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New FIA-Class Ford Ranger Gets Off to a Hot Start

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Ford Castrol Team steps up to premier FIA-class for 2020 SA Cross Country Series
Photo: Ford

The Ford Castrol Cross Country Team broke new ground earlier this year with the debut of a new FIA-class Ford Ranger that boasts the power of the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The first truck of its type powered by a twin-turbo gas engine, this rowdy Ranger went right out and promptly earned a podium finish in its first start.

Neil Woolridge Motorsport Racing pilots the twin-turbo-powered Ranger in the Production Vehicle category of the South African Cross Country Series. The 2018 and 2019 Class T champions look to extend their success into a new field, and the team is leveraging first-in-category performance tech to get it done.

“Having enjoyed great success in Class T over the last two years, it’s time for us to take on a new challenge in the FIA-class which has grown rapidly to become the most popular and competitive field in the South African championship, and in international cross country racing,” said Neil Woolridge, team principal of NWM.

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The FIA-class Ford Ranger features the same engine as the F-150 Raptor and Ford GT, replacing the venerable 5.0-liter V8. Mounted mid-ship for optimal weight balance and paired with MOTEC electronic management and an Aerotec Laboratories fuel cell, the EcoBoost V6 offers long-range driving capabilities with storage of up to 127 gallons of fuel. Other race-tuned upgrades include the latest version of the SADEV SC924 Evo gearbox, damping tech from BOS Suspension, air- and water-cooled Brembo brake calipers, and BF Goodrich KDR2+ tires.

Raptor passes first test with flying colors

Ford Castrol Cross Country Team Secures Podium Finish on FIA-class Debut
Photo: Ford

In the first SACCS race of the season, the NWM Ford Ranger showed its prowess with a third-place finish from drivers Woolridge and Elvéne Vonk. Woolridge and Vonk took the No. 334 truck to the podium in the Mpumalanga 400 in Dullstroom and carried the fourth-fastest qualifying time of the race. Their teammates, Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea, took the No. 311 NWM Ford Ranger to ninth place overall and the seventh-best time.  

“Finishing on the podium on our first outing in the FIA-class with what is basically a Class T vehicle is an absolutely brilliant result for the team,” said Woolridge.

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