A redesigned Ford Ranger is coming next year, and will include for the first time, at least in the U.S., a high-performance Ranger Raptor variant.
Both the new Ranger and Ranger Raptor have already been launched in global markets, one of which is Australia, where Ford’s local division has built an extra-rugged Ranger Raptor to tackle the 2022 Baja 1000 starting Nov. 18.
Ford partnered with racing outfits Kelly Racing and Lovell Racing to develop the truck, with the latter, led by talented off-road racer Brad Lovell, also set to field the truck at Baja.
Modifications made include a 3.0-inch lift kit, widened wheel arches, and Method Racing wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich off-road tires. The engine is the Ranger Raptor’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, which in stock form delivers a maximum 392 hp. Ford hasn’t said whether any upgrades have been made to the engine for the Baja 1000, though to highlight the automaker’s sustainability efforts, the truck will be fueled by a low-carbon fuel sourced from Shell. The fuel features a 30% blend of renewables, in this case a mix of ethanol and bionaphtha.
Ford entered specially prepared versions of the F-150 Raptor and Bronco Raptor in the Baja 1000 ahead of those vehicles’ respective market launches, so it’s no surprise the automaker is doing the same with the Ranger Raptor. The event has become sort of a final test for the automaker’s desert racers.
“The Baja 1000 is a demanding event and a well-known proving ground for off-road vehicles,” Brian Novak, Ford Performance’s head of off-road motorsports, said in a statement. “By entering this event, we’re building on the hundreds of thousands of kilometers of development testing and pushing the Ranger Raptor to new extremes.”
The redesigned Ranger is expected for the 2024 model year in the U.S. It is based on the same updated T6 platform that debuted in the Bronco, and North American versions will be built at the same Michigan plant where the Bronco and current-generation Ranger are built.
The Raptor version will come with increased power, as well as off-road suspension, off-road wheels and tires, and a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case and differential locks front and rear.