With the Bronco family of vehicles coming, and the F-250 Tremor, Ford is quickly establishing itself in the off-road world beyond the mighty F-150 Raptor. And just ahead of the imminent Bronco and Bronco Maverick reveals later this year, Ford has become the official vehicle of the Ultra4 Racing Series and its epically named King of Hammers Race.
Ultra4’s highlight event is the King of Hammers, an extreme race featuring both low speed rock crawling and high speed desert racing. Taking place in Johnson Valley California, this difficult combination makes even completing the race a challenge. Competitors are able to enter purpose built off-road racing vehicles, or modified production vehicles. Ford is not participating in the race, but the location has been a test bed for the upcoming Bronco. Ford demonstrated the Bronco’s strong off-road abilities with a prototype Bronco in Johnson Valley.
The 2020 King of Hammers race is on February 7, so don’t expect a Bronco reveal at the event. It’s slated for spring, most likely at the revamped 2020 Detroit Auto Show in June. Instead, Ford will probably use it to build up the hype of the Bronco even more. The event draws around 75,000 spectators and 1 million online viewers each year. Ford has a great opportunity to get off road fans excited about its products. Maybe they’ll tease a Bronco pickup truck?
Ford is investing heavily into its off-road focused lineup of vehicles that started with the original F-150 SVT Raptor in 2010. Since then, it has only added the Super Duty based F-250 Tremor. The Bronco and Bronco Maverick will join a hot and growing market segment. Ford estimates 25% of SUV sales being rugged, off road models. That’s up from just 12% ten years ago, and we expect that number to climb even higher.
In addition to Ultra4, Ford is also the official vehicle of SCORE-International Off-Road Racing and the Best in the Desert race series. SCORE holds the annual Baja 500 and Baja 1000 races, which Ford failed to finish in the Bronco R. The racing truck rides on the same platform and shares the engine as the Bronco, but has little else in common. Let’s hope the King of Hammers and Ultra4 brings more success to Ford’s exciting off-road programs.