Ford and NWM reveal new SA Rally-Raid Ranger race bakkie for 2024 season

This new racing Ranger will defend the 2023 Rally-Raid Championship. Picture: Ford SA.

This new racing Ranger will defend the 2023 Rally-Raid Championship. Picture: Ford SA.

Published Apr 18, 2024


Ford SA and with long-standing Rally-Raid partner Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) have ripped the covers off their new-generation off-road racing bakkie for 2024.

Featuring a bold new look and numerous under-the-skin enhancements, it replaces the SA Rally-Raid T1+ Ranger that drove Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer to their 2023 championship win and recent Dakar debut.

Lining up alongside the reigning champions in the new FIA-sanctioned Ultimate class (previously T1+) are Lance Woolridge and Kenny Gilbert as well as privateers Wors Prinsloo and Andre Vermulen.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new vehicle is that it now features the styling elements of the latest-generation Ranger bakkie.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye as the NWM team from Pietermaritzburg have adopted a glut of aerodynamic, cooling and packaging enhancements.

Those radical new hollow flared fenders improve airflow at the front while new air ducts at the back end direct more air onto the rear dampers, which were prone to overheating in the previous version.

Engineers were also able to take advantage of new 2024 FIA rules to improve the approach and departure angles of the race car, and certain components such as the differentials have been strengthened.

The 3.5-litre V6 turbopetrol engine, limited to 265kW through strict FIA regulations, remains largely unchanged although the ECU software has been tweaked to better cope with intermediate speed restrictions on stages.

The team has also welcomed Shell on board this year as a new headline sponsor.

New class categories for Rally-Raid

The 2024 SA Rally-Raid season introduces new class categories to mirror changes in the World Rally-Raid Championship.

As mentioned, the previous T1+ class is now the “Ultimate” class and T1 becomes “Adventurer” while T and A are classified as “Challenger”.

The 2024 season has seven rounds, kicking off with the Nkomazi 400 in Mpumalanga this weekend and culminating in the Rayton/Bronkhorstspruit finale in November.

Rally fans can track the action and monitor team progress using the RallySafe app, available for iOS and Android devices.

IOL Motoring

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