeep Gladiator will be put through its paces in the grueling King of Hammers off-road race.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is billed as the most capable midsize truck ever. To prove its prowess, the tough truck will compete in the grueling Every Man Challenge at the King of the Hammers Desert Off-Road Race thanks to a partnership with Savvy Off Road, an aftermarket shop based in Corona. The truck will enter the Spidertrax 4600 Stock Class and be driven by Robby Gordon, who has raced for decades in the desert, NASCAR, IndyCar, and many road racing series, and two-time King of the Hammers champion Erik Miller.
Gordon will handle high-speed portions of the course, while Miller will be tasked with driving the Gladiator Rubicon on "tight rock sections." The race kicks off February 6 at 8 am PST in Johnson Valley, California. Behind the wheel of the Jeep Gladiator, Miller set the fastest time in the 4600 class this week on the two-mile qualifying course, beating the next closest competitor by more than 10 seconds.
"Jeep has been attending King of the Hammers for many years, listening to, observing and engaging the group of hardcore off-road enthusiasts who gather there," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand, North America. "The all-new Jeep Gladiator's high-speed locker protocol is a direct outcome of their input. So we figured even though we haven't built the first customer unit yet, why not bring it out and put it to the test at this ultimate proving ground – the toughest one-day off-road race in the world?"
All vehicles competing in the Spidertrax 4600 Stock Class of the King of the Hammers Every Man Challenge are required to use a factory engine, stock frame and body, a single shock at each wheel and 35-inch tires. If you need a refresher, the all-new Jeep Gladiator is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a standard six-speed manual or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep's first pickup in over 25 years boasts a body-on-frame design that uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight yet stiff and durable and features an all-new high-strength steel frame. Modifications made to the truck by Savvy Off-Road include a custom link-and-coil suspension with Fox remote reservoir shocks, Dynatrac 60 front and rear axles, beadlock wheels with 35-inch Falken Wildpeak M/T tires, a winch, and a safety cage. The interior has been mostly unchanged, apart from the addition of Sparco racing seats and the removal of the rear seats.