A race-prepped but stock, street legal Ranger Raptor has not only finished the SCORE-International Baja 1000, one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious off-road races, but has come home in first place in the stock mid-size class.
The team then drove back to its home base in Riverside, California. The nearly-flawless run at the grueling desert test was powered by a low-carbon biofuel from Shell, which was fed seamlessly into the next-gen Ranger Raptor’s stock powertrain.
It traversed hundreds of miles of desert terrain with only basic maintenance and system checks alongside the refuel stops.
“This is the Baja 1000, one of the toughest off-road races in the world,” Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook said.
“This has been a global effort for Ford Performance from the beginning, with Ford Australia having done the design and initial development signoff, then shipping it to the States and working with all of our partners to pool all available resources for this common goal.”
The race team, managed by Baja legend Curt Leduc, saw incredible stints at the hands of the four driver/co-driver pairings, including Brad and Byam Lovell (Lovell Racing), and Jason Hutter and Paul Blangstead (Fire Guys Racing).
They were joined by Loren Healy and Eric Davis (Fun-Haver Off-Road), with ARB’s Andy and Danny Brown anchoring the race.
“There’s just so many people that came together to do this, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Brian Novak from Ford Performance said.
“Spending the night out there chasing the truck was something I’ve never experienced before, and it was such a different experience of going racing,” Ford Performance Australia motorsports engineer Brendan McGinniskin said.
“It was so cool and wouldn’t have been possible without all of the expert chase crews we had out here. Everyone pulled together and not even the few tense moments we had were going to stop us from crossing the finish line together.”
The Ranger Raptor race truck finished without any major incidents or repairs, and took the chequered flag in such good condition that the Ford Performance team decided to drive the vehicle back to its base in California following the event.
The move was their way of paying tribute to the 2017 Baja 1000 effort with a stock F-150 Raptor, which similarly drove home following the legendary off-road racing test. The Ranger Raptor also drove to Mexico from California before the event.
ARB managing director Andy Brown described the event as a bucket list item, giving Ford’s performance truck a massive wrap for its durability and capability.
“I can’t believe how reliable it was, how strong, how stout, how it handles, how it goes, how it stops. It’s just the complete package.”