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Ford Ranger Raptor Proves it is Tough As Finke, Conquering the Challenging Finke Desert Race

  • Ford Ranger Raptor proved it is Built Ford Tough this weekend, winning the Production 4WD class at the 2023 Finke Desert Race
  • This victory follows the truck’s winning performance in the 2022 Baja 1000, again piloted by father-son duo Brad and Byam Lovell of Lovell Racing
  • It was a successful first Finke entry for both Ford and Lovell Racing, with excellent support and assistance from Walkinshaw Performance and Huseman Engineering

The Aussie-built Ford Performance Ranger Raptor race-truck has taken a strong class victory at the Finke Desert Race, with Brad and Byam Lovell winning the Production 4WD class in Alice Springs today.

The winning vehicle is the same race-prepared Ranger Raptor that won its class at the 2022 Baja 1000, finishing the race from Alice Springs to Finke and back in 5 hours, 56 minutes and 30 seconds.

The time the truck set today from Aputula (Finke) to Alice Springs is a Production 4WD class record. The Ranger Raptor completed the 226km course today in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 18 seconds.

“The Finke Desert Race is Australia’s toughest off-road race, set in what’s almost the spiritual home of the Ranger Raptor,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “The Finke track, and terrain around Alice Springs was a key proving ground for the Ford Performance and Ford Australia engineering teams as we developed the Ranger Raptor.”

“This was Ford Performance and Ford Australia working together in a true global effort to showcase the Built Ford Tough nature of the Ranger Raptor. Combined with the expertise of the Lovells, Huseman Engineering and Walkinshaw Performance, this incredible team conquered Finke,” said Rushbrook.

The victory at Finke is the culmination of nearly three years of work for Justin Capicchiano, Ford Performance and Special Vehicles Engineering Manager, Australia and his team.

“The Finke Desert Race is one of the toughest events on the off-road calendar, and one that we’ve wanted to take on for a long time,” said Capicchiano. "To have been able to achieve what we have over the past few days is truly dream come true stuff for me, and for my team.”

“We made it happen with some excellent and committed partners and a small and dedicated team, which grew as the program did. Our Ranger Raptor finished as well as it started, and seriously looked like we could drive it back to Melbourne. It’s an incredible truck, and we are immensely proud of this outstanding result.”

For hall of fame off-road racer Brad Lovell, and his navigator son Byam, the trip to Finke was an eye-opener.

“Coming into this I thought it was a fast rally race with some little whoops. Seeing it torn up now, it’s like San Felipe and Baja whoops,” said Brad, describing the conditions of his record-breaking run from Finke to Alice.

“We had a great time, there’s a lot of variation. We were charging hard, but the Ranger Raptor took it, it is a super tough truck. We are happy to be back here in Alice.

“The Ranger Raptor pushed hard the whole time; it took everything we dished out. The whoops out there are getting huge. I’m not sure how many suspension cycles we were doing per mile, but it has got to be a record!”

Vehicle servicing, event management and logistical support for the event were provided to Ford Performance by Walkinshaw Performance, sister organisation of leading Ford Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United.

The Finke Desert Race is Australia’s toughest off-road endurance race, and the 2023 event marked the first time that Ford Performance and Lovell Racing competed. Covering a total distance of over 460 kilometers between Alice Springs and Aputula (Finke), the race attracts competitors from all over the world and is known for its harsh conditions and challenging terrain.

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