The feature opener our week-long coverage of the 2021 Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association Show in Las Vegas is the new factory purpose built Ford Bronco Desert Racer. Designed specifically to compete in the SCORE Baja 1000, the new Bronco DR was unveiled today at the SEMA Show.
A purpose-built race SUV, the Ford Bronco DR as it’s called they tell us will be the most powerful production Bronco yet with over 400 horsepower from its 5.0-liter Coyote V8. As this thing ain’t street legal, this is essentially a slightly modified crate motor and it will come mated to a beefed up version of Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.
In late 2022 the first 50 copies will be made in a partnership between Ford Performance and Multimatic for racing use only, paying homage to the famed and legendary vehicle that drove Ford Bronco to its 1969 Baja 1000 victory. In fact, this prototype will be the opening volley as it is set to race in the upcoming Baja 1000 race in a red, white, black and blue race livery honoring 1969.
Final specifications weren’t hammered out for today’s reveal, but here are the basic goods that vault this thing way over the top of any regular production Bronco.
A custom race suspension starts with Positional Selective DSSV Dampers with 80-millimeter bodies and finned fluid cooling channels. Then there are the exotic billet aluminum lower control arms. With these an other major suspension and chassis mods, Ford says it has 55% more front suspension travel than the Bronco Badlands at 15.8 inches. At the rear, it has 17.4 inches of travel.
With a fully race-purposed chassis, it has an astonishing approach angle of 47 degrees, a departure angle of 37 degrees and breakover of 33 degrees. The track is mean ass wide too at 73.7-inches. Rolling stock is comprised of beadlock style wheels wrapped with exclusive 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 tires.
The aforementioned 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission and is electric shift on the fly transfer case come straight from the F-150 and the Bronco DR has electronically locking front and rear differentials with a 4.70:1 final drive ratio. Front half-shafts are upgraded to meet the extra power and suspension work. As it happens this rig still uses the stock Bronco brake system with exception to having upgraded pads.
A fully redesigned lightweight fiberglass race body wraps the production Bronco’s four-door frame and body structure. Light-weighting has taken place by the air-conditioning, glass, and the interior is of course stripped of the bulk of its components – thought it still tips the scales at 6,200 pounds. The instrument panel is retained however with a few familiar items but is otherwise outfitted for racing
Built and designed to offer a turn-key racer to off-road competitors, the 2023 Ford Bronco Desert Racer will have a starting price in the mid $200,000 range. Ford says the first 50 copies will be offered for sale late in 2022.
And remember, this is not a street-legal vehicle so you won’t be getting a VIN number to take to your local DMV. You won’t be offered fancy financing from Ford Credit and there will be no extended warranties offered. This is a bill of sale vehicle only.