PRETORIA, South Africa —The new Ford Ranger made its global racing debut on March 1 when it turned its wheels for the first time in the opening round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship in the Magaliesburg area, and the results were nothing short of spectacular.
The brand new Rangers enjoyed a dream debut with a victory on its first outing, with Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable getting to first place ahead of Ford teammate Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst.
Not only did Woolridge celebrate his first national championship race, he also won his first prologue, becoming the youngest person to ever achieve this in South Africa. Huxtable enjoyed his first overall race win.
“It was a dream weekend for us. The car is fantastic,” said an elated Woolridge after the race. “The first time out you never know what to expect from the car and you often run into teething problems, but we had a trouble free run throughout the weekend. We couldn’t be happier.”
A complex jigging system was used in the manufacturing process to ensure that each part is built according to the design in order to achieve the perfect fit on every vehicle built.
Teammates Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst struggled with fuel pressure problems in Friday’s prologue session, resulting in a fifth place grid slot when the session concluded. Starting further down the field they had to contend with the dust created by those ahead, nevertheless they maintained their composure and ultimately worked their way up to a second place finish.
“We did experience some minor troubles. We battled with low fuel pressure all weekend. After thinking we had found the problem on Friday evening, it reared its head again shortly after the start on Saturday morning. Of course these are all opportunities for us to learn and further develop the car for the season ahead,” explained Visser.
The newly designed Rangers were built in Pietermaritzburg with assistance from Ford Motor Company’s Global Product Development division. Every aspect of the new Ranger has been carefully considered and built with precision and performance in mind.
Under the hood, the new Ranger boasts an impressive 5.0-litre V8 engine with variable cam timing, managed by the Magneti Marelli system. In addition to its lightweight body and a chassis design that allows for a low centre of gravity, the vehicle is equipped with independent front suspension and a solid rear axle, eight state of the art BOS dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars. Add Brembo brakes, an air-conditioned cabin, advanced onboard computer system and it is clear to see that the new Ranger has been designed with winning in mind.
“I would like to congratulate both Lance and Chris on a fantastic debut. The team have really risen to the occasion. We received input from our Ford colleagues around the globe in developing the car, our sponsors continue to keep us on the road and the team have rallied together to make this dream a reality. Well done to everybody,” said Team Manager Neil Woolridge.
The brand new Rangers had a stunning first race.