The new Ford Ranger makes its global racing debut when it turns its wheels for the first time in the opening round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship. The first race of the 2013 season, the RFS 400, gets underway on March 1 in the Magaliesburg area.
The newly designed Rangers were built in Pietermaritzburg with assistance from Ford Motor Company’s Global Product Development division. Every aspect of the new Ranger has been carefully considered and built with precision and performance in mind.
“This weekend will be a proud moment for us as the new Ford Ranger makes its global motorsport debut,” says Team Manager Neil Woolridge. “We have been working on the design and development of the vehicles for two years and have received overwhelming support from our Ford colleagues around the globe, who are now as eager as we are to see the vehicle in action.”
A complex jigging system was used in the manufacturing process to ensure that each part is built according to the design in order to achieve the perfect fit on every vehicle built.
Under the hood, the new Ranger boasts an impressive 5.0-litre V8 engine with variable cam timing, managed by the Magneti Marelli system. In addition to its lightweight body and a chassis design that allows for a low centre of gravity, the vehicle is equipped with independent front suspension and a solid rear axle, eight state of the art BOS dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars. Add Brembo brakes, an air-conditioned cabin, advanced onboard computer system and it is clear to see that the new Ranger has been designed with winning in mind.
“It has been a tremendous team effort. We believe we have the right team, the right car and the right expertise to mount a strong challenge in this year’s championship battle,” he adds.
The RFS 400 event has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the team in the past with Ford taking a one-two finish on the event last year.
Though the route is expected to be a testing one, with long grass expected to challenge the leading crews by hiding potentially hazardous obstacles, Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst have high hopes following their winning performance last year. Team mates Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable will also be looking to challenge as they get to grips with the new vehicle.
“We have done extensive testing with the vehicles and are extremely excited about our prospects for the season. Of course, being the first race there is an element of the unknown but we are as prepared as we can be – whatever the outcome, it will be a proud moment for all who were involved in making it happen,” concludes Woolridge.
Team Ford Racing’s efforts would not be possible without the support of its dedicated sponsors: Time Freight, Castrol, Dynotherm, Motorvia and Sign Solutions.
STORY BY FORD