First FIA-class Ford Ranger, Powered by 3.5 EcoBoost V6, in Production for SA Cross Country Series

First FIA-class Ford Ranger, Powered by 3.5 EcoBoost V6, in Production for SA Cross Country Series

22.04.2020: Clean-sheet design for completely new FIA-class Ford Ranger being produced at Neil Woolridge Motorsport in Pietermaritzburg New layout features mid-mounted 3.5 EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine, which will make it the first vehicle to compete under t

•    Clean-sheet design for completely new FIA-class Ford Ranger being produced at Neil Woolridge Motorsport in Pietermaritzburg

•    New layout features mid-mounted 3.5 EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine, which will make it the first vehicle to compete under the FIA's new turbo-petrol regulations for cross country racing

•    Wider chassis and suspension design, optimised weight distribution and reduced overall weight - plus over 700Nm of torque - promise exceptional performance

"Built Ford Tough" will take on a new dimension when the Ford Castrol Cross Country Team debuts the highly anticipated, all-new FIA-class Ford Ranger later this year in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).

Announced to the world in February 2020 and due to make its highly anticipated debut in the second half of the season, the brand-new cross country racing Ford Ranger is designed by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM), and will elevate the team to the highest level of the sport locally in the domestic series, as well as internationally. It will be the first vehicle in the world to compete under the FIA's new regulations adopted early this year for turbocharged petrol engines.

The new racing Ranger is in the process of being built at the NWM team's workshop in Pietermaritzburg - although the build is currently on hold due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. With support from some of the team's key international partners, the new contender is based on a completely new in-house design, which has been optimised for the best possible packaging, weight distribution and performance.

"Designing and developing an all-new vehicle from the ground up enables us to use the latest technologies and components, while incorporating the valuable experience we gained in the production and constant evolution of the 25 current-generation Ford Ranger V8s we have built over the past seven years," says Neil Woolridge, NWM team principal.

"These Rangers not only won back-to-back SACCS Class T titles in 2018 and 2019, but competed successfully all around the world, including winning an unprecedented four consecutive titles at the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil".

"Our team has spent more than eight intense months designing every aspect of the new vehicle, which is an exceptional achievement to produce a clean-sheet design," Woolridge adds. "We're excited to see the first vehicle coming to life, and can't wait to finish it and start testing."

Although the styling of the new Ranger continues to bear clear lineage to the standard Ford Ranger produced at Ford's Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, the latest design is wider, bolder and much more aggressive than the current V8-powered racing machine, and has been developed to match the broader chassis and suspension layout.

High-strength yet lightweight chromoly tubing is the material of choice for the chassis and integrated roll cage, all of which is manufactured in-house by NWM on a specialised chassis jig.

The body panels are made of carbon fibre for reduced weight and exceptional strength. A unique 'gullwing' design has been adopted for the doors, which give the driver and co-driver access to a larger and more spacious cabin, which is also decked out in full carbon fibre.

Behind the crew, where the rear seats would be found in a normal Ranger double cab, is a specially designed 480-litre fuel cell produced by Aero Tec Laboratories in the UK - the same company that has supplied all Formula One teams for the past 25 years. Although the tank won't be filled to capacity on domestic races, it is designed to carry enough fuel for long-distance endurance stages that are typical of events like the Dakar Rally.

Air-conditioning is provided for the crew, which helps limit fatigue as the cabin temperature can easily soar well above 50-degrees Celsius when racing in hot climates. A heated windscreen is also fitted to eliminate misting up in colder temperatures, or when driving through water crossings.

3.5 EcoBoost V6 power

One of the fundamental changes to the new Ranger is its exciting new engine. In line with, as well as helping to guide the formulation of the FIA's new regulations, the new-generation vehicle will be powered by Ford's exceptional 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine.

This is the same engine used in the legendary F-150 Raptor in the US, as well as in the exceptional Ford GT supercar that returned the American brand to the top step of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 - a fitting tribute to the historic victory of the legendary Ford GT40 at Le Mans 50 years earlier. In this application, it relies on fully programmable MOTEC electronic engine management, along with twin air filters with dual intercoolers.

