What’s red, white and blue and goes like a rocket across any terrain? The OTSFF 6100-spec trophy truck off course. US-style, off-road racing is a very different ball game than rally raid. So, to find out more about this fascinating discipline we tracked down OTSFF driver and team owner Andre Laurin in Las Vegas where he and the team were competing in the Mint 400
Andre, what’s your back story and how did OTSFF come about?
The off-road team started about four years ago when I was down at Ensenada, Mexico, to watch Rob Mac and my friends from Rock Star Energy race the Baja 1000. This was my first up close experience to trophy truck racing and since that moment my wheel started to spin. I called up Adam to set up a team and we started building a car.
Tell us a little bit about the truck, what improvements did you add for this year?
The truck is a 6100-spec Baja Trophy truck. For this year the regulations granted us a little bit more freedom. We’re allowed to run a (General Motors) LS3-engine producing 525bhp, which bumps us up a significant 100 horsepower compared to last year. On top of that for this year we’re allowed to run a 40-inch tire, another big improvement compared to last year when we were only allowed a 37-inch tire. These two combined have really transformed the vehicle.
How much of this truck is custom fabrication or are many parts available off the shelf?
It’s 80-20. 80% is all custom manufacturing. Nearly everything is bespoke to this machine. The only parts I can think of that are really off-the-shelf are our Maxxis tie-rods, the brake callipers and our Vision racing wheels. A lot of parts start as off-the-shelf parts but are then heavily modified to be able to cope with what we put them through.
The team has been doing really well. What’s your secret for racing these off-road events?
It’s a funny story actually. I come from a winter sports background and especially in snowmobiling. When riding a high-powered sled, you have to figure out your line across the terrain beforehand and analyse what you can and can’t do with your vehicle. It might seem surprising, but I’ve managed to carry over a lot of that into truck racing and it seems to have given me an edge.
You guys are running a special livery for this event. What’s so special about the Mint 400?
It’s the history of the event really. It’s the 52nd running of the race, which is incredible. Although I grew up in a completely different part of the country, I always followed what has been going on around here in the west coast and I’m so happy to be competing here.
What’s the nature of your relationship with Motul?
OTSFF and Motul go back over 10 years when they partnered with us in our MotoCross programme in Canada and we were looking for a product that we just couldn’t find anywhere else. At that time Motul came to us and delivered something that truly gave us an advantage. So, when I built this truck Motul was the first brand I contacted. Motul has been with us for all this time, I know the product can endure anything we throw at it so it’s a vital part of the team and what we’re doing.