Ford Ranger Raptor Faces Its Toughest Challenge This Weekend

Motorsport / Comments

We Finke it'll do pretty well too considering its track record.

Ford Performance is again going for off-road glory by entering a Ranger Raptor into Australia's most grueling and difficult off-road race: the Tatts Finke Desert Race. Just last November, the same stock Ranger Raptor won its class at the Baja 1000, and back again to drive it is father-son duo Brad and Byam Lovell of Lovell Racing. This is the first time Ford or Lovell Racing has ever entered the Finke, so while both can only go up, you know they're eyeing a first place in this race as well.

The vehicle will compete in the Production 4WD class and will be serviced and assisted by Walkinshaw Performance. Obviously, a ton of work goes into preparing for a race like this, and when the team prepared for the Baja 1000 last year, it spent months being built and prepped by Kelly Racing in Australia. If the same thing happens again, we imagine the drive from the shop to the race will be a lot shorter this time around.

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If you're not a serious off-roader, you've probably never heard of the Finke. Started in 1976, the race takes place in Australia's Northern Territory over two days and covers 284 miles of some of the harshest terrain imaginable. Its website says the race is held on Queen Elizabeth's birthday weekend yearly, though we imagine that may change due to her passing. It will take place this upcoming weekend, June 9-12.

"Bringing the Ranger Raptor to the Finke Desert Race is the next stage of Ford Performance's strategic global racing plan," explained Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. "Ranger is our flagship platform for global off-road racing, and after conquering the Baja 1000 in the Stock Mid-Size class, we decided the next stop should be back to Australia, where the production truck was developed, to tackle the toughest off-road race down under."

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Even though this race will be significantly shorter than the Baja 1000, the group isn't resting on its laurels, instead taking it just as seriously as last time. The vehicle is stock, besides some added safety equipment, but bringing back the father-son driving team was the best thing Ford could do to give themselves the best shot.

"The Finke Desert Race is one of the toughest events on the off-road calendar, and one that we've wanted to take on for a long time," said Brad Lovell. "The Ranger Raptor is an incredible machine, and we're confident that it will perform exceptionally well in the race. We're looking forward to pushing ourselves and the vehicle to the limit."

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A win here would be another huge achievement to gloat about for Ford Performance and just about anyone that buys a Ranger Raptor (Ford should also release a Baja Ranger Raptor if they have any idea what they're doing.)

It won't be at the top forever, though, because the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Chevy Colorado ZR2 have only recently been unveiled, and you know they'll be eager to steal as much thunder as possible away from the Blue Oval.

We're really excited about the Colorado ZR2 Bison. Made in conjunction with American Expedition Vehicles, it looks like a beast and may be the most likely candidate to dethrone the Ranger Raptor when it comes to rock-crawling abilities. As for desert-running, the new Taco TRD Pro might be underpowered, but it's packing in all the right places to try dethrone the Raptor. Game on.

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