After taking the Baja 1000, the stock is close Ford Ranger Raptor this weekend will test his mettle at the Finke Desert Race in the Northern Territory.
The Raptor will be driven by American father and son team Brad and Byam Lovell, who were also part of the team that drove the same car to win the Baja 1000.
“This compared to Baja, there’s less danger here so you can push hard,” said race driver Brad Lovell, who said he’ll drive the car primarily in four-wheel drive.
“Here the speed is higher because the terrain… is more consistent. It’s an endurance race, but it’s definitely more of a sprint race than the Baja 1000.”
The race itself will take place on 11-12 June and consists of two legs, each approximately 226km long.
Unlike the Baja 1000, where the ute has no competition in its category, there are few other vehicles in its class at the Finke.
Although it competes in the Production Class and has an unchanged powertrain, the racing Raptor has some key differences to the Rangers available to the general public.
Along with the requisite motorsport and safety kit inside, Finke racers feature proper off-road tires and tyres, additional lighting (but less than required for the Baja), plastic rear window, underbody protection and more bash plates solid, and 160 liters. fuel cell in tray.
“We played around with the sport mode setting on it, so when you put the shock into sport mode, it locks the damper out in full extension,” said Ford Performance and Special Vehicle Program manager Justin Capicchiano.
“So when you recover, it doesn’t roll over the wheel, it basically just holds it, forces the tire to the ground,” he added, although he dismissed plans to put this kind of recovery. mode in the production Raptor.
Other changes since the ute tackled the Baja 1000 include a different tow strap and changes to the fuel filter. It also runs with a back door here, which is not done in Mexico.
At launch, Ford said the Raptor’s inner frame had been strengthened so much compared to the regular car (and its predecessor) it was almost a unique platform.
Besides owners pushing hard on back roads, and the occasional onlooker interested in jumping their cars, it’s clear some of the reinforcements are meant to prepare the Raptor for the desert.
Under the skin, the road car’s suspension consists of aluminum upper and lower control arms, long-travel front and rear springs, and a refined Watt range equipped with coilovers at the rear.
There’s also a 2.5-inch Fox Live Valve position-sensitive damper linked to the drive mode. This shock – billed as “the most advanced ever on a Ranger Raptor” – is filled with Teflon-infused oil to reduce friction by a claimed 50 percent.
They offer maximum damping force in the last 25 percent of shock travel to protect against severe bottoming, such as during landing. Ford adds the system can also stiffen the rear dampers to prevent the Raptor from squatting under hard acceleration.
Power in the road-going Raptor comes from a 3.0 liter twin turbocharged V6 make 292kW power and 583Nm of torque, sent to all four wheels via a full-time four-wheel drive system.
The car will be serviced and managed by Walkinshaw Performance, which Ford says is a sibling of the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars team that recently switched from Holden Commodores to Mustangs.
As for what happens to this particular vehicle after it completes Finke, Ford says the end game is for it to become a museum.
“Whatever we do with it after this, it will never be destroyed,” Mr. Capicchiano said.
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