It couldn't finish last year.
Before the 2021 Ford Bronco even made its public debut, the Blue Oval teased with a racing version called the Bronco R. Built as a tribute to the Bronco that won the Baja 1000, the Bronco R competed in last year's race. Unfortunately, the prototype race car failed to finish the grueling off-road rally. Ford was under a time crunch to build the car for the race, and it ended up overheating around the 580-mile mark.
With the Bronco's reputation on the line, Ford will return with the Bronco R to compete in the 2020 SCORE International Baja 1000. The car will be piloted by Baja champion Cameron Steele, Rebelle Rally winner Shelby Hall, and a team of veteran Ford Baja off-road racers, including Johnny Campbell, Curt LeDuc, and Jason Scherer.
Ford will use the Baja 1000 as the ultimate test for its Bronco Built Wild Extreme Testing regimen. This regimen helped develop the powertrain durability and final validation testing of the Baja Mode, which is offered on the production Bronco's Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes.
Though the Bronco R has many parts that differ from the production model, it is powered by a stock 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine from the Bronco, mated to the same 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Alongside the Bronco R, Ford will run a 2021 Bronco Outer Banks two-door pre-production model as a support vehicle.
"The Baja 1000 has long been an important proving ground for Ford vehicles, from the original Bronco to F-150 Raptor to the all-new Bronco," said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance motorsports. "Successfully competing here means our customers can have additional confidence that Bronco's powertrain, chassis, and new terrain modes are up to the challenge of one of the most grueling off-road races on the planet."
The 53rd running of the Baja 1000 begins today and ends late on Saturday. Ford hopes it will have a reason to celebrate this year.