The 2023 Ultra4 Europe season is ready to start with lots of exciting news that will make this year unique and adrenaline-pumping. It's time to put the dates of the events on your calendar and prepare to have an exceptional time with the toughest and most extraordinary offroad races in Europe. For the first time, 9 races will take place in 2023, divided into three championships!
Photography and Story by Paolo Baraldi
The season is going to be exciting for the drivers, the teams and also for the spectators. Get ready, Ultra4 is coming!
What to expect for 2023?
- European Championship with 5 races
- British Championship with 3 races
- Southern Europe Championship with 3 races
- Rallye Breslau enters in the Ultra4 Europe calendar
- For the winners of each championship and of each class the opportunity to participate in the King of the Hammers
- Which vehicles can participate? The classes of Ultra4 Europe
This year will be an epic race season! Everyone will want to take part!
The first King of the Hammers-style European race took place in Wales in 2012 and since then, Ultra4 Europe has evolved, grown and established itself as one of the leading race organizers in the Old Continent.
As happened in the United States with the King of the Hammers, also in Europe, Ultra4 introduced a new style for offroad racing and a new concept of offroad vehicles. After more than 10 years, Ultra4 racing style is now a solid reality in the large European offroad world.
If the big and powerful Ultra4 vehicles of the 4400 class are recognized as the "top guns" of this specialty, everyone can participate in the Ultra4 Europe races thanks to the different Vehicle Classes that the Ultra4 technical regulation allows to its events. This aspect is very important and truly puts all participants in each class of vehicles admitted by Ultra4 Europe on the same level of importance.
It is not necessary to have a big rig with a super-powerful V8 to take part in the Ultra4 Europe events. On the contrary, the different 4x4 categories are made so that everyone can come and race in the Ultra4 Europe competition format. It is obviously necessary to respect the basic rules of safety concerning your vehicle but be aware that a small Suzuki, an old Patrol will be just as welcome as the latest, most equipped prototype.
2023 European Championship
The European Championship is aimed not only at drivers who can go racing in different countries and take part in the whole season, but also at those who only wish to go and ride in part of the races. From North to South, from East to West, there is bound to be a race near you, take your seat in the 2023 Ultra4 Europe Championship.
- King of Poland (16-18 June)
- Rallye Breslau (25-30 June)
- King of Britain (4-6 August)
- King of France (8-10 September)
- King of Portugal (4-7 October)
2023 British Championship
Fans of Ultra4 racing style and offroad competition in the UK will be delighted to have three races on the schedule for 2023. The Genesis will open the 2023 season while The Redemption will be the last race of this campionship and will close the Ultra4 Europe season. In between, the King of Britain (also part of the European Championship) will take place in the Walters Arena (Wales) where it all started in 2012. Rich in emotion and adrenaline, this third edition of the British Championship will see the best UK drivers compete on three different terrains. From Stock cars to the big Unlimited and without forgetting the Winch Rally Raid, all are welcome!
- The Genesis (28-30 April)
- King of Britain (4-6 August)
- The Redemption (20-22 October)
2023 Southern Europe Championship
Organized by Jose Rui and Norte X4, the Southern European Ultra4 Championship takes place in Portugal and will delight all the drivers of the Iberian Peninsula. The level of the three races is high, the difficulties are matched only by the beauty of the landscapes and the King oF Portugal is considered the most beautiful Ultra4 race in Europe. Here are the appointments not to be missed.
- Gladius (3-4 June)
- King of Portugal (4-7 October)
- Norte x4 Challenge (11-12 November)
The legendary Rallye Breslau enters in the Ultra4 Europe calendar
Ultra4 and RBI Sport with Rallye Breslau have joined forces to write an important new chapter in the history of the international offroad scenes. This first step that Dave Cole and Alex Kovatchev have taken together is the prelude to a more assiduous and fruitful collaboration that will produce an incredible game changer in the offroad world in the future.
