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Ford Ranger Raptor Baja 1000 Desert Racer Detailed

Ford has revealed its Baja 1000 prepped Ranger Raptor, with Australia’s Kelly Racing team working closely with Ford Performance to deliver a vehicle that’s Baja capable and powered by low-carbon biofuel. While fans of the brand were itching to see a Coyote V8 squeezed into the engine bay, the V6 turbo engine will best showcase the potential of these fuels in the most demanding environments and the capability of the engine as it stands in stock form as per the regulations.

“The Baja 1000 is a demanding event and a well-known proving ground for off-road vehicles,” said Brian Novak, Off-Road Motorsports Supervisor, Ford Performance. “We are excited to compete in this extreme event with Ranger Raptor.”

Related: 2024 Ford Mustang Revealed, Due in Australia Late 2023

Ford ranger raptor baja 1000 2

Image: Supplied | Ford Australia

In case you needed any explanation of what we’re so excited about we’ll quickly explain. The Baja 1000 is held on the Baja California Peninsula and is considered one of the world’s most gruelling and prestigious off-road races, attracting competitors from around the globe eager to take on its miles of treacherous desert terrain, steep drops and tough climbs.

What’s Special About This Ford Ranger Raptor?

The Ford Ranger Raptor Baja 1000 is built to the rules of SCORE’s stock class, which are meant to show off the capability of the stock street trucks. The full rules and regulations for this class can be found via this link, however, you’ll want to know the following rules as it relates to suspension, steering, brakes, fuel, and engine, transmission, and driveline components.

SCORE Stock Full Regulations include the following.

  • All suspension components must remain as delivered by the manufacturer.
  • Any wheels or tires can be used in accordance with the CR12 guidelines, wheel arches can be opened up to 2-inches for tire clearance and body lifts are allowed up to 3-inches with riser blocks at the rear.
  • Steering must remain stock, however, the brakes can be upgraded.
  • Any engine may be used if it is listed and delivered by the manufacturer, with stock blocks and heads user but can be modified. All internal parts are open and any exhaust may be used without smog.
  • The vehicle must weigh the stock delivery weight minimum.
  • The body (including dimensions) must remain stock.

“I’d heard the stories about this Ranger Raptor, but it wasn’t until I got my hands on it and drove the thing that I realised just how impressive it is. The powertrain, the chassis, and the suspension have been built to do Baja, so all we had to do was work within the rules of the class and fit the cage, the fuel system, and safety gear,” said Todd Kelly, team principal at Kelly Racing.

As fuel type is not a regulation, the Ranger Raptor will be powered and protected by Shell’s low-carbon biofuel blend which consists of more than 30% sustainably sourced bio components. This will demonstrate the future of bio-fuel in motorsport, something that’s being introduced into the world’s top racing series, including F1.

“Demonstrating low-carbon fuels in performance settings like the Baja 1000 can help bring biofuels and other clean energy technologies to scale more quickly, and help to make them more available and affordable for everyone,” said Cynthia Williams, Global Director of Sustainability, Compliance and Homologation at Ford.

Ford ranger raptor baja 1000 4

Image: Supplied | Ford Australia

So Who’s the Lucky Driver of the Ford Ranger Raptor at Baja 1000?

In the past, both the F-150 Raptor and Ford Bronco have successfully raced at Baja. We still remember the stock 2017 F-150 Raptor that finished on the podium before driving an additional 400 miles home, as well as the Bronco R race prototype that helped develop and verify features for the current production Bronco. Let’s not forget the legendary overall win back in 1969.

This time around it will be six-time SCORE-International Baja 1000 class winner, and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Brad Lovell, who runs one of Ford Performance’s key off-road racing teams, Lovell Racing. He recently captured the 2022 Ultra4 4600 class national championship driving a Ford Bronco.

A preview of the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor being built and put through its paces during its shakedown before the event can be viewed via the video at the top of this page.

Ford ranger raptor baja 1000 build progress 3

Image: Supplied | Ford Australia

Ford ranger raptor baja 1000 build progress

Image: Supplied | Ford Australia

Ford ranger raptor baja 1000 build progress 2

Image: Supplied | Ford Australia

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