Ford returns to fabled Baja 1000 race, Bronco R prototype gets second chance at slaying the course

Ford‘s Bronco is rapidly powering its way towards a pivotal 2021, with the model slated to go on sale nation wide this coming spring. However, before that happens, the company is out to shake a very big monkey off of its back, and has revealed that the Bronco R racing prototype will be making a second attempt at completing the treacherous Baja 1000 race.

Aiming to rectify past mistakes

The Bronco R’s last trip to Baja could be viewed like the build up to the first encounter between boxers Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, with Ford generating a massive amount of hype and flash in the months leading up to the race, only for the end result to completely flip the other way around. In Joshua’s case, bad training, external factors, and a game Ruiz led to one of the biggest boxing upsets in 2019. As for the Bronco, it was let down by some of its aftermarket parts, which fell apart during the race, and helped the Bronco R earn a dubious DNF stat for its efforts.

Ford is out to rectify that situation this time around, and has promised that the racer will have beefed up internals to help it endure the rigors of the course. The company stopped short of revealing what some of these components are, but chances are good that perhaps reworked versions of its off-road hardware are on deck for this second attempt. For those that need a brief refresher, the prototype will still be powered by a twin-turbocharged version of Ford’s 2.7 liter turbocharged V6 which is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Bronco R’s wild bodywork hides Dana sourced Spicer front differentials, as well as a heavily modified suspension setup, with Fox sourced shocks helping the rig absorb the bumps and dips of the course.

Double the Bronco fun for 2020

In addition to the Bronco R’s return to the Baja 1000 for 2020, Ford also revealed that it will be a two Bronco affair, with the company bringing along a pre-production Bronco Outer Banks model to serve as a support vehicle. It’s unknown if this second Bronco will have any race focused modifications added on to it, but Ford did reveal that this support vehicle will also be equipped with the 2.7 liter EB engine and its accompanying 10-speed automatic. This particular Bronco will also come equipped with the Sasquatch package which brings bigger tires and a suspension lift to help add some swagger to the SUV, while also improving ground clearance at the same time.

But like everything else surrounding this move, there is an underlying purpose to the Bronco’s return to the event, with Ford revealing that it needed to perform some final testing on the Baja mode feature of the Bronco’s Terrain Management system. These final revisions are a normal part of the testing cycle for many new automotive products, and that includes a hot commodity one like the Bronco.

Just like how some of the world’s armies use active conflicts as opportunities to do field testing of certain equipment, It would seem only fitting that Ford would choose to do the same thing at an event the feature is name after. Here’s hoping that the Bronco R and the rest of the Ford team can finally shake the DNF monkey from their backs at this year’s race.