The big new Ford Ranger Raptor has made its debut in racetrack form today, ahead of this weekend's Sandown 500 event in Victoria.
Of course, when we say racetrack, we don't mean it'll be competing. The Ranger Raptor is no Superutes contender (at least not yet), but rather the Supercars series' official new recovery vehicle.
Announced in April, the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor's presence at the races will see it get all around the country this year. Next year it'll be joined by the Mustang, and that Ford is actually there to race.
The Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle is mechanically standard, but it scores a livery designed by Ford's team in Melbourne. In their words:
“The purposeful looks of the Ranger Raptor are a standout in any crowd, but in the colourful and intense environment of a Supercars race event, the primary objective is high visibility for the safety of the competitors,” said Ford Asia Pacific Design Director, Todd Willing.The first priority for Ford’s designers developing the bespoke Raptor livery was the prominence of the fluorescent yellow ‘Recovery’ signage, which needs to be clearly visible through a full 360 degrees.The rest of the livery theme is inspired by the customer-optional ‘Rockslide’ splash graphic, which for the Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle extends forward to the front guards and bonnet.Ford Performance banners top the windscreen and rear cabin glass to proudly communicate Raptor’s place atop the formidable Ranger lineup.“Working on Ford Performance products such as Ranger Raptor always invokes passion beyond the normal within the team in Broadmeadows,” said Willing. “Creating a livery that will focus the attention of an eager audience to the awesome new Ranger Raptor is icing on the cake.”
The Raptor seems a sensible choice for the job, as Supercars head of recovery, Alastair Walker, notes:
“Each track is different, even if they appear similar, so the demands on the vehicle can change from event to event, day to day or hour by hour.“Tracks such as Winton and The Bend have a lot of runoff, which, when dry, is not too much of an issue, but when wet, can cause issues in being able to access stranded vehicles.“Barbagallo has a lot of deep, soft sand in its runoff areas. Sandown, too, has areas such as Turn Three that, when wet, can have up to 12cm of water at the bottom of the hill. Bathurst, as we know, can be sunshine at the bottom of the mountain and teeming at the top.”
Not exactly stuff that would leave a regular Ranger bogged or floating, but hey.
Need a reminder on what drives the Raptor? More than a little contentiously, the Ranger Raptor is powered by a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel offering 157kW and 500Nm.
Power gets to the wheels through a new 10-speed automatic, but the real party trick is the Raptor's heavy-duty chassis tune and Fox suspension setup. Add to that a set of 33-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres and a tougher appearance, and Ford reckons it's onto a winner.
Does that mean it's selling well? Ford won't tell us, which you could read as a quiet no, but it promises "the first batch is largely accounted for". Now, how big was the first batch… (Insert the 'shrug' emoji here.)