Ford Performance has announced its intention to compete at the 2024 Dakar Rally with a purpose-built racing version of the previous-generation Ford Ranger Raptor.
The Dakar Rally is the “pinnacle of off-road racing” according to Ford Performance global director of motorsport Mark Rushbrook, who spoke to CarExpert.
The latest iteration of the infamous off-road rally will kick off on January 5, 2024, and be held in Saudi Arabia. The Ford Ranger Raptor racer set to compete at the 2024 Dakar Rally will be in the Rally Raid T1+ class.
It’s completely unrelated to the almost stock Ranger Raptor that just topped its Production 4WD vehicle category at the 2023 Finke Desert Race.
The Ranger Raptor T1+ racer will be powered by a version of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that features in the current-generation Ranger Raptor.
At this stage power outputs haven’t been confirmed, but the current Australian-specification Ranger Raptor produces 292kW of power and 583Nm of torque.
This Ranger Raptor T1+ racer has been developed by Ford Performance in collaboration with UK-based M-Sport and South African-based Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM).
The team has implemented a series of development phases through 2023 and continues to test the Ranger Raptor T1+ racer.
Test races before the 2024 Dakar Rally are expected to include Spain’s Baja España Aragón and Morocco’s Rally du Maroc in July and October, respectively.
Ford hasn’t announced who will be driving the Ranger Raptor T1+ rally racer at the 2024 Dakar Rally just yet, but Mr Rushbrook said “some of the drivers have been selected”.
Ford Performance is going into the 2024 Dakar Rally with a “finish and learn” mentality and will return in 2025 with an all-new, custom-built Ranger Raptor built to T1+ class regulations.
It’s at the 2025 Dakar Rally the Blue Oval intends to “go back and win”.
At this stage it’s unclear what competition Ford will have in the T1+ category at the 2024 Dakar Rally.
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