Unless you’re a proper follower of the world-famous Dakar rally race, it may surprise you to learn that in all the years that the event has taken place, Ford hasn’t had an official entry. Just about every other manufacturer has tried its hand at the world’s toughest overland race, and earlier this year the top dogs at Ford decided that it was time to enter. The company would enter a Ford Ranger, although it’s not the new-generation version - yet. The 2024 Dakar race in Saudi Arabia will be used as a test & tune event with the only plan being to enter, race and gather as much data as possible with the end goal being a finish at the very least. Anything that represents a good race will just be a massive added bonus. The competition version of the Ford Ranger is as extreme as it looks, and under the skin, it has all the right bits in all the right places to get the job done. While the Ranger is new to most people, locals will no doubt recognise it thanks to its success in the South African Rally-Raid Championship where it’s campaigned by Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer under the Ford SA/Castrol and NWM banners. The latter is quite important, the acronym stands for Neal Woolridge Motorsports and it’s the company that is responsible for building these Rangers. With partners M-Sport and Ford Performance on board, the Ranger has all the right people involved to pretty much guarantee a good attack on the Dakar route. "To lead the charge at one of the ultimate global off-road events – the Dakar Rally – has been a goal of ours,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “We cannot underestimate the enormity of the challenge ahead of us. We need to finish and learn first with Ranger T1+ and partners like M-Sport and NWM, who bring their expertise to bear. Together, we can do amazing things in the sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula.”
Take a look at the YouTube video that shows off this proper stunner of a purpose-built rally raid Ford Ranger that will compete in the 20204 Dakar race in the T1+ category. Here you see it in its development camo being performance-tested, and if what you see here is anything to go by this will be a strong contender in the gruelling overland race. If you want summin' built right, have it done in South Africa: Ford Performance, M-Sport and NWM going to Dakar | Ford Performance South Africa
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