The positioning of the engine has also changed significantly in the new design. Where the Mustang-derived 5.0-litre V8 engine used in the current vehicle is located in a traditional front-mounted layout, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 is mid-mounted well behind the front axle.

"By moving the engine back we achieve far better weight distribution, which will dramatically improve the balance and handling of the vehicle, particularly over rough terrain and jumps," Woolridge explains. "The compact dimensions of the V6 engine has enabled us to optimise the layout even further than what would have been possible with the larger V8, and it's also lighter which helps us reduce the overall weight of the new vehicle by 150 kg."

Despite its smaller size and capacity, the EcoBoost V6 is credited with some impressive numbers. Out the box, it delivers over 400 horsepower (300kW), matched to a substantial 700Nm of torque - the latter representing a significant increase over the naturally aspirated V8, which will further improve tractability and acceleration.

Along with the new engine, there's a brand new SADEV SC924 Evo six-speed sequential gearbox. Compared to the existing transmission, the new unit is 10 kg lighter, much more compact and uses a lot less oil. Based on the gearbox used by many teams in the World Rally Championship (WRC), it is also designed to be much easier and faster to change during a service stop, if required.

Similarly, new lighter differentials are driven by symmetrical driveshafts and propshafts on both axles, thus reducing complexity, facilitating faster replacement and reducing the number of spare parts that need to be carried. In racing guise, the Ranger is permanent four-wheel drive with limited-slip differentials front and rear to help effectively put the power down.

Premium-quality high-performance Castrol lubricants are used throughout the vehicle, including fully synthetic Castrol Edge high-performance engine oil, Syntrans transmission oil, Syntrax for the limited-slip differentials, Optitemp for the propshafts, SRF Race brake fluid and Radicool anti-freeze for the cooling system.

Another major departure from the solid rear axle Class T-spec Ranger is the fully independent suspension all round - although NWM does produce the current Ranger V8 in independent rear suspension (IRS) configuration for international customers.

The new FIA-class Ranger relies on latest-generation fully adjustable BOS Suspension dampers and springs - which at this stage are exclusively available to NWM.

With two units mounted on each corner, it provides an impressive 280mm of travel to soak up the harshest terrain. The new suspension components and IRS will give the new Ranger much better traction in rough and undulating surfaces, which ultimately translates into faster speeds. And, to curtail those speeds, the vehicle relies on high-performance race-spec Brembo brakes with six-piston callipers all round, incorporating water cooling to effectively dissipate heat build-up.

Along with the advanced suspension components, BOS also supplies the hydraulic jack system that is only permitted in the premier FIA category. It allows the team to raise or lower the Ranger at the push of a button instead of using manual high-lift jacks - a major time-saver when replacing a wheel or performing critical repairs during the heat of a race. Three spare wheels can be carried, with two mounted beneath the cabin and one above the rear axle.

The Ford Castrol NWM team competed in the Mpumalanga 400 in Dullstroom in February, with the BF Goodrich KDR2+ tyres fitted to the two existing Ranger V8 entries - and the same rubber will be used throughout the season. Despite the ever-changing conditions encountered during this opening round of the 2020 SACCS, which included everything from loose sand and punishing rocks to lots of mud and standing water, the tyres performed superbly and enabled the team to complete the entire race without a single puncture.

This bodes well for an exciting 2020 season, when racing eventually resumes. Due to the coronavirus lockdown, several races have been cancelled or postponed, and the SACCS is working on a revised calendar for the remainder of this year's championship in line with government health regulations.

Ford and Neil Woolridge Motorsport are proud to be supported by the following sponsors and partners: Castrol, Ford Credit, BF Goodrich Tires, Vedacit, Wurth, Bosch, Mastercraft, Sign Solutions, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, Ironman 4x4 and Shatterprufe.

