FORD Australia has assisted US global motorsport arm Ford Performance in creating a race-prepped Australian Ranger Raptor for the Baja 1000 endurance event on November 18, 2022.
Its 292kW/583Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 runs on a RON 98 minimum octane biofuel blend, but otherwise uses the Ranger Raptor’s standard mechanicals with some modifications to meet the demands of desert racing.
While Ford Australia hinted at a potential Raptor-based factory motorsport effort at its local launch, the Baja news comes out of the blue and demonstrates how Ford Australia is able to diversify its motorsport efforts into off-road desert racing, on the place itself the top of the scale.
In order to provide a race-ready competition car just weeks after the official launch of the Ranger Raptor, Ford Australia has clearly been working on the race car for some time.
The SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) International Baja 1000 is one of the most difficult off-road races in the world, requiring proper car tuning.
Ford Performance has dictated that the Ranger Raptor Baja vehicle will run on low-carbon biofuel, with the desire to demonstrate the potential of this fuel in the most demanding conditions.
Australia’s Kelly Racing worked with Ford Performance to create a Baja-ready Ranger Raptor in conjunction with American company Lovell Racing to develop the truck and race it in Baja.
Lovell Racing, one of Ford Performance’s key off-road teams, is led by multiple off-road champion and Off-Road Hall of Famer Brad Lovell.
Ford said the Ranger was chosen for race car training because it has long been a global icon for the company.
The vehicle in these images was built and tested in Australia before being shipped to the United States for final development and testing prior to the desert endurance race.
“By participating in this event, we’re building on hundreds of thousands of miles of development testing and pushing the Ranger Raptor to new extremes,” said Ford Performance Off-Road Motorsports Supervisor Brian Novak.
“The Baja 1000 is a demanding event and a well-known proving ground for off-roaders,” he added.
“We are excited to compete in this extreme event with the Ranger Raptor.”
Held on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, the Baja 1000 is considered one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world, attracting competitors from around the world who are eager to tackle its vast, treacherous desert terrain, steep descents and tough climbs.
Both the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Bronco have successfully raced at Bach in the past.
Notable achievements include the Ford Bronco, which became the first all-wheel drive production car to win the Baja 1000 outright, the stock F-150 Raptor reaching the podium in 2017 before driving 400 miles home, and more recently the development of the current production Bronco through the Bronco R racing prototype in 2020.
Ford Performance believes that the Ranger Raptor is up to the challenge of the Baja 1000, and has built its entry under the rules of the standard competition class, which is designed to demonstrate the capabilities of production off-road vehicles.
Using Shell’s “low-carbon” biofuel blend, which it claims contains more than 30 percent sustainable ingredients, aims to “facilitate the faster scale of biofuels and other clean energy technologies, and make them more affordable and accessible to everyone “, according to Cynthia Williams, Ford’s global director of environmental development, compliance and homologation.
Alternative fuels, such as the biofuel blend used in this racing Ranger Raptor, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel equivalents on a source-to-wheel basis that includes emissions from both production and fuel combustion.
By 2050, Ford has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral in all its vehicles, operations and supply chain worldwide, and by 2035 to meet science-based intermediate carbon emissions targets.