Dominating the desert has never been easier.
Lonestar Racing (LSR) has been an ATV and UTV frame and suspension leader for over 20 years. During that time, we’ve seen our industry take hits related to the general economy and waning numbers of available sport machines. Those hard times put a strain on many aftermarket companies, and some even had to close their doors for good. But, with LSR’s reputation as one of the foremost ATV/UTV companies, they kept operations running through the housing crisis.
LSR manufactures high-quality ATV and UTV suspension components for almost every sport model that has seen high-level success in competition. From standard travel to long-travel suspension, they have your sport machine covered. With the rise of the UTV’s popularity, they have been cranking out some very impressive parts for them. The best thing a company like LSR can do is to physically test each part and improve on OEM designs. LSR has been manufacturing parts for the new Can-Am Maverick X3 before they were even released to the public, and with that head start on the competition, they’ve built some amazing X3s.
LSR owner Dan Fisher is also a Can-Am factory racer competing in the Best in the Desert series against the best drivers in the world. For 2017 he has built this bulletproof X3 that he hopes will get him to the top of the podium soon.
SUSPENSION FOR DAYS
Dan’s X3 started off as a stock X ds model that came with 20 inches of suspension travel on all four corners. Twenty inches of suspension travel is already impressive, but it wasn’t going to fly when racing the best desert racers in the world. LSR installed their MTS (Mid Travel Suspension) 4130 chromoly A-arms, trailing arms and its longer axles on the X3.
The MTS long-travel kit widens the front end by 3 inches and 2 inches in the rear, bringing the overall width to 77 inches without changing the wheelbase. MTS utilizes stock-length shocks, which they re-valve and spring to work with the added travel. Heavy-duty chromoly radius rods help keep the rear end on the straight and narrow, and they won’t bend as easily as the OEM units. Incredibly, with this suspension kit, the X ds boasts 24 inches of wheel travel and 18 inches of ground clearance!
BUILDING IT FOR WAR
Best in the Desert has strict rules when it comes to safety equipment, and any OEM car now must undergo the knife to meet specifications. LSR chops most of the OEM frame out and replaces it with their chromoly frame and welds partial front and rear pieces of the OEM frame to the new LSR chromoly frame. After doing this, the frame will be legal for BITD racing. Most of the BITD races are over 200 miles, so they added a 32-gallon Pyro Tech fuel cell with dual pumps and a quick-fill system to feed the need for speed, and it’s required for safety purposes. Two LSR fire extinguishers are mounted to the front and rear of the cage in case of a fire while out on the course. For driver and passenger comfort, a set of Beard suspension seats are installed, while PRP five-point harnesses keep the occupants securely in the car. A Rugged Radios fresh air kit pumps clean air into their helmets, which is vital comfort for the driver and passenger on races like Vegas to Reno.
LSR stripped the wiring harness of any unnecessary wires, which, in return, cut weight from the car. To help with stability, ground clearance and puncture-resistance, Dan went with 32-inch Arisun Aftershock tires on all four corners. But, when they installed the 32-inch tires, the Can-Am DPS power steering unit struggled to keep up and would try to correct itself at high speed. Dan switched out the DPS system for a 220-amp Wicked power steering unit that has only one setting, which solved the steering issue.
LSR didn’t go crazy with the motor. What good is a lot of power if you don’t finish a race? In stock trim, the X3 engine has 154 horsepower, which is a great start. Dan wanted a bit more power and fuel to get to the engine, so he used an Evo tune package on his ECU to get it. The Evo ECU tune is used for closed-course racing. It allows the high and low gears to rev to 8600 rpm, removes speed limiters, improved throttle response, removes the need to press the brake pedal to start the machine and allows 100-percent throttle in all modes. With this tune package, they also installed Evo’s bigger fuel injectors to force more fuel to the engine. An SDHQ muffler gives the car a more linear powerband and a better sound from the three-cylinder ACE engine.
Since the Can-Am Maverick X3 is a newer machine, we’ve only driven slightly modified or bone-stock versions. So, you could say we were ecstatic to drive this LSR desert destroyer! We had to pull a full-on Dukes of Hazzard maneuver to get through the window over the welded doors, minus the epic hood slide. The first thing we noticed when sitting in the car is the immersed feeling of being safe. The full nets on the tall doors, the comfortable Beard seats and the PRP harnesses helped with that.
The LSR X3 was an absolute dream over some very nasty desert terrain. Pushing a stock UTV to 70+ mph in said terrain would be a hazard, but in LSR’s car, it was a very pleasant and a confidence-inspiring thrill ride! The Fox shocks worked phenomenal in large whoops and G-outs that would unexpectedly arrive at the speed this machine routinely runs. Some of the nastiest sections that we were driving on had cross-grain and off-camber hardpack, and the LSR X3 floated over them like we were driving on a fire road. Large rocks and other obstacles were an afterthought with the MTS suspension components clearing them easily. One of the most impressive things about the feel of the car was the Wicked power steering system. It was extremely smooth at 5–80 mph, plus on any terrain, especially whoops. It handled corners decently, but like any desert setup with the suspension cranked high, it did take harder braking and focused steering from the driver to get the most out of the corners. However, there aren’t many hairpin turns in Best in the Desert, so it doesn’t matter that much. The OEM brakes did well for the extra weight the car was packing, but we did have to push the pedal harder and deeper than in a stock X3.
The power was impressive with what little work had been done. It boosted itself up to over 70+ mph in no time flat. The low end was much better than our stock X ds model. If you needed to brake suddenly, the car would rapidly accelerate back to as fast as you dare push it. The SDHQ exhaust note sounds great and is not overly loud while driving. The Arisun 32-inch tires and DWT 15-inch wheels allowed the car to roll over giant obstacles with ease and with no flat protection; we had zero flats on the day.
Well, all we can say is, "Wow!" This is an incredible machine that LSR has built for their fearless leader. This is one of the smoothest desert UTVs we’ve ever had the pleasure of driving. It was a new experience for us to drive a UTV at over 70 mph on an unpredictable trail and feel completely comfortable. Dan mentioned that his X3 can do over 100 mph with no problem, but we didn’t have a long-enough road to test this theory. We’ll take his word for it.
Not one thing has been overlooked on this machine, and they’ve put in a lot of testing, building and homework to show everyone what an X3 can do. It won’t be long now before you see more X3 drivers on the box at races, and if you have LSR parts on your car, you’ll have a fighting chance to be one of those racers!
LONESTAR RACING CAN-AM X3 BITD CAR SPECS
Article Courtesy of:
Dirt Wheels Magazine August 2017 Issue, pg. 38-42.