Ford Ranger gains V8, but only for Dakar Rally

Ford has plonked a 250kW/560Nm 5-litre V8 into Ranger ute that, on the road, drinks 28L/100km. In a way we’re thankful that this V8 Ranger is built only for purposes of competing in the 2014 Dakar Rally.

The two Ford Rangers that will compete in the 2014 Dakar Rally are 4×4 Double Cabs fitted with Ford’s aluminium block 5-litre V8 that produces 260kW of power and 560Nm of torque. Fuel consumption will be heavy, especially on sandy parts of the course where the V8 Ranger will drink around 90L/100km. On tarmac sections of the rally fuel economy drops to 28L/100km.

To cope with its prodigious thirst the Dakar-prepped Rangers will carry a total of 500L of fuel capacity. This means that this V8 Ranger tips the scales at a hefty 1,975kg. While the cabin has been stripped out and fitted with a race-certified roll cage, the V8 Ranger does have one creature comfort usually denied to race car drivers: air conditioning.

Whereas buyers of full production Ford Rangers have a choice between regular automatic and manual transmission, the Dakar-ready Ranger uses a 6-speed sequential automated manual. The Dakar Ranger features a limited-slip differential (LSD) on both the front and rear axles, uprated Brembo brakes (water cooled at the front and air cooled at the rear), and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels clad in 245/85 Michellin tyres.

Unlike the Rangers that are sold in Australia, that are built in Thailand, the V8 Rangers set to compete in next year’s rally are built in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Pietermaritzburg is the base for Neil Woolridge Motorsport which is overseeing the production of the two racing V8 Rangers.

Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue will man the first V8 Ranger, while the second V8 Ranger will piloted by Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst.

The 2014 edition of the Dakar Rally will take place from January 5 to 18 with competitors racing over a 8,500km course from Rosario, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile. The Dakar Rally, formerly the Paris to Dakar Rally, no longer takes places in Africa between its namesake locations due to problems with terrorism and the like.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]