Ford Ready To Defend Its Class Title At The 2024 Fine Desert Race

Ford Ready To Tackle Australia's Toughest Off-Road Race...

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Production 4WD Truck. (Ford).

Ford Performance is gearing up for a return to the 2024 Tatts Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs, Australia, next month, aiming to defend its class title. Off-road racing hall of famer Brad Lovell will be behind the wheel of the same Ranger Raptor that secured victories in the 2023 Finke Desert Race and the 2022 SCORE-International Baja 1000. Joining him as co-driver is his son, Byam Lovell.

A Proven Winner with Key Upgrades –

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Production 4WD Truck. (Ford).

The father-son duo clinched the Production 4WD class in the 2023 Finke Desert Race with an impressive overall time of 5 hours, 56 minutes, and 30 seconds, including a record-breaking run from Apatula to Alice Springs in 2 hours, 51 minutes, and 18 seconds. This year, the Ford Performance team in Australia has introduced several key upgrades to the race truck, enhancing its performance for the 2024 event.

Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, highlighted the team’s dedication: “The Ranger Raptor is Ford Performance’s global off-road racing platform, and we are proud to return to the vehicle’s spiritual homeland of the Aussie Outback to defend our 2023 victory. While the team has been hard at work improving the Ranger Raptor for the 2024 event, our race truck still retains the same engine, transmission, and suspension components that roll off the showroom floor.”

Experience and Improvements –

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Production 4WD Truck. (Ford).

Returning to the Finke Desert Race with a year of experience, Brad Lovell is eager to take on the competition. “The Finke Desert Race is truly unique, with a challenging combination of high speeds and seriously massive whoops,” he said. “I’m looking forward to facing off against a stronger field of competitors this year and showing what the Ranger Raptor is capable of.”

The Ranger Raptor race truck, while retaining the same suspension hardware and electronics as the standard road-going model, has received a new damper calibration specifically for Finke. Other changes for this year’s race include reducing weight and optimizing suspension calibrations to enhance performance at higher speeds.

Justin Capicchiano, Ford Performance and Special Vehicles Engineering Manager in Australia, emphasized the significance of these updates: “Finke has an average speed nearly 35 km/h (22 mph) faster than Baja, and by retuning the suspension and cutting weight, the Ranger Raptor will be the perfect weapon for Brad and Byam to defend their title.”

Support and Logistics –

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Production 4WD Truck. (Ford).

Vehicle servicing, event management, and logistical support for the Ford Performance team will again be provided by Walkinshaw Performance, a sister organization of leading Ford Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United. Engineering support will come from US-based off-road specialists Huseman Engineering.

In 2023, the Ranger Raptor raced at Finke in a similar specification to Baja. However, the changes made for this year’s event focus on improving performance for the higher speed demands of the Australian race.

The Challenge Ahead – 

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Production 4WD Truck. (Ford).

The Finke Desert Race is known as Australia’s toughest off-road endurance race, spanning over 460 kilometers (286 miles) between Alice Springs and Apatula (Finke). The event, which runs from June 7-10, 2024, presents a significant challenge with its demanding terrain and high-speed sections.

With a blend of enhanced experience, strategic upgrades, and robust support, Ford Performance is poised to make a strong showing at this year’s Finke Desert Race. Fans and competitors alike will be watching closely as the Lovells and their upgraded Ranger Raptor aim to defend their title and possibly set new records in one of the most grueling off-road races in the world.