Ford joins Australian off-road endurance race with Ranger Raptor

In June 2024, Ford is set to make a triumphant return to the grueling Finke Desert Race in Australia with a purpose-built Ranger Raptor. This event is known as one of the toughest off-road races in the country and will challenge participants with a round-trip journey across the unforgiving Outback.

Ford’s Entry into the Race:

When it comes to tough off-road competition, the Finke Desert Race is in a league of its own. Ford is no stranger to the event, having previously competed with a Ranger Raptor in the 2023 edition. Father-and-son team Brad Lovell and Byam Lovell will once again take the wheel of the same truck that placed first in the Production 4WD category in the previous race. The senior Lovell also raced this truck in the 2022 Baja 1000, where it also claimed victory in its class.

Enhancements for the Race:

While the Ranger Raptor used in previous races has proven its capabilities, Ford Performance has made several enhancements to tackle the unique challenges of the Finke Desert Race. The company has adjusted the suspension system’s calibration to match the higher average speeds seen in this event compared to the Baja 1000. Additional modifications include a front skid plate, snorkel intake, auxiliary lights, and a stripped-down interior featuring sport seats and a roll cage.

Stock Components and Eligibility:

Despite the updates, the Ranger Raptor remains mostly stock, utilizing off-the-shelf components such as the twin-turbocharged V6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, and suspension hardware. By keeping the truck close to its production form, Ford ensures its eligibility for the Production 4WD category, where it will face competition from a Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 and a Toyota Land Cruiser 76-Series.

The Finke Desert Race Route:

The upcoming 2024 edition of the Finke Desert Race will take participants on a challenging 285-mile journey starting and ending in Alice Springs, with a midway point in Apatula. The demanding course will test both the drivers and the vehicles, pushing them to their limits in the rugged Outback terrain. In 2023, the Ranger Raptor completed the race in just under six hours, showcasing its impressive performance capabilities.


Ford’s return to the Finke Desert Race with a purpose-built Ranger Raptor demonstrates the brand’s commitment to off-road racing excellence. With experienced drivers at the helm and a truck that has proven its capabilities in previous events, Ford is poised for success in this challenging competition. The enhancements made to the vehicle ensure that it is ready to take on the demanding terrain and fierce competition, making it a formidable contender in the upcoming race.

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