September 10th, 2020

Polaris Shows There’s More Yet To Be Squeezed Out of the Internal Combustion Engine

New 600 race engine produces 18 horsepower gain at mid-range

If you thought there isn’t much power left to be extracted out of the conventional internal combustion engine, Polaris just proved you wrong with the announcement of a brand new, purpose-built 600 race engine. The manufacturer is claiming a 10 horsepower gain at peak power and an 18 horsepower gain in the midrange over their previous 600 race engine. Eighteen more mid-range horsepower out of a 600? Wow.

This is especially impressive when you consider that today’s winning teams in major racing circuits like Formula 1 and the FIA World Endurance Championship have long since abandoned conventional, standalone internal combustion engines in favour of tiny displacement gas and diesel hybrid electric technology. Admittedly this is in part due to modern race organization regulation, but also because of the efficiency of the more advanced technology.

But whatever the reason, the fact that the most technologically advanced and deep-pocketed racing teams on the planet use hybrid technology might lead a person to reasonably assume that there isn’t much left to be squeezed out of a naturally-aspirated, conventional ICE.

And it doesn’t seem like hybrid or fully-electric technology will be coming down the Big 4 OEM production lines anytime soon.

But why would it?

The manufacturers are currently producing snowmobiles with reliable, power-to-weight ratios in the realm of Formula 1. Let’s not overlook the fact that Formula 1 cars cost in the tens of millions of dollars.

Gas-Powered Race Sleds Prove Out Production Snowmobiles

So despite all this new engine technology, snowmobile manufacturers continue to utilize conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) in their race programs, which become a testing grounds for future production. That’s great news for consumers, that a manufacturer such as Polaris can continue to find new ways to eke significant gains out of a well-established and affordable engine technology.

Because this year’s 600 race engine can easily become next year’s hot trail sled. And the same technology can often easily find its way into a bigger displacement engine beneath the body panels of a mountain sled—without a Formula 1 price tag.

We like the sounds of that.


– MS


For more information on their new 2021 600R race sled, see the press release from Polaris, below:

Polaris 600R Race Sled Featured

Polaris Announces All-New 600 Race Engine

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 10, 2020) – From the high flying track at the Canterbury Snocross, to the high speed action of the I-500 and the ultimate challenge at the Jackson Hole World Championship, Team Polaris racers are ready to dominate, with three race-ready weapons at their disposal.

The 2021 600R is the latest iteration of Polaris’s dedication to technology development, and the dominance of the INDY XCR and RMK Khaos are the result of that technology across our snowmobile lineup.

“Over the entire history of the Polaris Snowmobiles brand, we have used racing to develop and prove out our high performance snowmobiles,” said Chris Wolf, President, Snowmobiles. “That tradition is strong today, pushing technology with the 600R, and demonstrating the strength and performance of our production sleds with the XCR and Khaos.”


2021 Polaris 600R Race Sled

The 2021 600R Race Sled continues on the proven, championship winning AXYS R platform for this season, with industry leading suspension and racer first ergonomics. The legendary Polaris Race IFS and 136” RX2 rear suspension, with the Walker Evans Racing Velocity shocks, are ready to tackle the toughest tracks race after race. The narrow racer first bodywork, the inspiration for the all-new Matryx production snowmobiles, allows the racers to push the 600R to the limit, keeping them in complete control.

“The 600R is a proven, race winning chassis that leads the pack in handling and rider ergonomics. For the 2021 season, the powertrain was our primary focus, and that resulted in our brand new, purpose built 600 race engine” said Tom Rager, Jr. Polaris Race Manager.

With decades of developing industry leading engines, including the Patriot engine architecture, the all-new 600 race engine is purpose built for racing, with proven Polaris Racing technology. The lightweight, low inertia powerplant features an all-new throttle body EFI system, lightweight crank and flywheel, new head and port design, and more. The result – a 10 horsepower gain at peak power, and a staggering 18 horsepower gain in the midrange over the previous 600 race engine.

Holeshots and top speed are greatly improved with the increased power output, and the low inertia, EFI engine brings throttle response to a lightning fast level. The new engine, paired with the 600R platform, will be a distinct advantage for Team Polaris racers this winter.

2021 INDY XCR & RMK Khaos

Racing provides the extreme conditions that are hard to replicate, and the ideal venue to develop and prove out production snowmobiles. The INDY XCR and RMK Khaos production snowmobiles demonstrate this race ready performance and strength.

The XCR’s legacy in cross country racing is storied, and the 2021 600 INDY XCR is ready to write the next chapter. Walker Evans Velocity shocks, Polaris Race Technology spec brakes & componentry, and extensive strength reinforcements put the XCR out front.

The lightweight, rigid aluminum chassis of the RMK Khaos produces agile, predictive handling on the hillclimb course and in the backcountry. The power of the 850 Patriot and the Walker Evans Velocity shocks provide the power and response required to dominate the mountain.

“With the 600R and all-new race engine, the proven strength of the XCR, and the lightweight, powerful 850 RMK, it is going to be a dominating winter for Team Polaris.” said Wolf.