Adding to Bronco brand’s off-road competition credentials, two lead Ford Bronco engineers piloting an all-new, fully stock 2021 Bronco Badlands four-door SUV across the harsh terrain of Mexico’s Baja peninsula landed a podium finish in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally. The five-day rally began Sunday near the port city of Ensenada.
The team posted a third-place finish in the Pre-Runner Truck class.
“Bronco has a long, successful history racing down here so we wanted to put the new one to the test as our final Built Wild Extreme Testing validation – and it exceeded our every expectation for performance across this treacherous environment,” said Bronco engineering manager Jamie Groves. “This race is a key final pre-launch check box for what the Bronco can do.”
Groves and fellow Bronco engineer Seth Goslawski drove the majority of the 1,141-mile race. Brad Lovell, three-time NORRA winner and member of the Bronco advisory panel, helped navigate and drove one stage on day one. The rally tracked across the Baja, Calif., peninsula over dirt, silt, dry lake beds and salt flats, with miles of ruts and rocks in between.
With the exception of a safety roll cage, harnesses, seats and fire equipment, this fully stock Bronco ran with a factory 2.7-liter race-proven available EcoBoost V6 engine, available 10-speed Ford SelectShift transmission and advanced new 4×4 with automatic on-demand transfer case, plus High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension System featuring long-travel coil-over Bilstein position-sensitive dampers.
“We had some stretches of hard-packed roads that were made for Bronco, topping 100 mph in some of the dry lake beds,” said Groves. “Baja mode was especially helpful in this terrain. It keeps shift points at just the right rpm and keeps the turbos spooled up so power is there when you need it and brakes are more aggressive to slow quickly for rough terrain.”
This Bronco ran on its stock 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, with Dana 44 AdvanTEK M220 rear axle and M210 independent front suspension with Spicer Performa-Trak electronic lockers. The Badlands series includes a front sway-bar disconnect with medium tradition utility class-exclusive design and Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes, nodding to the Goes Over Any Type of terrain capability inspired by original Bronco.
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