Ford Performance has confirmed it will be competing in the 2024 Dakar Rally with a specially-prepared Ranger Raptor, built in collaboration with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsports for the T1+ class.
The Ford Ranger Raptor has already proven itself in gruelling conditions after competing and winning the Finke Desert Rally this past weekend. For Dakar though, the tough truck will be highly modified to handle what is undeniably the toughest rally on the motorsport calendar.
Ford says it will be competing on a “finish and learn” basis, which essentially means it will be gathering plenty of data that can then be used for further development, with of course the aim to finish. Mark Rushbrook, global director at Ford Performance Motorsports, said:
“Our first time in Dakar will be a learning adventure that will help inform how we compete in the future. But as with all racing, we’re not just racing to win, we’re also racing to help build better products for our customers.”
The aim is to build the rally ute for the Rally Raid T1+ category, based on the previous generation Ranger. However, it will be powered by a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 like the current Raptor, with test races scheduled to begin in Spain and Morocco in July and October. Rushbrook added:
“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.”
The 2024 Dakar Rally takes place in Saudi Arabia from January 5-19.