As The Blue Oval prepares to fully transition over to the redesigned Ford Ranger Raptor to spearhead its off-road racing efforts, the outgoing Ranger T1+ pickup continues to enjoy success now, a few years after it was originally revealed, most recently scoring a third-place finish at the Rally Du Maroc in Morocco. That trend continued recently as the 2023 South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) wrapped up this past weekend in a big way at the Waterberg 400 in Koedeskop in the Limpopo Province, too.
There, drivers Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer earned their first overall Production Vehicle championship, along with the premier Class FIA T1+ title after claiming victory at that race in their Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) Ford Castrol T1+ Ranger, all while their teammates – Lance Woolridge and Kenny Gilbert – followed them across the finish line. Boyd had already wrapped up his title prior to this race, but Gareth had to finish fourth or better to guarantee the overall championship and T1+ class titles overToyota’s Guy Botterill.
“It’s an unbelievable result,” Neil Woolridge said. “We’ve been working incredibly hard throughout the year to get to this point, and finally it’s happened. Gareth and Boyd did a fantastic job today and throughout this season, and they are so deserving of the overall and class T1+ championship titles. The entire team has put in a huge effort, and all of our technicians deserve credit for building a fantastic car. We didn’t have a single problem with either car the whole weekend, and all the hard work and long hours have paid off. Thank you to all of our sponsors, and especially Ford and Castrol, along with our other sponsors and partners that have made this possible.”
Looking ahead, FoMoCo plans to team up with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport to take on the Dakar Rally in the purpose-built previous-gen Ford Ranger Raptor in the Rally Raid T1+ category in Saudi Arabia next January. That 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.