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The Bronco R Will Feature The Production Vehicle’s Architecture And Engine

2021 Ford Bronco R
Image Via Ford.

Despite several product and concept vehicle announcements for the 2019 SEMA Show, Ford kept a very cool secret close to the chest. Until this afternoon, that is, with a surprise announcement about a Baja 1000 desert race vehicle that’s based on the 2021 Ford Bronco off-road SUV. Dubbed the Bronco R, the project went from rendering to race-ready in a matter of six months. More significantly, the Bronco R also celebrates the 50 year anniversary of Rod Hall and Larry Minor famously winning the 1969 Baja 1000 in a Ford Bronco.

The Ford Performance off-road SUV will go racing November 19th-24th down the Baja peninsula in Mexico.

Bronco R race prototype is designed with the body-on-frame T6 architecture of the production 2021 Ford Bronco (shared with the Ford Ranger pickup truck)with the intent of testing its capability and durability, while a “twin-turbo” EcoBoost engine heavily reflective of what the production SUV will offer the necessary force to get the Bronco R to the finish line. Engines that have been rumored are both the 2.3L EcoBoost four cylinder as the base motor, with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 as the upgrade.

And because it’s the Baja 1000, the race truck features independent front suspension with 14 inches of travel and a production-based five-link rear chassis design with up to 18 inches of travel, plus custom Fox shocks, 17-inch beadlock-capable aluminum wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich tires.

Much like how the Ford GT was designed, the Ford Bronco R was put together behind a discreet security door in a Ford Motor Company studio basement. A team led by Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer, worked since July to make the race prototype do its best to tease the imminent 2021 Ford Bronco. The exterior incorporates 15 LED lightbars from Rigid, surrounding new BRONCO brand lettering in the center of the grille, with the letter ‘R’ standing out with a red finish. Washers are also inscribed with the Bronco name are visible at various points around the exterior, while also working to affix the composite skin to the roll cage beneath it.

The livery is inspired by the original Bronco racer from 50 years ago, featuring red, white and black colors accented by its blue space frame. The 2021 Ford Bronco R will wear the number “2069”. The “20” signals the class in which it will race and “69” in honor of the year in which Hall and Minor roared to an overall victory in the Mexican 1000 (now SCORE-International Baja 1000).

The Ford Bronco R isn’t the only off-road racer teasing something of what’s to come. Chevrolet has also debuted a Chad Hall Racing Silverado pickup truck, which teases the upcoming Rebel and Raptor fighter from the Bowtie Brand. For more on the Bronco R and its heritage, check out the videos embedded above and below.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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