Ford has not been shy about their intentions of building the pre-eminent off-road Brand around the relaunch of the Bronco, as well as the Bronco Sport, along with other vehicles like the Raptor and the Tremor lines.
This week I will cover the reveal of the next-generation Ford Raptor and also I will take the brand new Ford Ranger Tremor off roading to see how it holds up. All of this is part of Ford’s concerted marketing efforts to brand and promote their outdoor brand of Built Wild 4x4 SUVs from Ford.
The latest iteration of this Built Wild push is the introduction of Ford’s return to the King of the Hammers off-road racing event, which runs Feb. 2-6 in Johnson Valley, California. Ford and Bronco brands continue their off-road performance presence as the official truck and SUV of the ULTRA4 series – one of the most extreme off-road competition series in the world, combining high-speed desert racing with low-speed rock crawling.
“King of the Hammers inspired us to ensure every production Bronco model delivers the capability, durability and high-speed off-road experience this growing off-road enthusiast community has been trying to create on their own,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco marketing manager. “These Bronco 4400 race trucks underscore our commitment to the Bronco Built Wild capability and innovation in the red-hot off-road racing scene.”
Bronco 4400 Series Race Trucks
Race trucks. How cool does that sound? As little kids, many of us would play with toy trucks and run them through dirt and rocks. Now Ford is making that a reality with the Bronco 4400 trucks.
Representing the original unlimited class that helped launch the King of the Hammers race event, the Bronco 4400 trucks feature a fully custom tubular chassis with massive off-road tires and long-travel shocks. Under the hood, high-power engine and custom 4x4 driveline systems build on Bronco brand’s racing heritage. A race-prepped cabin is highlighted by the first-ever FIA off-road certified Pro Pacer XL ORV race shells from Recaro®. Designed in the theme of the Bronco R Race Prototype, Bronco 4400 represents the return of Bronco 4x4s to sanctioned off-road racing.
“With the Bronco R Race Prototype at the Baja 1000 and the Bronco Sport victory at the Rebelle Rally, the debut of the three Bronco 4400 race teams shows Ford Performance’s growing commitment to Bronco in off-road competition,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “These 4x4 vehicles are modeled after the all-new Bronco two- and four-door production SUVs with their combination of high-speed desert running and rock crawling agility.”
The Bronco 4400 series teams feature an all-star lineup of off-road racing veterans, including Vaughn Gittin Jr. and teammate, three-time King of the Hammers champion, Loren Healy and Jason Scherer, also a three-time King of Hammers champion – each piloting custom-built Bronco 4400s.
“This is a killer opportunity to bring a new flavor of Bronco to the Hammers and push the Bronco brand deeper into the competitive off-road scene, while also building the foundation for future Bronco off-road racing vehicles,” said Gittin Jr.
Check out the video below of the Bronco 4400 Race trucks gearing up for King of the Hammers.
Bronco brand will have several other vehicles on display at the race, including the Bronco R Race Prototype, which served as a test bed for production Bronco two- and four-door SUVs and recently finished the grueling Baja 1000.
Also on hand will be Bronco Sport, which brought home a class win at the 2020 Rebelle Rally.
Plus, one never-before-seen Bronco model debuts live on Feb. 3 at King of the Hammers.
The all-new 2021 Bronco two-door, four-door and Bronco Sport models on site will provide many enthusiasts their first up-close and personal look at the all-new family of rugged SUVs – with media drives of Bronco Sport and ride-alongs in Bronco offered throughout the week of the event.
King of the Hammers
What a great name for a truck race! Who wouldn’t want to ride along in this race through the desert traversing sand and rock?
King of the Hammers consists of 90-mile courses across high-speed desert sands and rock crawling across tricky terrain. It is one of the most extreme off-road competitions in the world. Each year, a pop-up city converges on the barren Johnson Valley to watch the race, with millions more viewing online.
This year’s event begins Feb. 2 with qualifying, and the official race is Feb. 6, with 450 teams expected from around the world – in both modified stock and extreme off-road vehicles. All will compete to be crowned king in one of the most grueling desert courses ever created combining high-speed racing with low-speed rock crawling.
“It’s great to see the growing Ford support for ULTRA4 racing, first as our official vehicle partner and now the addition of the Bronco 4400 series race trucks,” said David Cole, president, Hammerking Productions/ULTRA4 Racing. “Their expanded involvement will help build interest in the series and raise the level of competition.”
The collaboration between Ford and Ultra4 continues the automaker’s growing presence in the off-road enthusiast realm. Recently, Ford stepped up to serve as official truck and SUV of SCORE-International Off-Road Racing, which holds the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and San Felipe 250 championships in Mexico. Ford also serves as official vehicle of the Best in the Desert race series.
I personally think Ford is absolutely being brilliant in their Built Wild marketing efforts. Even the commercials for the Bronco Sport with G.O.A.T mode give that little crossover more street cred. The Bronco R Prototype competed in Baja last year, and now Bronco returns to King of the Hammers. While these aren’t globally recognized races, they have a cult following and give the Bronco and Ford a lot more credibility to the off-road enthusiasts out there.
Let me hear your thoughts on the Bronco 4400 and what Ford is doing to market their off-road trucks. Leave me your comment below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.