The all-new, next-generation Ford Ranger Raptor has been on sale in select international markets for some time now, and will soon launch in the U.S. for the very first time, too. However, The Blue Oval has also been out competing in an essentially stock Ford Ranger Raptor at various off-road racing events for months now, including the iconic Baja 1000, where it scored a class win, the Simola Hillclimb in South Africa, where it also earned a class win, and Australia’s Tatts Finke Desert Race, where the mid-sizer continued its winning streak just this past week. Now, Ford has announced that one of the Ranger Raptor’s next stops on this whirlwind tour will be the legendary Dakar Rally.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ford has never participated in the Dakar Rally – widely considered to be among the toughest off-road races on earth – but that streak will end next year as FoMoCo plans to team up with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) to take on the extreme test in the purpose-built previous-gen Ford Ranger Raptor in the Rally Raid T1+ category in Saudi Arabia next January.
Next year’s race will simply serve as a “finish and learn” session, however, as Ford Performance and M-Sport are currently developing an all-new, custom-built Ranger Raptor T1+ race truck for the 2025 Dakar Rally – where it plans to take the fight directly to the competition in an all-out effort to keep the truck’s winning streak alive.
“Our first time in Dakar will be a learning adventure that will help inform how we compete in the future,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “But as with all racing, we’re not just racing to win, we’re also racing to help build better products for our customers. To lead the charge at one of the ultimate global off-road events – the Dakar Rally – has been a goal of ours. We cannot underestimate the enormity of the challenge ahead of us. We need to finish and learn first with Ranger T1+ and partners like M-Sport and NWM, who bring their expertise to bear. Together, we can do amazing things in the sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula.”