In 2021, the Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Castrol Team had an incredibly competitive season in the South African Cross Country Series achieving a pair of race wins and ultimately securing second-place overall at the season’s end. Unsatisfied with finishing runner-up, the NWM Ford Castrol Team has opted to return for the 2022 running of the series, this time preparing a Dakar-grade new-gen Ford Ranger to campaign in the FIA’s all-new T1+ Class.
The team started by heavily revising the latest Ranger’s chassis in order to accommodate the build’s new suspension and widened, custom bodywork that’s crafted entirely from a high-tech carbon fiber and aramid weave. Boasting a wider, 7.5’ stance, the new bodywork also features small-hatch butterfly-style doors and ultra-flared fenders that open up space for its larger 17” wheels that are now wrapped in beefier 37” tires. Developed alongside the experts at BOS Suspension, the T1+ Ranger rides on an all-new suspension package that’s been redesigned with new upper and lower control arms, longer driveshafts, and a new single damper setup for each wheel with significantly larger shocks that affords 2.75” of travel, bringing its total amount up to almost 14”.
Powering the Ranger is Ford’s tried-and-true twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine that produces up to 402hp and 442.5ft-lbs of torque. The vehicle is also in compliance with the series’ new minimum weight figure of 4,400lbs. Other noteworthy elements on the rally raider include a truncated bed, a full-length skid plate and undercarriage protection, revised gear ratios, and an electronically limited top speed of 105mph (down from 112mph).
Supported by sponsors including Castrol, Mastercraft, Wűrth, Bosch, Sparco, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, Ironman 4×4, and Shatterprufe, the Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Castrol Team’s Ford Ranger T1+ racer is slated to make its 2022 South African Rally-Raid Championship competition debut at the Mpumalanga 400 in Dullstroom on March 25th and 26th.
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