Ford has given the strongest hint yet of a racing program that will likely center on the Finke and Baja desert rallies for its new-generation Super-Ute Ranger Raptor.
Ford Australia may be working on a desert racing program for him 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor great
The showroom Ranger Raptor is now considered nearly race-ready after an agonizing off-road development program – and Ford has now given the first solid indication of a motorsport program for the new Ute.
The likely goal is to compete in the Finke Desert Race, a rugged desert race from Alice Springs to the remote town of Finke – and back – every June in the Northern Territory.
The Ranger Raptor could also compete at the Baja 1000 in North America, which is considered one of the toughest off-road events in the world.
“There is definitely interest. It’s just a question of when and where is the right time,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports.
Mr Rushbrook commented during an interview with Australian media to discuss Ford’s plans to have the seventh generation Mustang racing, including entering the Supercars Championship in Australia from next year under the new ‘Gen3’ racing regulations.
There have been hints of a motorsport program for the Ranger Raptor in the past, and several Ford insiders have suggested it journey you can give the green light for 2023.
While he paused short of an official confirmation, Mr. Rushbrook clearly hinted at a future racing program for the Ranger Raptor.
“At this time I cannot comment on any Ranger race plans. We will announce that when we are ready,” he said.
The Ranger Raptor has already ridden the rugged roads of northwestern Mexico’s Baja Peninsula — home of the Baja 1000 — a favorite proving ground for Ford’s engineers, who develop all new Raptor-badged road vehicles.
Engineers also test in harsh desert conditions near Alice Springs as well as at various high-speed off-road circuits across Australia.
The motorsport commitment likely reflects a similar effort in the US with the Ford Bronco, which in Raptor guise shares much of its mechanical package with the Ranger Raptor.
A race-ready Bronco was unveiled late last year when Ford confirmed its goal for its new competitive off-roader was to win the Baja 1000.
Ford Bronco racers also took first, second and third places in California earlier this year in a race called King of the Hammers – a combination of desert racing and rock crawling.
“You’ve seen what we’ve been doing with Bronco for the past several years. There’s platform continuity with the Ranger,” Rushbrook said.