The Ford Ranger Raptor is no joke. It might be the smallest Raptor-branded product Ford makes right now, but make no mistake, it can still traverse brutal desert trails and high-speed dunes just like its bigger Bronco and F-150 siblings. Nothing proves that more than the truck's recent finish at the Baja 1000.
Ford Performance's North American arm teamed up with the company's Australian division to field a Ranger Raptor at this year's Baja 1000 in Mexico. The engine, transmission, and the rest of the driveline were left unmodified to prove to the world the toughness of the Raptor's power plant, while the rest of the truck was race-prepped by Australian firm Kelly Racing to ensure it could take the beating provided by the 1000's impossibly challenging roads.
The truck, driven by four driver/co-driver duos over the 828-mile event, won the Stock mid-size class, in which it was the only entry. Ford says the truck was the quickest of all competitors in the Stock classes, not having suffered any major incidents or repairs throughout. The Ford Performance team was so confident in the vehicle's health post-finish that it actually drove the Raptor back to base in California. By our math, that's about another 185 miles of driving.
“This is the Baja 1000, one of the toughest off-road races in the world,” Ford Performance Motorsports director Mark Rushbrook said in a statement. “It’s a key providing ground for Ford Performance for our vehicles to earn the badge of Raptor. This effort has been a global effort for Ford Performance from the beginning, with Ford Australia having done the design and initial development signoff, then shipping it to the States and working with all of our partners to pool all available resources for this common goal. It takes a great truck and it takes great people. We’ve proved that we have both of those on a global level.”
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