Though the 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. as well – 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. Recently, FoMoCo announced that the Ford Ranger T1 – based on the last-gen pickup – will compete at the 2024 Dakar Rally, and now, it has revealed that the same model will also enter the 2023 Baja Spain Aragon race later this month.
Ford will once again partner with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) for this effort, with Nani Roma and Gareth Woolridge behind the wheel and Alex Haro and Boyd Dreyer serving as navigators for the grueling off-road race. This particular race will also mark the international competitive debut of the M-Sport NWM Ford Ranger T1, and it will help the parties involved benchmark performance and determine the development direction of the next-generation model.
FoMoCo will certainly field an experienced team at Baja Spain Aragon, as Roma himself has racked up 25 Dakar appearances, five top-three finishes, and two wins. Woolridge just claimed victory in the Kalahari-Botswana Desert Race and currently leads the 2023 South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC), too.
“We have been working very hard collaboratively with NWM for just over a year now and we’re finally seeing the elements fall into place for our rally raid team,” said Matthew Wilson, director of M-Sport. “We are ready to start competing with our comprehensively updated Ford Ranger T1+ and a pair of very accomplished rally raid drivers in Nani and Gareth. M-Sport and NWM have now laid down what appears to be a solid technical foundation with the support and input of Nani and Gareth. The next step is for us to start competing and developing ourselves as a team which starts with Baja Spain.”