Ford, in partnership with Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) and Castrol, has taken the covers off their 2021 FIA-class Ford Ranger.
The highly-modified bakkie will compete in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) later this year, and was designed and manufactured by NWM.
“Ford’s involvement in the South African Cross Country Series is an important element of our Ranger marketing initiatives, and it’s particularly exciting to launch a brand new model to compete in the premier category so the team can challenge for overall wins and championship titles,” said Neale Hill, MD of Ford South Africa.
This specially-built Ranger complies with FIA regulations in order to compete in premier races.
Its body consists of a custom carbon fibre shell and it doesn’t have a bin at the rear.
Furthermore, it has a wider chassis and BOS suspension.
The centre of gravity is optimised through putting most of the heavy components as low as possible and the spare wheels under the car; while weight distribution is improved to better handle the battering that is cross-country racing.
Below the hood sits a 3.5-litre, V6, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine – the same one from the Ford GT – that generates 300kW of power and 600Nm of torque.
The motor is mated to a compact SADEV 6-speed transmission, which is now 10kg lighter than its predecessor, while the entire drivetrain has been redeveloped to be lighter and easier to work on.
Another benefit of the FIA-class specification is the integration of BOS hydraulic jacks into the chassis.
These make it possible for the crew to raise and lower the vehicle at the push of a button.
The South African Cross Country Series is one of most competitive cross country series in the world, said the organisers.
The national championship comprises seven events, caters for production and special vehicles, and is run in accordance with FIA and MSA guidelines.
For the 2021 season, the same driver pair as the year before will be leading the Ford Castrol NWM team.
Lance Woolridge, 2018 and 2019 Class T cross country champion, along with Elvéne Vonk, rally co-driver champion, will be racing together.
In the second bakkie, Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer will be taking the reigns and aim for a podium finish.
The 2021 SACCS calendar is as follows.
|1||26-27 March||Dullstroom 400||Dullstroom, Mpumalanga|
|2||21-22 May||Sugarbelt 400||Eston, KwaZulu-Natal|
|3||18-20 June||Toyota 1000 Desert Race||Upington, Northern Cape|
|4||13-14 August||Vryburg 400||Vryburg, North West|
|5||1-2 October||Nampo 400||Bothaville, Free State|
|6||13 November||Parys 400||Parys, Free State|