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This Mean-Looking Ford Ranger Is Ready To Rally Race In South Africa

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Racing the Ford Ranger in this year’s South African Rally-Raid Championship is not your standard pickup. The truck, built and designed by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) for the Ford Castrol NWM Team, at a glance resembles the current-generation Ranger, but has a number of modifications that make it capable of handling the rigors of SARRC.

The first race kicks off later this month on March 25, and the dispatched NWM Ford Ranger should be able to handle the job well. Last year, the team won two races and finished second overall, and improvements to the truck will increase the team’s chances this year. The new pickup, which uses high-tech carbon fiber and aramid weave for the cab and body, retains the truck’s previous butterfly doors, a trademark feature of NMW.

The truck is 11.8 inches (300 millimeters) wider, with 37-inch tires wrapped around the 17-inch wheels that hide under the aggressively widening wheel arches. Bigger wheels allow for bigger brakes, discs grow from 12.9 inches (328 mm) to 13.9 inches (355 mm). The front and rear brakes are air-cooled, but the NWM also cools the rear brakes to reduce brake fade even further.

The truck also gets a reworked suspension, replacing the dual-damper setup with a single-damper one. The pickup also gets new upper and lower control arms and a longer drive shaft, both of which help improve wheel travel. This increases from 11.0 inches (280 mm) to 13.7 inches (350 mm).

This year’s race coincided with new regulations that teams had to prepare, such as moving from only allowed three spare tires to two. “We started redesigning our Ranger and required new components around the middle of last year after the T1+ rules were finalized,” said team principal Neil Woolridge.

The pickup is powered by a 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost V6 engine that produces the same output as last year’s truck – 402 horsepower (300 kilowatts) and 442 pound-feet (600 Newton-meters) of torque. It has an electronically limited top speed of 105 miles per hour (170 kilometers per hour).

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