Neil Woolridge- photos


22.04.2020 / MaP

More News

NEC Solidarity e-Race South Africa rebooted
21.04.2020 motorsport fans were provided with the opportunity to not only watch the only live motorsport racing series taking place locally at the moment but also to c more >>
Solidarity e-Race : Solidarity on the track livestream April 14 and 15
More than 137 competitors in the Solidarity e-Race •    More than 23 000 qualifying laps completed•    Top 100 drivers finalised•    Semi-final g more >>
A win each for Dario Busi and Darren Oates as Oettinger Polo Cup series kicks off at Zwartkops
•    Oettinger Polo Cup lives up to reputation while providing usual spectacle•    A maiden pole position followed by victory in race one for Capetonian Dario Busi•    Oates twin Darren took the second win of his career in race two•    Several talented youngsters progresse more >>
Mandela Bay 500 Raceday preview
 Mandela Bay 500 Raceday Preview Aldo Scribante Racetrack, Port ElizabethPort Elizabeth race fans can look forward to supporting their local heroes driving the most exciting supercars ever to visit the Aldo Scribante at the Mandela Bay 500 more >>
Polo Cup Zwartkops Preview
Competition intensifies as Round 1 of the 2020 Oettinger Polo Cup draws closer    Series to host a number of champions from various racing formulas    Field of more than 20 drivers to include a combination of experience and youthful talent    Oettinger Polo Cup to once again provide ideal platform to more >>
Red-Lined Motoring Adventures at Dullstroom 400
What    South African Cross Country Auto Round 1 Where    Dullstroom, MphumalangaWhen    28-29 February 2020Dullstroom Cross Country a great challengeRed-Lined Motoring Adventures e more >>
South Africa's most successful racing series prepares for 24th consecutive season
•    Series will be known as the Oettinger Polo Cup•    Other series partners to still include the likes of Falken, Ferodo and Total•    Eight-event series scheduled to kick off at Pretoria's Zwartkops Raceway on 14 March 2020 more >>
Heavy weight contenders gearing up for the Emerald Speed Fest this weekend
The Emerald Resort and Casino will come alive with roaring action from 28 February - 1 March with everyone patiently waiting to find out who will take home the inaugural Master of the Mile Championship Trophy. more >>
A race like no other, Emerald Speed Fest
05.02.2020 Emerald Resort and Casino! Emerald Speed Fest, the family orientated motorsport and motoring lifestyle event takes place in less than a month at the Emerald Resort and Casino in Vanderbijlpark.Experience the thrill and excitement of the MSA endorsed ESF event as high-performance cars, modern road-cars, histo more >>
Action and drama define penultimate Falken Polo Cup race for 2019 in Cape Town
•    Bradley Liebenberg claims pole position and two race wins, but incurs penalty for race three at Killarney•    Jeffrey Kruger earns two second-place finishes and victory in final race to keep championship battle alive•    Volkswagen Motorsport Driver Exchange programme featured Indian Tou more >>
Volkswagen Motorsport secures GTC2 Manufacturers title, on brink of Global Touring Car series glory
•    Volkswagen Motorsport wins GTC2 Manufacturers Championship, on verge of claiming GTC title at Round 7•    Keagan Masters finishes on the podium in race 2, retains GTC championship lead going into final round•    Daniel Rowe ends challenging weekend with fourth and fifth-place finishes, r more >>
Global Touring Cars (GTC) Start-finish victory for Keagan Masters
At the sixth round of the Global Touring Cars (GTC) at the East London Grand Prix Circuit, Keagan Masters (ZA) started from pole position in his GTC Jetta and celebrated a commanding start-finish victory. The two-time GTC2 champion also picked more >>
Volkswagen Polo Cup- Double win for Jeffrey Kruger
Defending champion Jeffrey Kruger (ZA) and championship leader Bradley Liebenberg (ZA), are dominating the Volkswagen Polo Cup – and this continued at the East London Grand Prix Circuit: Kruger won the first race, in which Liebenberg only finished sixth afte more >>
All Power Audi's Tschops Sipuka turns the weekend around
•    Maiden GTC victory for Tschops Sipuka•    Simon Moss sets fastest lap in race 2All Power Audi took their Audi S3's a little further from their Port Elizabeth home this past weekend as they he more >>
Volkswagen team heads to fast and spectacular East London circuit for Round 6 of GTC series
