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Ford South Africa unveils F-150 Raptor-powered Ranger rally raid ute

By Daniel Wong, 25 Feb 2020 4x4 Motorsports

Ford F-150 Raptor-powered Ranger rally raid ute revealed news

Carbon-fibre bodied racer to compete in premier class of the South African Cross Country Series.

The Ford Castrol Cross Country Team of South Africa has recently pulled the covers off its all-new 2020 contender for the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS), a turbo V6-powered Ford Ranger rally raid ute.

Built and campaigned by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) under the Ford Castrol Cross Country Team banner, the carbon-fibre bodied rally ute is a clean-sheet design that is built to compete in the series’ premier Production Vehicle class, the FIA-class.

According to Ford South Africa, the FIA-class category is catered for the most sophisticated rally vehicles, as raced in the Dakar Rally and FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

While the Ford-NWM partnership has so far yielded two SACCS Class T championships, in 2018 and 2019, with Mustang Coyote V8-powered Rangers, the FIA-class Rangers will be using the same 3.5-litre turbocharged Ecoboost V6 used in the F-150 Raptor and Ford GT supercar.

Peak power from the V6 engine in the FIA-class Ranger is rated at 298kW, lower than the F-150 Raptor’s 335kW, though torque output is bumped up to 700Nm as compared to the stock 691Nm.

With a shorter length, NWM says the engineers were able to fit the engine further back in the chassis to achieve the ideal mid-mounted position for optimal weight distribution than they were able to with the Mustang’s 5-litre V8 engine in the Class T racers.

French-based SADEV supplies both the FIA-class Ranger’s six-speed sequential manual and specialised steering rack that is designed for cross country off-road racing.

Unlike the Class T racers, the FIA-class Ranger swaps out its solid rear axle configuration for fully independent front and rear suspension, which are complemented with dual high-performance BOS dampers that allow 280mm wheel travel.

To suit the higher speeds FIA-class contenders compete in, the Ranger comes fitted with six-piston Brembo brakes all round and BF Goodrich KDR2+ tyres.

With the first race of the SACCS set to take place this weekend, NWM says it would campaign an upgraded version of its Class T V8 Rangers for the first two races, while testing and development for its V6 contender is underway.

The team expects to introduce the FIA-Class Ranger by the second or third race in April or May, with a full line-up of three FIA-class Rangers ready by mid-year.