To develop the truck and program, Ford Performance has partnered with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) for vehicle development, servicing and event management, the company said.
“To lead the charge at one of the ultimate global off-road events – the Dakar Rally – has been a goal of ours,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “We cannot underestimate the enormity of the challenge ahead of us. We need to finish and learn first with Ranger T1-Plus 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.”
Ford’s entrant into the 2024 Dakar Rally, taking place Jan. 5-19 in Saudi Arabia, will be a purpose-built, high performance Ford Ranger racing in the Rally Raid T1-Plus category.
The joint Ford Performance, M-Sport and NWM team has implemented a series of development phases through 2023 and continues testing with the Ranger T1-Plus, the group said, based on the previous generation global Ranger, with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. Test races are expected to include Spain’s Baja España Aragón and Morocco’s Rally du Maroc rallies in July and October, before tackling the Dakar Rally next year.
“Our first time in Dakar will be a learning adventure that will help inform how we compete in the future,” said Rushbrook. “But as with all racing, we’re not just racing to win, we’re also racing to help build better products for our customers.”
For the 2025 Dakar Rally, Ford Performance and M-Sport are developing an all-new, custom-built Ranger Raptor T1-Plus designed and built to Dakar’s T1-Plus class regulations.
“The Dakar Rally is truly among the pinnacle of global off-road racing events,” said Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director. “We’ve achieved great success over the years with Ford in FIA WRC rally racing and can’t wait to apply this same level of focus, energy and effort to competing with Ranger in Dakar.”