The Ford Bronco R race prototype previews the design of the new Bronco SUV, which will make its debut in the northern spring of 2020 and take on the popular Jeep Wrangler.
Spy photos have shown the Bronco will use a shortened version of the T6 platform, which underpins the existing Ranger ute, Everest SUV. Reports indicate the Bronco will, like the Wrangler, be available in both three- and five-door formats.
Although Bronco mules and prototypes have been photographed Down Under, it won't be coming here. The car will be made in the US, and will reportedly be left-hand drive only.
A patent filing earlier this year indicated the Bronco may be available with a canvas roll-top roof. Another set of patents showed Ford was working on removable and tubular doors, as well as airbag and restraint systems to suit these door configurations.
According to Brian Novak, off-road racing supervisor for the Ford Performance division, "The twin turbos of the [race car's] EcoBoost engine are representative of what the production Bronco will offer".
The F-150 sold Stateside is available with range of twin-turbo V6 engines ranging from 242kW/542Nm all the way to up the 361kW/691Nm in the Raptor.
The Bronco R will head to Baja 1000 race in Mexico later this month, where the 1600km (1000 mile) race will be used to test the production car's powertrain and chassis to the extreme.
Made in just six months by a small team lead by Paul Wraith, the Bronco's chief designer, the Bronco R is said to provide the world with its first concrete clues about the new SUV's styling direction, even though the Bronco and Bronco R will not share any body panels.
Due to the short deadline for the Bronco R, Wraith's team used a mixture of virtual reality, polygon modelling, and 3D printing to help design and produce the vehicle.
Even though most Baja racers use a tubular chassis, Ford says the Bronco R rides on a modified version of the T6 platform.
The Bronco R rides on an independent front suspension with around 355mm (14 inches) of wheel travel, and a five-link rear suspension based on the production Bronco's setup, albeit with up to 457mm (18 inches) of travel.
Other changes include Fox shocks, 17-inch alloy wheels, and 37-inch BF Goodrich tyres. The Bronco R also features LED light bars, full racing roll cage, three seats, and a composite body fastened with washers inscribed with the Bronco name.