“Built Ford Tough” will take on a new dimension when the Ford Castrol Cross Country Team debuts the highly anticipated, all-new FIA-class Ford Ranger later this year in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).
Announced to the world in February 2020 and due to make its highly anticipated debut this year, the brand-new cross country racing Ford Ranger is designed by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM), and will elevate the team to the highest level of the sport locally in the domestic series, as well as internationally. It will be the first vehicle in the world to compete under the FIA’s new regulations adopted early this year for turbocharged petrol engines.
Its exciting new engine comes in the form of the new-generation 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine. This is the same engine used in the legendary F-150 Raptor in the US, as well as in the exceptional Ford GT supercar that returned the American brand to the top step of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 – a fitting tribute to the historic victory of the legendary Ford GT40 at Le Mans 50 years earlier. In this application, it relies on fully programmable MOTEC electronic engine management, along with twin air filters with dual intercoolers.
The positioning of the engine has also changed significantly in the new design. Where the Mustang-derived 5.0-litre V8 engine used in the current vehicle is located in a traditional front-mounted layout, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 is mid-mounted well behind the front axle.
“By moving the engine back we achieve far better weight distribution, which will dramatically improve the balance and handling of the vehicle, particularly over rough terrain and jumps,” Woolridge explains. “The compact dimensions of the V6 engine has enabled us to optimise the layout even further than what would have been possible with the larger V8, and it’s also lighter which helps us reduce the overall weight of the new vehicle by 150 kg.”
Despite its smaller size and capacity, the EcoBoost V6 is credited with some impressive numbers. Out the box, it delivers over 400 horsepower (300kW), matched to a substantial 700Nm of torque – the latter representing a significant increase over the naturally aspirated V8, which will further improve tractability and acceleration.