Trucks & SUVs

Ford Turned the Ranger Into a Manual Diesel Racing Truck

Even without an official US Raptor, it’s not uncommon to see the Ford Ranger geared up for off-road adventures. Customizers and tuners like Hellwig and Roush have done so, as has Ford’s own Performance Division. However, not all pickup truck competitions involve off-roading; some are done on paved roads or tracks. And as Ford of Thailand recently demonstrated, the Ranger fits in there, too.

How Ford of Thailand made a Ranger racing truck

As in the US, Ford Rangers in Thailand are often modified for off-roading, The Drive reports. However, there’s also a racing series, the Thailand Super Series, which takes place on paved tracks. The Super Series includes a truck class called Super Pickup—and Ford of Thailand wanted to compete.

The Ford Thailand Racing Ranger racing truck isn’t based on the Raptor version, which is sold in Thailand, Motor Trend reports. But it is based on a production Ranger, rather than a custom-built chassis. Naturally, though, it’s been modified quite a bit from stock.

Sandy Stuvik with the blue-and-white Super Pickup Ford Ranger racing truck
Sandy Stuvik with the Super Pickup Ford Ranger | Ford Thailand

Under the Super Pickup Ford Ranger’s hood is a 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which isn’t available in the US. The stock engine makes 194 hp and 347 lb-ft, DriveTribe reports, though the FRT’s output isn’t known. The racing truck’s driver, Sandy Stuvik, says the engine is “’ boosted as much as we can,’” DriveTribe reports. As with the standard non-US Ranger, the power goes to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual.

The FTR Ranger also has a number of other racing-focused features. Underneath it has Ohlins suspension, Hankook tires, and Wilwood disc brakes. This Ford Ranger also features a Raptor grille for better airflow, a front air dam, a rear diffuser, and an adjustable rear wing. It’s also wider than the standard truck with a lower ride height. And inside is a full roll cage, a digital racing dash, and a Racetech seat.

The Thai Ford Ranger racer seems like the real deal

As of this writing, the FTR Ranger hasn’t actually raced for real. It’s scheduled to hit the pavement in anger later in 2020.

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But one YouTube channel, CB Media, managed to get a closer look at the racing truck during testing at Thailand’s Bira Circuit. The video host, Chadbee, is friends with Stuvik, who also races an Audi R8 in the Super Series. Warning: mildly spicy language.

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Unfortunately, Chadbee couldn’t get behind the wheel of the racing truck. And the Ranger suffered several engine issues during testing. But based on the footage, it’s shaping up to be a genuine competitor.

Can we do something similar in the US?

A blue 2020 Ford Ranger XL SuperCrew drives on a paved snowy mountain road
2020 Ford Ranger XL SuperCrew | Ford

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With the US-spec Ford Ranger having neither a diesel engine nor a manual transmission option, we can’t really recreate the FTR build here. At least, not without a major engine and powertrain swap.

Red Level 2, orange Level 3, and blue Level 1 Ford Performance-modified Rangers in front of a mountain range
Ford Performance Ranger Packages (left-to-right: Level 2, Level 3, Level 1) | Ford

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That being said, there’s no reason you couldn’t fit your own Ranger with upgraded brakes, suspension, and similar aerodynamic features. The same goes for a roll cage and racing seat. And Ford Performance’s $825 kit bumps the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to 315 hp and 370 lb-ft. Plus, it’s emissions-legal in all 50 states.

After all, we can’t have the SVE Syclone and Saleen F150 Sport have all the fun, can we?

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