Despite successfully building and racing a class 11 stock VW nick-named the Slug Shark and creating wildly popular video content with his “Class Fun” long travel bug he calls the Megalodon, Blake Wilkey still had an itch to race off-road with the big boys. In keeping with the theme of Volkswagen vehicles named after sharks, it’s appropriate the biggest baddest build to date would be named after the most fearsome of all (fictional) sharks, JAWS.
“The goal was always to have a trophy truck and race at the highest level but I was also a buggy dork so we cross pollinated the two and this is what we got.”
Engineered with Kevin Butts of Quixotic Motorsports it took fourteen months to complete. With a faithful customer already stepping up to buy one sight unseen, but without the floor space to build two simultaneously, Blake and Kevin made duplicates of everything at the same time to assemble the second one after proving the design with the first.
Complete with a full chromoly tube chassis, long travel suspension utilizing massive King shocks and a Magnusson supercharged 427 LS motor all in the tight confines of a bug shell proved challenging from a packaging perspective to build. Driver and co-driver are snug but comfortable and vital cooling components occupy copious amounts of remaining precious space.
Three donor bugs were cut, nipped, tucked and welded back together with as much as twelve inches added in areas to provide a larger platform to engineer the chassis. From this tweaked metal shell, a repeatable fiberglass body was molded. With bulbous fenders front and rear, it appears unlike distant VW cousins racing in other formulas like class 5. Visually JAWS has more of a classic bug profile, but the shoulder lines are exaggerated almost to the point of making the car appear like a giant remote control toy. Having witnessed JAWS shred the desert, devour whoops and fly off jumps it definitely lives up to it’s man-eating namesake.
Always mindful of his strategic social media presence, Wilkey aims to enter the car at “races with the highest engagement, big races with big audiences”. Realizing he will have a steep learning curve to step into the ring at such a high level, Wilkey and Butts are prepared to develop the car while staying true to the spirit of a garage-built budget program. “Everybody roots for the underdog and that’s kinda what we are”. Wherever the big purple bug takes him Blake Wilkey is adamant that having fun will be the primary goal.
Chassis: Quixotic Motorsports designed chassis. 4130 Chromoly materials from Industrial Metal Supply.
Dimensions: Track width 92”, Wheel base 123”, Weight 5,317 pounds wet weight.
Tires: X-Comp 40” A/T Tires.
Wheels: Method Race Wheels 17” 103 series
Fiberglass: Full Custom one off FiberwerX VW bug body. Fenders, hood and sidesteps designed by Quixotic Motorsports.
Engine: Texas Speed 427 LS based engine with a Magnuson 2650 Supercharger tuned by Dune Hoon.
Exhaust: Horsepower Church full custom stainless exhaust using a Flowmaster exhaust.
Transmission: Magnum Offroad built TH400 transmission. B&M racing composite shifter controls.
Shocks: King Shocks with custom SDG suspension tune. 24” of travel up front and 31” in the rear.
Rear end: Camburg 4 inch rear end housing with 3.25” snouts and Ralls billet lower pivots, Camburg 6.5 bolt pattern hubs
Brakes: Wilwood brakes and rotors front and rear. Wilwood master cylinders, pedals and hand brake cylinder attached to a Lux Billet / Shreddy handle.
Rod ends: FK Rod ends at all pivot points.
Lighting: Rigid Industries lighting all the way around.
Fuel Cell: Pyrotec Fuel Cell filled with VP Racing 110 fuel
– Massive 12” digital dash.
– Mob Armor mounted iPad enclosure for the co-driver GPS.
– Lowrance GPS.
– Rugged radio 6100R intercom and M1 race radio for communications.
– Rugged fresh air system for driver as co dog.
– Pro Alpha seats with 6x3x2 harness.
– Switch pro’s button panel system. Wired by Cowboy Troy.
– Dual Full Throttle Batteries.
– Maxima Racing Fluids in the engine, transmission, brakes, coolers, rear end, power steering and more.
– Speed strap spare tire Y straps and limit straps with Savage UTV and Speed strap tool cases.
– ZRP billet machined aluminum tie rods and sway bar links.
– 74 weld sway bar arms controlling a 300m TCS sway bar.
– LSX concepts supercharger double sheer belt tensioner with a Griptec supercharger pulley running Napa HD gates belts.
– S&B air filter
– AGM manual jack for spare changes.
– Motion Raceworks engine breathers and steam port systems.
– Plans to Steel-it coat the chassis after testing and first couple races.
– Wrapped by Jax Wraps with Tinybot vinyl.