PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – Ford’s impressive new Duratorq TDCi diesel engine will be making its market debut in the next-generation Ford Ranger towards the end of this year, but it has already proven its mettle by taking victory in a current Ranger in the arduous Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, thus making it the first diesel-powered vehicle to win a race overall and in the premier Super Production (SP) category.
Fittingly, as preparations were underway to officially launch production of the high-tech new engine at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst were celebrating a hard-fought win in the Duratorq TDCi-powered Team Ford Racing Ranger in the toughest event on the off-road racing calendar.
The 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel engine was built at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant, and is currently doing duty in the existing Ranger pickup which competes in the top SP class of the ABSA Off Road Championship.
The outstanding result on the Desert Race has shown that it has the performance and the reliability to match and even beat its rivals – some of which are powered by internationally-sourced, highly-tuned large-capacity V8 petrol engines.
“The Duratorq TDCi engine has provided outstanding performance and has a perfect reliability record this season,” commented Neil Woolridge, who heads up Ford’s off-road racing outfit.
“What makes this even more remarkable is that the basic engine is completely standard, just as it came out of the Struandale Engine Plant.”
However, Woolridge points out that due to the extremely competitive nature of the top-flight SP category, the Duratorq TDCi engine has benefitted from a raft of high-performance bolt-on components. The intercooler, injectors, high-pressure pump and fuel rail have all been upgraded. Additionally, the racing engine uses two aftermarket turbochargers built into a purpose-made manifold.
Woolridge states that this has unleashed an astonishing 750 Nm of torque (up from the standard engine’s 470 Nm), along with 320 HP (almost 240 kW of power, up from 147 kW) – without affecting durability.
“Off-road racing needs a balance between reliability and performance, and the Duratorq TDCi engine is one area we never have to worry about, even over an incredibly tough 500 km of race distance without any service,” he commented.
According to Ben Pillay, Ford Marketing Manager, the Ford Racing Team started work on the 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine approximately three years ago, knowing its outstanding potential, and with a view to developing it for ultimate use in the next-generation Ranger pickup.
“The Ford Ranger Duratorq TDCi is the first diesel-powered vehicle to compete in the SP class, and is now proudly the first to secure an overall and class victory in this category, which is dominated by high-performance petrol engines.”
Wallace Yearwood, Plant Manager of the Struandale Engine Plant, was equally enthusiastic about the victory – particularly in the context of Duratorq TDCi production officially commencing following an almost two-year build-up, and an investment of some ZAR 3.4 billion (USD 500 million) in the Struandale facility and the Silverton Assembly Plant for the all-new Ranger.
“We have invested in the most advanced equipment, and trained our employees extensively in order to produce world-class, top-quality engines,” Yearwood stated. “This victory, with an engine produced right here in Port Elizabeth, proves we’ve achieved just that.
“It’s an exceptionally exciting time for the Struandale Engine Plant, and this early success with the Duratorq TDCi engine is clearly the start of great things to come.”
|This exceptional win proved its performance and reliability in the toughest event on the off-road racing calendar.
||The Duratorq TDCi engine has the performance and the reliability to match and even beat its rivals.|
|The Duratorq TDCi engine triumphs in a category dominated by high-performance petrol engines.