FOX’s new test facility is fully operational in Ocotillo, California. The 5,000-square-foot compound is dedicated to the late fearless innovator, John Marking. FOX’s Marking Proving Grounds (MPG) is the ultimate location where FOX engineers test the latest technologies in real-world conditions and in real-time. Over the course of his 30-year career as an engineer at FOX, Marking developed 51 patents.
FOX engineers continue to advance performance shock technology in the same dirt where Marking honed his craft and enjoyed off-roading with his family. John used to say tuning suspension and driving an unlimited desert truck is done by the seat of your pants.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” veteran off-road racer Steve Olliges says about MPG. “I don’t think there’s another manufacturer that does anything like this.”
The project began with John Marking three years ago. He had a vision of building a test facility in the desert where FOX could develop products with the necessary resources. Working out of a compound located in the dirt is vital to pushing product advancement.
Bobby Smith, Director of Motorsports and protégé of John Marking, says, “Our premier technology that we’re investing a lot of time and effort into is Live Valve, which is a semi-active system. Being able to have a facility out here where we can come out, fly around the desert in the trucks, and then come back to the garage to go over data and really analyze what the system is doing is a huge, huge benefit.”
Racing applications and advanced suspension technology require a lot of fine-tuning. The MPG compound allows FOX engineers to test products efficiently by investing more time in the dirt and less time on the road. Every technology tested in the desert ultimately makes its way into a consumer-level product.
“It’s going to help with continually improving the Live Valve shock technology that FOX has been doing,” racer Rob MacCachren says. “Kudos to FOX and all the development the engineers have worked so hard on. This is badass. It’s bringing the technology and the speed of unlimited desert racing to another level again.”
“We showed everyone what these trucks are capable of doing,” FOX-sponsored driver Justin Lofton says. “I’m excited to see what we can learn with this new facility right here in our backyard.”
“It’s really the tip of the spear for all of our technology,” says Tom Fletcher, President of FOX Powered Vehicle Group. “This place is intended to be where engineering and racing come together. We have the terrain where we can get feedback from drivers, such as Justin Lofton, and input that information directly into our product to make us better.”
Marking Proving Grounds gives FOX engineers an advantage while developing new technology, like Live Valve for racing applications and collaborating with OE partnerships such as Ford and Polaris. The building’s location brings the most demanding off-road terrain directly into the lab.
Chief Executive Officer, Mike Dennison, proudly stated, “We’ve been in desert racing and innovating for the life of the company. And to finally have a facility here that not only embodies the legacy of who FOX is, people like John Marking specifically, but brings that race heritage and innovation together is so important to us. It’s so important to not only where we came from, but where we’re going.”