Ford Authority

2021 Ford Bronco Finishes Third At Norra Mexican 1000 Rally

While 2021 Ford Bronco reservation holders impatiently await until the day they can get their hands on one of the first production models, news has steadily trickled in about how the off-road oriented SUV performs in the thick of it. Recently, a team of two Ford engineers pulled off an impressive feat in Mexico, finishing third at the Norra Mexican 1000 Rally in Baja with a nearly-stock Badlands racer.

Aside from a safety roll cage, fire equipment, and specialized seats and harnesses, the 2021 Ford Bronco piloted by Ford engineers Jamie Groves and Seth Goslawski retained exactly the same mechanical bits that will be equipped on production versions of the SUV. That means their Badlands model raced through the Mexican desert with a stock Ford 2.7L EcoBoost V6, 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, a Dana 44 Advantek M220 rear axle, and a M210 independent front suspension with Spicer Performa-Trak electronic lockers, which are also from Dana.

“Bronco has a long, successful history racing down here so we wanted to put the new one to the test as our final Built Wild Extreme Testing validation – and it exceeded our every expectation for performance across this treacherous environment,” said Groves. “This race is a key final pre-launch check box for what the Bronco can do.”

The Norra Mexican 1000 rally is a five day, 1000-mile sprint across the Baja California peninsula that began near the port city of Ensenada for the 2021 iteration of the event. The three member team earned their third-place finish on Sunday, April 25th, 2021. Brad Lovell, a three-time Norra winner and member of the 2021 Ford Bronco advisory panel, assisted the Ford engineers as a navigator and also drove the vehicle for a short stint.

“We had some stretches of hard-packed roads that were made for Bronco, topping 100 mph in some of the dry lake beds,” said Groves. “Baja mode was especially helpful in this terrain. It keeps shift points at just the right rpm to keep the turbos spooled up so power is there when you need it and brakes are more aggressive to slow quickly for rough terrain.”

This latest victory comes some time after early examples of the 2021 Ford Bronco were spotted tooling around in Moab, Utah, and other desert locations, and should help convince future Bronco owners of the vehicle’s capability. Reservations holders will be especially elated to hear of this news, as a significant portion of them opted for models similarly equipped to the one that netted the team their victory. The no-cost inclusion of Ford Off-Rodeo attendance for every Bronco buyer is icing on the cake, as it will no doubt be a valuable education tool for novice owners who have never piloted anything over rough terrain before.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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  1. royl

    This is a new world, that’s a fact. i can remember when we did not hand out participation trophies! When is 3rd place a big deal? The boot has seems to always finish in front of the Ford-one off, custom made bronco! When a bronco wins a major race (stock, as ordered+ required race equipment) I believe it would be time to say, “look at what you can do with a Bronco”, but to say you won’t finish first, or even second, is sad, the times they are a changing.

    1. Mj

      The 👢 came in 2nd , right behind another Ford 😁 , the Bronco came in 3rd

      1. Halligan1201

        Yep, 1st was a Ford Ranger

        1. royl

          I don’t understand the reply, isn’t this string about: Bronco finishing 3rd????? We could post every class, every place everyone finished, but that would have nothing at all to do with the Bronco. Some folks seem to believe both the ranger and the bronco, were slightly modified, right off the dealers showroom vehicles-they need more mental therapy. There are ZERO production broncos, the 3rd place bronco was HEAVILY modified over the one they someday will be delivered. As for the ranger, Heavily modified-maybe the body was ranger like, but not a “as purchase” with required race equipment added vehicle. With a company the size of ford going up against a tiny mfg, the ford should have placed, 1,2 and3, but the boot just keeps on kicking the broncos ass. One good thing, the bronco finished the race.

    2. real

      It was nearly a stock Bronco. You sound way too jeep to me. Bronco also got the top safety award this week, something no Jeep Wrangler will ever do.

      1. royl

        “nearly a stock bronco”, just like the one you purchased at your local ford dealer??? There are zero stock broncos, there are zero broncos for sale, there are many promised, but zero have been delivered. This was a hand built, one off, not production bronco. BTW, a production bronco, is a bronco that came off a ford production line. 3rd place, is 3rd place, celebrate 3rd place if that turns you on…..

      2. royl

        Real, I saw many mentions of the Bronco Sport (BS) winning a safety award, but not the bronco. I’m guessing the 3 cylinder, soccer mom mobile, does real well in crash testing, but I’m not able to find a real article regarding the bronco big top safety award, can you direct me to the award? thanks, I know you didn’t make this crap up, I just can find it.

  2. Master Sparky

    Still impressive for OTC mods.
    Add swingarm suspensions for next year and run both 2.7 & 2.3.
    We love it… Good job gentlemen!!!!

    1. royl

      I too would love to see a Stock 2.3/7sp manual running next year! Not just this race, but the Baja, and in some short courses in the South (lots of mud+hills etc.).


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