Ford is looking to add a Dakar Rally victory to its sizable trophy case. At least, it will eventually. It will be providing official support for a Ford Ranger T1+ entry this coming year, but the company is going to be heading there with some humility, as the plan is to “finish and learn.” Obviously if the team can win, they’ll try, but this is just the very start of Ford’s efforts.
This is probably wise, since this will be the very first time the global Ford Performance group is backing an entry. There was a privateer Ranger entry back in 2014, but that was a regional team. Plus, this is also just the first year for Ford. It has plans for 2025 as well.
But as for 2024, Ford Performance will be campaigning a Ranger T1+ based on the outgoing truck, which will use a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Ford is doing so in collaboration with M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM). The former team has been responsible for Ford’s rally cars for years, including the current Puma HybridRally1. The latter has been been building T1+ class Rangers for a variety of series including the South African Rally-Raid Championship.
Ford will ramp things up for the 2025 race. With one rally to build from, it will be developing a new truck with M-Sport and NWM on the all-new Ranger Raptor.
In the meantime, look for the Ranger to tackle the dunes of Saudi Arabia from January 5 to January 19 next year.