We know this might be a bit extreme for the street but we want it anyway. This is the Ranger Rally Raid Racer. They’re built for Dakar-style cross country racing by Neil Woolridge Motorsports out of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. To get this look they are diced and sliced and changed around a bunch, but that’s partly why we’re reviewing it. The FIA Production Vehicle class cross country racing takes in the likes of Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara midsize trucks. They use 5.0- and 5.6-liter V8s. The Ranger racer is bucking that trend by using a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. More on that in a bit.
Woodridge Motorsports will take on the top-tier cross country racing which requires the most sophisticated FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies vehicles. Says Woodridge, “This has given us the opportunity to design and develop an all-new Ranger to compete with the best in the world.”
The 2020 Ford Ranger body is widened with the EcoBoost in the middle of the chassis
First, the Ranger chassis is widened. This helps aid maintenance and also gives the driver and navigator more room inside. That’s because they need it. The engine isn’t under the hood but instead is farther back about mid-frame. This is done for weight distribution.
The Ecoboost V6 cranks out 400 hp with over 515 ft-lbs of torque. Neil Woodridge Motorsports has won Class T championships in both 2018 and 2019. Both of those were with racers running 5.0-liter Ford V8s. Though rated at higher horsepower than the current V6 they had a lower torque figure. So these 2020 Rangers should be at about the same level of competition.
This Ranger Raid Racer is the first ever to run an EcoBoost V6
The Ecoboost engines use twin air filter and dual intercooler design for maximum efficiency. A Motec electronic management system controls engine functions and fuel.
The FIA says that Ford and Woodridge Motorsports are the first in the world to race cross country with a turbocharged gas engine. “The introduction of turbo gas engines by the FIA represents an exciting new era for the sports and for Ford and NWM to be at the forefront of the development of this technology and setting an entirely new benchmark for the global cross country racing fraternity to follow.”
Sadev six-speed manual transmission and independent front/rear suspensions put EcoBoost power to the desert floor
Sadev out of France supplies the FIA-class SC924 six-speed sequential manual transmission. It also supplies the cross-country off-road steering rack and pinion unit.
Underneath the live rear axle is replaced with a fabricated independent unit. Both the transmission and differentials are positioned higher into the frame for clearance. The suspension has over 11-inches of travel. BOS dampers aid with so much suspension movement.
Six-piston Brembo calipers are used front and rear for superior braking capabilities. The fronts are air-cooled while the rears are water-cooled. BF Goodrich KDR2+ tires are used at the corners.
The 2020 Ranger looks more like a Ute than a pickup
With the rear cut off like it is the Ranger racer is more like an Aussie Ute than a pickup. These bodies are all carbon fiber so while they appear similar to production Rangers there has been a lot of leeways given to matching details of a production Ranger.
Since the season has already started and the EcoBoost V6s are still being tested the first two or three races will be with Ford V8s. By May three Rangers will be campaigned by Woodridge Motorsports with EcoBoost V6 power.