Ford has unveiled a limited production run racing version of the Bronco for the Baja 1000 desert race. Based around the production Bronco chassis, the racer is equipped with a Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8, producing in excess of 400bhp, while the running gear is similarly uprated with additions such as Multimatic DSSV dampers.
“Bronco DR is our ultimate turnkey off-road racing SUV, engineered to put enthusiasts behind the wheel of a desert racing force,” said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director. “This collaboration between Ford Performance and Multimatic continues the Bronco desert racing legacy that dates back to Rod Hall and Larry Minor’s never-repeated overall Baja 1000 win in a stock Bronco in 1969.”
The Bronco DR prototype will make its race debut in 2022 and is targeting entry in the 2022 Baja 1000.
“Bronco DR exists to give hardcore off-road enthusiasts a Built Wild, turnkey 4×4 to compete in desert racing events, including the unforgiving Baja 1000,” added Rushbrook. “It started with the Bronco four-door – the platform and chassis are production true, and then we modified and optimized every aspect and built the vehicle hardcore off-road enthusiasts want.”
Multimatic has supplied its DSSV Dampers with 80mm bodies and finned fluid cooling channels, as well as Multimatic-designed billet aluminum lower control arms. Compared with a four-door Badlands series Bronco, Ford is targeting 55.1% more front suspension travel and 58.6% more at the rear for the race Bronco. Multimatic was also responsible for the design of the roll cage.
The vehicle – with a race weight of about 6,200 lb – features an approach angle of 47°, departure angle of 37° and breakover angle of 33° degrees.
“It’s not just a Bronco with some stripes on it,” said Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer. “We were inspired by extreme rally cars, and then went all in. For this skunk works project, the Bronco team quickly found a theme and developed CAD with heavy use of virtual tools. This is an off-road racing vehicle built out of a production vehicle. We’re so happy to have been involved.”
Behind the resin transfer molded (RTM) fiberglass body panels, the Bronco DR retains the four-door model’s frame and body structure. For desert racing optimization and weight saving, the air conditioning system, other interior amenities and all glass have been removed. The side panels, which take the place of standard doors, are influenced by Bronco R. The tubular metal front bumper, as well as a host of other features, draws a connection with the current production model.
“This is a ground-up build, which is a bit unique in itself,” concluded Rushbrook. “At the heart of what we did here was capture the enthusiasm surrounding Bronco, and then build on it by creating a desert racer that is competition-ready coming out of the factory – something Ford has never done before.”