Ford Ranger Raptor to compete at iconic Finke Desert Race

Ford Performance is taking its race-prepared Ranger Raptor to Australia’s Tatts Finke Desert Race, just months after conquering the 2022 SCORE-International Baja 1000. The off road weapon will compete in the Production 4WD class.

Using the same Kelly Racing built vehicle that won its class at the Baja 1000 in the hands of Lovell Racing, the Raptor features modifications to vehicle and crew safety items, wheels/tires, extra lights, underbody/vehicle protection and a 160-litre fuel cell.

“Bringing the Ranger Raptor to the Finke Desert Race is the next stage of Ford Performance’s strategic global racing plan,” global director of Ford Performance Motorsports Mark Rushbrook said.

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“Ranger is our flagship platform for global off-road racing, and after conquering the Baja 1000 in the Stock Mid-Size class, we decided the next stop should be back to Australia, where the production truck was developed, to tackle the toughest off-road race down under.”

Father and son team Brad and Byam Lovell will pair up once again to drive the vehicle in the gruelling desert challenge. An Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer, Brad Lovell runs one of Ford Performance’s key off-road racing teams – Lovell Racing.

The Lovells are intimately associated with the Ranger Raptor after the running the team and driving it to the win at the Baja 1000. Beyond Lovell Racing’s competitive activities in SCORE and Ultra4, Brad participates in a myriad of development duties for Ford.

He’s worked on everything from conducting advanced off-road training to helping develop the Bronco, Bronco 4600 and Bronco DR.

“Byam and I make a great team, and I’m confident that our combined skills and experience will help us navigate the challenging terrain and finish strong. We know the truck is good, it ran faultlessly at Baja, and we’re aiming for more of the same at Finke,” Brad said.

Vehicle servicing, event management and logistical support will be provided to Ford Performance by Walkinshaw Performance, who have experience racing in the Production 4WD class at Finke and in the Australian Off-Road Championship.

Walkinshaw Performance is a sister organisation of leading Ford Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United. The Tatts Finke Desert Race is renowned as Australia’s toughest off-road endurance race.

The 2023 event will mark the first time that Ford and Lovell Racing will compete. Covering a total distance of more than 460km between Alice Springs and Aputula (Finke), the race attracts competitors from all over the world.

Known for its harsh conditions and challenging terrain, the event will run across the weekend of June 9-12.

News Desk
News Desk
The News Desk is the hub of Exhaust Notes Australia. It's from here that our team of writers journalists and photographers bring you the latest happenings from the world of motoring.

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