Exact specification details remain shrouded over the latest announcement of Ford’s commitment to contend the Dakar rally from 2024 onwards. After their first foray, the T1+ Ranger Raptor bakkie may be endowed with a new engine for the 2025 event in the Arabian dunes.
A Ford factory team is going to the biggest, baddest race of them all; the Dakar Rally. With the collaboration of Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) and M-Sport, Ford Performance will be entering a Ranger Raptor bakkie into the T1+ category for 2024 with the goal to ‘finish and learn’ – thereafter, a new and upgraded model will grace the Dunes of Arabia, potentially with another motor.
“Our first time in Dakar will be a learning adventure that will help inform how we compete in the future,” said Rushbrook. “But as with all racing, we’re not just racing to win, we’re also racing to help build better products for our customers.” – Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports
The current vehicle, prepared by Neil Woolridge Motorsport which contends the local South African Rally circuit is outfitted with Ford’s 3,5-litre V6 EcoBoost motor churning out 300 kW and 600 N.m to meet strict FIA power and torque curves. Ford Performance mentioned that this vehicle would contend the 2024 event wearing the previous generation model’s aesthetics while the following year, in 2025, an all-new, custom-built Ranger bakkie would take to Saudi Arabia.
As it stands, Rushbrook has not confirmed the powertrain that will be employed in either the 2024 or the all-new 2025 Ranger T1+ bakkie. When asked what differences the SARRC T1+ Ranger would have in comparison to the one expected in Saudi Arabia in January, Rushbrook mentioned the entire bakkie would be taken to the next level. For context, the reigning champion that is Toyota Gazoo Racing’s T1+ Hilux employs a twin-turbocharged 3,5-litre V6 from the latest Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport. Total outputs on the GR DKR Hilux T1+ are 298 kW of power and 660 N.m of torque.