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Ford debuts its 2023 Bronco DR racer, ready for Baja

Yes. I want it. Now.


Ford

At a special event outside of Las Vegas on Monday, Ford revealed a turn-key race Bronco, ready to take on the Baja 1000 and beyond, straight from the factory floor. Dubbed the Bronco DR — for Desert Racer — this bad boy looks to have all the goods to conquer the peninsula, and all you need is $200,000 or so to get in the game.

Built on a four-door Bronco chassis but sporting only two Sparco seats, the Bronco DR has Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine under the hood, which we know and love from the Mustang, among other vehicles. Ford hasn’t given actual power numbers, saying only that it’s targeting 400 horsepower. Regardless, the engine is mated to Ford’s excellent 10-speed automatic transmission.

Interestingly, Ford opted to use 3.0 Multimatic DSSV spool valve shocks with finned external coolers. I love these shocks in the Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado ZR2, and I hope that we start seeing these DSSV shocks in more off-road applications as they provide excellent ride quality and help drivers maintain control at higher speeds. Paired with the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension system — with its 15.8 inches of front travel and 17.4 inches of rear travel — this rig should float over the whoops.

Great googly-moogly this thing is dope.


Ford

As for geometry, we’re looking at an approach angle of 47 degrees, a departure angle of 37 degrees and a breakover angle of 33 degrees. A wider track is emphasized by 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud terrain tires wrapped around beadlock wheels.

The Bronco was the first and only four-wheel drive vehicle to win the Baja 1000 overall, and this DR keeps the four-wheel drive system with front and rear locking differentials and a final drive of 4.70:1. The radiator has been moved to the rear of the vehicle with massive air intakes along the roof, while a 65-gallon fuel cell should give the DR a fair amount of range.

I think what I love the most about the Bronco DR is its integrated roll cage. It’s attached directly to the frame and fits snug to the body, which gives the DR not only the safety it needs, but hot damn, it looks cool. If you move inside, you’ll find all kinds of race truck stuff like a detachable steering wheel, a production-ish dash with pre-wired switches for accessories like an air recirculator for your helmet and a race radio.

As a race vehicle, though, the DR has a bit of a problem. See, the Baja’s sanctioning body SCORE has a class for production vehicles, which the DR technically is, but it isn’t street legal thanks to exhaust and other race-specific parts. It’s also not a trophy truck, lacking the travel and power to compete with those Mad Max vehicles, which leaves it in kind of a regulatory grey area. For the past few years, the more hardcore Bronco R has competed in Class 2, but the DR isn’t a fit there either.

That just means that we’ll just have to see where it shakes out when it goes on sale in late 2022 as a 2023 model. That gives you a little bit of time to scrape together all the cash you’ll need to snag one before you let me drive it, right?

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