We saw the JK and it looked good. That’s how we first ran across Road Race Motorsports and its 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. But what the heck was a shop that specialized in building sport compact and rally race cars and designing bolt-on upgrade parts for the same doing building a Jeep? After speaking with owner Rob Tallini and Johnny Rocha, director of 4x4 operations at Road Race Motorsports, we got our answer. The market was there and so was the crossover of its research and development. They built race cars that found the podium almost every time they spun the track, so why not apply all that knowledge to the ever-growing 4x4 market, particularly the JK?
Though the Road Race Motorsports team may have been building cars that rarely if ever saw dirt all of its years (2WD and 4WD rally cars aside), Rob and most of the crew would escape the sport compact scene many weekends a year hitting local trails in their 4x4s. Work is work, no matter what you do, and the Road Race team found ’wheeling and wrenching on their 4x4s was a great break from pavement racing. Aware that their use-and-abuse Jeeps weren’t the typical Road Race Motorsports poster children, they set out to build a brand-new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon that would represent their brand to the fullest extent.
With its Dana 44s and factory lockers front and rear, as well as its NVG241OR Rock-Trac transfer case with 4:1 gearing, the Wrangler was already a capable ’wheeler. The Road Race crew set out to make it an even better one. The front axle was sleeved and gusseted and fit with Synergy ball joints and 4.88 gears while the rear received chromoly axleshafts and 4.88 gears. Both the front and rear was equipped with Road Race Motorsports’ JK Big Brake kit, which includes new slotted rotors that are 1-inch larger than stock. With the axles fortified, the crew moved to the 3.6L Pentastar V-6, installing its Stage 3 Power Pack, which includes a Road Race intake system, fuel calibrator, and an axle-back exhaust system.
With 37x13.50R17 Toyo Mud Terrain tires and 17x8.5 TrailReady HD World Series bead locks on the build sheet, the JK’s suspension had to be up to the task. The front received a Rock Krawler 2.5-inch mid-arm lift system and was paired with a set of Icon 2.5-inch remote reservoir shocks with custom valving. The rear was equipped with a 3.5-inch Rock Krawler mid-arm kit and also uses Icon remote reservoir shocks. Almost ready for action, the Road Race crew finished the build with a slew of quality armor from Poison Spyder Customs to ensure the JK could be ’wheeled without worry. Poison Spyder bumpers are installed front and rear as are Poison Spyder tube fenders with rocker guards at the sides. The underbelly of the JK is fully protected by Asfir 4x4’s aluminum skidplates that stretch nearly from stem to stern.
With its power, braking, and suspension upgrades, the Road Race Motorsports JK is part rally racer and the rest of it adds up to a stellar 4x4 that can be used for weekend ’wheeling or extended adventures and everything in between.
A Poison Spyder winch bumper...
A Poison Spyder winch bumper is installed up front and holds a Warn VR10000 winch. Rigid lights are mounted to the bumper stinger. A Rigid lightbar is mounted above the windshield.
The Road Race Motorsports...
The Road Race Motorsports JK Unlimited has a level stance and sits fairly low considering the 37-inch Toyos. The Rock Krawler mid-arm system and Icon shocks permit ample flex and deliver a comfortable ride.
The factory Dana 44 rear axle...
The factory Dana 44 rear axle is equipped with 4.88 gears and chromoly axleshafts, along with a Warn differential skidplate. The Icon remote reservoir shocks provide an abundance of flex and a great ride—even with the left rear tire completely stuffed in the fender, there’s still some room for the shock to compress even more. This is also a good shot of the Road Race Motorsports axle-back exhaust kit. The kit is a fully hand-fabricated and TIG-welded system made in the USA. Road Race then adds its unique ceramic coating for superior heat and wear protection. The kit is about half the weight and size of the stock exhaust it replaces. We like how the whole system stays tucked up high for increased ground clearance.
The underside of the Road...
The underside of the Road Race JK is very well protected with Poison Spyder rocker guards at the sides and Asfir 4x4’s aluminum skidplates covering pretty much everything underneath.
The front of the JK uses a...
The front of the JK uses a Rock Krawler 2.5-inch mid-arm suspension system and 2.5-inch Icon remote reservoir shocks with custom valving. The steering knuckles are gusseted so this typically weak area won’t be as prone to breakage.
The Asfir 4x4 aluminum skidplates...
The Asfir 4x4 aluminum skidplates offer very complete coverage to the JK’s underside. Being the porkers they are, JKs can always afford to lose some pounds, and aluminum skidplates are a great way to do it.
The JK can stretch its legs...
The JK can stretch its legs without issue thanks to the Rock Krawler suspension and Icon remote reservoir shocks. The Poison Spyder rear tube fenders do good work of keeping the tires from damaging the body. That’s a Garvin rack up top with more Rigid LEDs at the front and rear.
This is a great-looking tire-and-wheel...
This is a great-looking tire-and-wheel package: 37x13.50R17 Toyo Mud Terrains on 17x8.5 TrailReady HD World Series bead locks. Road Race applied the matching paint scheme.
The Road Race Motorsports...
The Road Race Motorsports Big Brake kit features new slotted, premium-grade brake rotors that are 1-inch larger than stock, high-performance brake pads, and mounting brackets and hardware. The factory calipers are retained. Each new rotor is a split casting for better heat transfer and thermal efficiency and is E-coated for corrosion resistance. Check out how the new rotor dwarfs the factory brake shield.
Poison Spyder tube fenders...
Poison Spyder tube fenders look and work great. We like the cool Drake Off Road hood latches.
The Road Race Motorsports...
The Road Race Motorsports Stage 3 Power Pack includes a Road Race intake system, fuel calibrator, and an axle-back exhaust system. It’s designed to increase power and fuel economy while also eliminating excess weight.
The front Dana 44 front axle...
The front Dana 44 front axle uses the factory locker and 4.88 ring and pinion. It is also equipped with the Road Race Motorsports Big Brake kit and steering stabilizer kit. The Poison Spyder front bumper skidplate offers great protection.
Inside the rear cab area of...
Inside the rear cab area of the JK is a Garvin interior rack that holds additional RotopaX fluid cans, a Hi-Lift jack base, tool bags, and Power Tank air system, with an ARB fridge below. The Viair air tank mounted to the rollbar plumbs to dual compressors mounted to the body above the rear axle.
The dual Viair compressors...
The dual Viair compressors are out of harm’s way, high up on the body above the rear axle.
The NVG241OR Rock-Trac transfer...
The NVG241OR Rock-Trac transfer case works well and has 4:1 gearing. Why mess with what isn’t broken? We like how the Road Race crew painted the stock driveshafts black. It gives them a custom look and looks a lot better, too.
The interior is well-equipped...
The interior is well-equipped for the road or trail, complete with PRP seats and harnesses, grab handles, and an iPad for navigation. Also note the sPod switch system mounted to the windshield above the rearview mirror.
Road Race Motorsports’ Jeep...
Road Race Motorsports’ Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited is ready for anything. The Poison Spyder rear bumper carries a fullsize spare tire in addition to RotopaX fuel and water cans from Xtorm 4WD. The LED taillights are from Drake Off Road.
||2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
||Road Race Motorsports/Santa Fe Springs, CA
||3.6L Pentastar V-6
|Transfer case/low range ratio:
|Ring and Pinion:
||Rock Krawler mid-arm system, Icon remote reservoir shocks
||37x13.50R17 Toyo MT
||17x8.5 TrailReady HD World Series beadlocks/4 inches