Ford Ranger Raptor survives Baja 1000

Ford Ranger Raptor survives Baja 1000

The Ford Ranger Raptor has completed its first Baja 1000 desert race in Mexico after literally ending up in a class of its own.

The new-generation Ford Ranger Raptor is the only street-legal vehicle to survive the 2022 Baja 1000 desert race in Mexico.

The Ford Ranger Raptor was the only vehicle in the Production Intermediate category, meaning it only had to complete the grueling event to win its classification from a field of 276 entrants.

However, the Ford Ranger Raptor outlasted two other street-legal vehicles in different categories.

The other two vehicles in the Stock categories – a Lexus LX600 and a Toyota LandCruiser – did not finish the event.

The Ford Ranger Raptor in the Baja 1000 has been modified for racing, as permitted by the regulations, including a roll cage and additional underbody protection.

Two spare tires and a 160-litre fuel cell were mounted in the charging cradle.

Braking hardware in the race truck was the same as the new Ford Ranger Raptors, but the team installed more aggressive brake pads – and special brake fluid – better suited to hot temperatures and repeated high-speed use.

A rear-facing safari snorkel, not yet an option on the Ford Ranger Raptor in Australia, was fitted to minimize dust pickup.

However, the 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbocharged petrol engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, Fox shock absorbers and BFGoodrich tires are the same as in the standard showroom vehicles – with the exception of a Motec engine management computer.

“It’s a stock engine, a stock transmission, a stock powertrain in this truck. It was just spotless,” said Brian Novak, Motorsports Supervisor, Ford Performance, in a media statement.

US Off-Road Champion driver Loren Healy, one of four drivers of the right-hand drive Ford Ranger Raptor – including Brad Lovell, Jason Hutter and Andy Brown – said in a media statement:

“From the moment we first got in the truck the track was just so tough and so technical and there were dead vehicles out there. We just picked our way, stayed patient. I’m just so thrilled to be here. It’s always great to see the sunrise in a race car.”

Despite these extensive modifications, such vehicles are considered “stock” under Baja 1000 rules and are most closely related to their showroom counterparts when compared to the “stadium” trucks that dominate the event.

While the winning vehicle completed the 2022 Baja 1000 in 19 hours and two minutes, the Ford Ranger Raptor crossed the finish line in one day, 11 hours and 43 minutes and, according to preliminary results, finished 117th overall out of 276 participants.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motor editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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