Ford teases Ranger Raptor Desert Racer
Tuesday 7th December, 2021 - 8:11am
Two of Ford’s top global executives have teased the possibility of creating a hardcore, competition-spec Ranger Raptor Desert Racer.
The blue oval brand recently revealed the Bronco Desert Racer in the US, a customer racing version of the reborn off-roader that has been created to compete in events like the Baja 1000. Speaking to media at the Bathurst 1000, Ford Performance global boss, Mark Rushbrook, and Trevor Worthington, the company’s vice president of Global Product Development, both said Ford was open to creating a new hero model in the Ranger line-up that could elevate the upcoming new-generation Raptor.
The Bronco Desert Racer (DR) is a turn-key racing version of the off-roader, powered by a Coyote-based 5.0-litre V8 engine (similar to what will power the Gen3 Supercar Mustang) and featuring suspension by motorsport specialists, Multimatic.
When asked by Torquecafe.com how much of the Bronco DR’s upgraded mechanical hardware could fit on the Ranger platform, Rushbook said: “There would be a lot that would transfer.”
Worthington, a former Ford Australia executive who played a key role in creating the Territory and BA Falcon, expanded on that answer, explaining that the Bronco and Ranger sit on top of the same basic vehicle architecture.
“There is a lot of that Bronco DR that is standard Bronco, and the underpinning of the standard Bronco and the underpinnings of the Ranger we’re just in the process of releasing is the same architecture,” Worthington said. “It’s developed by our team in Melbourne. So there’s a lot of opportunity.”
When the pair were probed further if they felt the Australian market could support a hardcore, racing-specification version of the Ranger Raptor in a similar vein to the Bronco DR, Rushbrook didn’t simply nodded.
Once again, Worthington expanded on the possibility of creating a Ranger Raptor DR, saying there was definitely a market for it.
“25 million people in the country the size of Australia, lots of desert, lots of places to have fun,” Worthington said.
Importantly, though, the idea of a turn-key racing Ranger Raptor capable of taking on The Finke or other off-road events, isn’t something he believes would be too expensive for Australia’s booming ute market. With the new Ranger Raptor expected to cost more than $75,000 and several Chevrolet Silverado and Ram models starting north of $100k, Worthington doesn’t believe there’s a limit to what Australians will spend for the right ute.
Crucially, however, he stopped short of confirming such a program currently exists.
“No, I don’t think there’s a cap [on price],” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s got to be sensible and work for the business. I’d love to think we could do something like that, no plans at the moment but we want to work on it.”
So while nothing is confirmed, the Ford executives with the power to make it happen have made it clear they would like to see a Ranger Raptor Desert Racer, or similar, so watch this space.