2023 will see the first step of this collaboration with the Ultra4 Europe teams who will participate in the Rallye Breslau in the Ultra4 dedicated category.
The winners of each championship category will have the opportunity to participate in the 2024 King of the Hammers
For everyone, Ultra4 Europe fans and Ultra4 Europe teams being able to be in Johnson Valley at the King of the Hammers is the dream of a lifetime.
For this reason, Hammerking have decided to offer to all class winners in both the European, British, and Southern championships the shipping costs to USA for King of the Hammers 2024.
Which vehicles can participate? All Ultra4 Europe classes
Not just 4400 Unlimited to participate in Ultra4 Europe races!
The 4400 class is the original class that started the King of Hammers race. Year after year these rigs have evolved to become increasingly powerful and performing. For their important technological development, the 4400 are considered by many people as the “Formula 1” of 4x4.
That said, it is important to know that it is possible to participate in Ultra4 Europe competitions also with other types of vehicles.
- 4400 UNLIMITED
These cars compete during the main King of The Hammers race on KOH Week. 4400 Drivers have to earn a spot to compete in King of The Hammers. These cars are not limited on tire size, engine or chassis design, other than to meet the safety requirements for the class. Unlimited cars must have a transfer case and be able to be driven in 4WD. These cars can be straight axle, or independent suspension (IFS - IRS). They are the ultimate and original design of the Ultra4 vehicle, capable of any terrain, any speed and no limits.
- 4600 STOCK
This class has been racing in Ultra4 since 2012. It is one of the 3 classes that races on KOH week during the 4WP Every Man Challenge. Currently, these cars do not have to qualify to race in the EMC race during KOH Week. At regional races, this class usually races with either the 4500 or 4800 cars.
The spirit of the stock vehicle is to allow OEM and aftermarket vendors the opportunity to showcase their products whilst providing a true driver's class experience that closely relates to street driven versions of the same vehicle. Fairly strick technical criteria makes sure that a Stock vehicle is competing in a level playing field of vehicles but still allows the driver to design his race car to the optimum for driving advantages whilst still being compliant within the rules.
. Stock OEM frame
. Factory engine
. Factory transmission
. 35” DOT approved tires
. Single 2.5 inch diameter shocks per corner
. Mechanical steering
- 4500 MODIFIED
This class has been racing in Ultra4 since 2012. It is one of the 3 classes that races on KOH week during the \Every Man Challenge. At regional races, this class, if large enough, races on their own or can be on the track with the 4600, 4700 or 4800 cars. As a vehicle, the class allows for significant modification of a standard vehicle and in some cases can be as capable as a 4400 vehicle in the suspension, engine and performance.
. Modified OEM chassis or OEM style chassis
. 2 -2.5 inch diameter shocks per corner
. Mechanical steering
. 37” DOT approved tires
- 4800 LEGEND
This class has been racing in Ultra4 since 2014. It is one of the 3 classes that races on KOH week during the 4WP Every Man Challenge. These cars do not have to qualify to race in the EMC race during KOH Week. This class has been one of the fastest growing classes in Ultra4 as older Ultra4 cars can enter this class as long as they meet the requirements. The vehicles follow the tradition or original technical format for the Utra4 vehicles that were racing in the beginning!
. Front mounted engines only
. Vehicle must contain 2 seats side by side
. Single shock per corner
. Max 37” DOT non-sticky tires
. Only solid axles allowed (not IFS or TTB)
- 4900 UTV
Utility Terrain Vehicles or UTV are by far the fastest growing class in Ultra4, light, fast, super nimble vehicles, this class has grown in popularity as the vehicles are easier to transport, own and maintain. Vehicle is defined as a standard production based "side by side" with powersports based belt driven drivetrain.
This class is growing as the variety of vehicle designs increases - it already has sub classes in Ultra4 which cater for the increase in engine sizes available, typically 800cc and 1000cc turbo and non turbo but with the newer 2000cc vehicles coming in, the sub classes will allow vehicles to compete at similar levels.
