The Ford Bronco R race prototype made its debut at last year’s legendary Baja 1000 race, and the results of that outing were a mixed bag, to say the least. Since then, Ford has been working diligently to learn from their mistakes and give it another go at this year’s race, and now that opportunity has finally arrived, as the 53rd running of the SCORE International Baja 1000 kicks off today and ends late Saturday.
The Bronco R race prototype, joined this year by an all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks two-door preproduction support vehicle, will be piloted by Baja champion Cameron Steele and Rebelle
Rally winner and seasoned Baja racer Shelby Hall. They’ll be joined by a team of veteran Ford off-road racers including Johnny Campbell, Curt LeDuc, and Jason Scherer, who will rotate shifts.
The Bronco R race prototype shares its second-generation Ford T6 Platform and 2.7L EcoBoost V6
with the production Ford Bronco, Ford’s Le Mans-winning GT, and is available in Ford F-Series trucks and the performance-oriented Ford Edge and Ford Explorer ST SUVs.
Both Broncos deliver four-wheel torque via Ford transfer cases and Dana Spicer front differentials. The race version uses a Ford electronic shift-on-the-fly unit, while the preproduction Bronco uses the new Advanced 4×4 with Automatic On-Demand 4H engagement and 3.06:1 low ratio.
The Bronco R race prototype, designed and built by Ford Performance and Geiser Brothers, features a race version of the Bronco High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) with a redesigned independent front suspension and five-link race-prepped rear setup. Longer-travel Fox racing shocks with bypass dampers front and rear and Fox pneumatic bump stops are mounted at all four corners.
The first all-new 2021 Bronco to visit the Baja 1000 will also be on hand with the Bronco R team
– a two-door Outer Banks equipped with Ford’s Sasquatch Package featuring long-travel Bilstein position-sensitive shocks with internal end-stop control and 35-inch Goodyear off-road tires. It too has HOSS-tuned suspension for high-speed pitch control.
This year’s Baja 1000 race will also serve as a platform for the Bronco brand’s durability and validation process. Modeled after Ford F-Series Built Ford Tough durability testing, Bronco Built Wild Extreme Testing takes toughness even further off-road with real-world testing in the harshest environments including the Rubicon Trail, MOAB, and across the Johnson Valley desert, home of the King of the Hammers off-road competition.
Final validation testing for the Baja mode offered in the Bronco Terrain Management with G.O.A.T. Modes will also be performed at the race. It was designed in collaboration with Steele and fellow Bronco off-road racers to optimize throttle responsiveness using anti-lag strategies first employed in the Ford GT to keep the twin turbochargers spooled-up and then mapped a more aggressive shift schedule for maximum engine torque.