Stock Ford Bronco Takes Third In Mexican 1000
Those who may have wondered whether Bronco could do it, run in a grueling back-country rally, and emerge with a podium finish can relax. A pair of Bronco engineers piloted a stock – no changes, just "run what you brung" – Bronco Badlands model across some of the harshest offroad terrain in this hemisphere picked up a third-place finish in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally. The podium finish follows a grueling five-day rally that began near the Baja California port city of Ensenada. The team posted the third 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. 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 1,100-mile race. At the same time, Brad Lovell, a three-time NORRA winner and member of the Bronco advisory panel that helped develop the new Bronco, navigated 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.
Taking steps for safety, the race team added a roll cage, racing harnesses, racing seats, and fire equipment. The rest of the Bronco Badlands remained factory stock. Powering the Bronco is the automaker's race-proven factory 2.7-liter EcoBoost® V-6 engine linked to its 10-speed SelectShift transmission. The Bronco features its new 4X4 system that uses a new automatic on-demand transfer case. There is also a High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension System, using long-travel Bilstein coil-over shocks and 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 to keep 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 terrain capability inspired by original Bronco.
The all-new 2021 Bronco two-door and Bronco four-door SUVs arrive this summer, joining the all-new 2020 Bronco Sport available now. Please visit Ford.com/Bronco for more details.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not too many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in venues including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.