•    Volkswagen Motorsport prepared for a thrilling weekend of racing and solid points haul in East London•    Keagan Masters second in GTC championship battle, just eight points behind current points leader•    Daniel Rowe placed third in standings with sights set on top two positions•& more >>
Intense battles expected from competitive Falken Polo Cup field in East London
•    Bradley Liebenberg heads championship standings going into round 6•    Reigning title-holder Jeffrey Kruger currently second overall•    East London Grand Prix circuit to host tough battle more >>
Team South Africa wins coveted Wolf Trophy
•    Team South Africa wins this year's International Spirit of Amarok competition, edging out eight other countries•    Driver and navigator duo, Christiaan and Pikke Otto walked away with the Wolf Trophy, finishing ahead of 17 other teams more >>
VW Polo Cup- Thrilling race for Liebenberg and Kruger, Robertson returns
Bradley Liebenberg and Jeffrey Kruger (ZA) have long been looking forward to this weekend: The two overall leaders met for the fifth race in the Polo Cup at the Zwartkops Raceway. However, the return of 2017 Polo Cup winner Devin Robertson (ZA) cau more >>
Global Touring Cars- Masters in second place, Liebenberg still leads GTC2
Volkswagen drivers Keagen Masters (ZA) and Daniel Rowe (ZA) scored important points at the fifth event of the Global Touring Cars South Africa. In the first of two races at the Zwartskops Raceway in Pretoria, Masters and Rowe drove their Volkswagen Jett more >>
All Power Audi fights tooth and nail on home ground
•    Pole position and race win for Simon Moss•    Simon Moss retains his championship lead•    All Power Audi team showcases competitive racing in round 4 of the 2019 GTC championship more >>
Double Points Target in Botswana for Ford Castrol Cross Country Team
•    Class T champions and points leaders Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable aiming to continue winning streak on marathon Botswana race•    Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer return in second NWM Ford Ranger, filling in for Brazilians Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea for the second time this year•   more >>
Volkswagen Polo Cup - Brad Liebenberg in a class of his own
Brad Liebenberg (ZA) has underlined his great form in the Volkswagen Polo Cup. Liebenberg won all three races in the fourth event of the season at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth (ZA). The five-time South African kart champion is n more >>
Global Touring Cars South Africa - Masters on the podium in the Jetta
.. Liebenberg wins againAt the fourth event of the Global Touring Cars South Africa (GTC) in Port Elizabeth, Keagan Masters (ZA) finished the first race in second place in his Volkswagen Jetta. Suffering from flu, team-mate Daniel Rowe (ZA) only just mi more >>
FCA Alfa Romeo Giulietta endurance team gears up to defend Index of Performance championship
This upcoming weekend, the racing action in the popular Mopar SA Endurance Series moves to Port Elizabeth, to the fabled Aldo Scribante Racetrack.   Included amongst the field of 19 starters will be the reigning Index of Performance championship-winning Alfa Romeo Giuli more >>
Volkswagen Polo Cup - Maiden win for Swart, Liebenberg still championship leader
Round three of the Volkswagen Polo Cup was held at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town (ZA). At the foot of Table Mountain, Jurie Swart (ZA) claimed his first victory in the Polo Cup after a tough battle with defending champion Jeffrey Kruger (ZA) in race one.Championship leader Bra more >>
Global Touring Cars South Africa (GTC) Victory for Daniel Rowe in the shadow of Table Mountain
Daniel Rowe (ZA) and Keagan Masters (ZA) again demonstrated the qualities of the Volkswagen Jetta at round three of the Global Touring Cars South Africa (GTC). Rowe moved into the lead shortly after the start of race one at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town (ZA), and went on to take the chequered flag. In doing so, he repeated last year’s success, when he claimed his maiden GTC victory i more >>
Festival of Motoring at all new Kyalami circuit
Who    KyalamiWhat    Festival of Motoring ReportWhere    Kyalami Grand Prix CircuitWhen    21-23 OctoberThe all-n more >>
South African Endurance, GT series set to star
The recent announcements of national championship status for the Mopar South African Endurance Series along with the establishment of the South African GT Challenge have been met with great interest both at hame and abroad as organisers of both s more >>


2001-2022 full copyright