- WINCH RALLY RAID -WRR
The newest and very much the European class within the Ultra4 Classes, this class is only now in its third year of running and still being evolved. It was originally introduced as a class to entice Teams to take part in Ultra4 events, had a winch challenge capable vehicle and wanted to come and play. Vehicles that enter in Winch Rally Raid class are very capable vehicles, in their own right, full challenge spec, not always the fastest of vehicles, often diesel powered but a competitive vehicle none the less. This class gives them a more level competitive playing field whilst still getting the full effect of Ultra4 events.
WRR courses include terrain that requires a different mindset to traverse and this adds to the overall flavour of Ultra4 racing. Typically, WRR would be more at home doing the Rally Breslau Extreme class but competing with Ultra4, gives a totally different view of the speed aspects of offroad unlimited racing. Teams have made the transition from WRR to 4400 or 4800 class, altering their vehicles to fit the technical requirement for these classes, proving the diverse nature of offroad competition vehicles.
About Ultra4 Europe
In 2009 videos, pictures and stories from King of the Hammers started to arriving in Europe and immediately a large number of European off-road enthusiasts was in love for this kind of race. In the following years many drivers from Europe went to compete at KOH.
2012 was the year of the first Ultra4 race in Europe; the race took place in Wales and was called King of Valleys. For 2 years the King of Valleys represented Ultra4 in Europe.
In 2013, King of Portugal was added and in 2014 Ultra4 Europe was born with its championship composed of 3 races: King of the Mountains (IT), King of Valleys (UK) and King of Portugal (P).
Today, Ultra4 Europe is a huge reality in the European off-road world. Every year there is a championship and even if the race course is different from that in the Johnson Valley, Ultra4 Europe, it offers to its drivers very difficult and demanding terrain.
Due to the diversity of the competition terrain (rocks, mud, water, forests and dusty-fast tracks) it can be said that the Ultra4 Europe races are one of the most complete in Europe. As for King of the Hammers, the categories of Ultra4 Europe are: 4400 Unlimited, 4800 Legend, 4600 Stock, 4500 Modified and 4900 UTV. In addiction in Europe there is also the Winch Rally Raid class.
Official websites: www.ultra4europe.com
About Hammerking and King of the Hammers
The founders of Hammerking are the force that founded the National race series, Ultra4 Racing, and the toughest week of one-day, off-road races in the world, King of The Hammers. This amazing event takes place at the beginning of the year, on public lands in Johnson Valley, California.
The race has evolved from 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of beer, to more than 1000 team entries competing in front of more than 80,000 fans in person and 2 million viewers online. Due to the incredible success of King of the Hammers, Hammerking Productions created the Ultra4Racing Series, which has grown internationally. Each National Ultra4 series race is a qualifier for the King of the Hammers race for the upcoming year.
Hammerking was the establishing series of the Unlimited class, as we know them, the Ultra4 or 4400 race car. The defining characteristics of this class are the sturdy 4-wheel drive and unlimited builds. These cars come in all shapes and sizes, are capable of speeds over 100+ mph and contain gear ratios as low as 100 to 1 for technical rock crawling. Additional classes in Ultra 4 include the: Every Man’s Challenge which encompasses 4600 Stock, 4500 Modified and 4800 Legend’s cars. The fastest growing class is the 4900 UTV class and newest is the Electric Vehicle (EV) class. Motos and a Rock Bouncer’s Shootout are also held at KOH.
Ultra4 series drivers can showcase their unique capabilities, whether the driver has dreams of building a racecar in their garage during free time, or with factory-backed support. The series challenges drivers to compete in a wide variety of terrain from endurance desert racing, competition-style rock crawls, short course racing and more.
Currently Ultra4 has races in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. These races take place on both public lands and on private property around the world. Hammerking Productions has produced eight, full-length feature films chronicling King of the Hammers races, as well as the KOH live show yearly with all production in-house. These award-winning movies have helped shine a spotlight on the racing discipline around the world.
Official websites: www.kingofthehammers.com