Ford Performance has announced its entry into the Dakar Rally, one of the toughest off-road races in the world, with a Dakar Rally Ranger Raptor. The company plans to compete in the 2024 Dakar Rally and beyond with extreme racing versions of the Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor.
Ford will collaborate with longtime partners M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) for vehicle development, servicing, and event management. The first step in their multi-year plan is to finish and learn from the race with the Ranger T1+ and the expertise of their partners.
The 2024 Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia from January 5 to January 19. Ford will field a purpose-built, high-performance Ford Ranger in the Rally Raid T1+ category. The vehicle will be based on the previous generation global Ranger and will feature a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
To prepare for the Dakar Rally, the Ford Performance team will undergo a series of development phases throughout 2023. They will also participate in test races such as Spain's Baja España Aragón and Morocco's Rally du Maroc in July and October, respectively.
Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, expressed the significance of this endeavor and acknowledged the challenge ahead. The team aims to not only race to win but also to gather valuable insights that can be used to improve Ford's products for customers.
Overall, Ford's entry into the Dakar Rally represents an exciting expansion of its motorsports endeavors into the global off-road racing scene, and the company is looking forward to the learning adventure that awaits them.
In preparation for the 2025 Dakar Rally, Ford Performance and M-Sport are collaborating to develop a new, custom-built Ford Ranger Raptor. This vehicle will be designed and constructed according to the T1+ class regulations of the Dakar Rally.
Malcolm Wilson, the managing director of M-Sport, expressed excitement about the opportunity to compete in the Dakar Rally with the Ranger Raptor. M-Sport has a successful track record in rally racing, particularly in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), where they have partnered with Ford. They are eager to bring the same level of focus, energy, and effort to the Dakar Rally with the Ford Ranger.
M-Sport has gained recognition as a leading developer and campaigner of the M-Sport Ford Puma HybridRally1 in the WRC. They are also engine builders for the Mustang GT3 program. Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) has been an essential part of the Rally-Raid Ranger's development since its early stages. They have built and developed units at their facility in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, specifically designed to compete in full Dakar T1+ regulations in the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) and other international events.