When Ford pulled the cover off of the Bronco and Bronco Sport, the automaker was clear that the new SUVs are part of a new off-roading brand. Constructed around the company’s new Built Wild principals, these 4×4’s are the centerpiece of the Blue Oval’s attempt to capture outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts. In order to win over the hearts of the most hardcore among these fanatics, Ford has just announced that they are joining the ULTRA4 series at King of the Hammers with three all-new Ford Bronco 4400 series race trucks.
The Ford Bronco 4400 series race trucks will make their competition debut this week during the 2021 running of the King of the Hammers off-road event in Johnson Valley, California. This will mark the legendary SUV’s return to sanctioned off-road racing, something fans have been clamoring about for some time now. Ford has chosen quite the event to make this racing debut, as King of the Hammers is unquestionably one of the most difficult off-road races around. That said, Ford used these very trails to develop the road-going version of the Bronco, which likely bolsters their confidence going into the race.
“King of the Hammers inspired us to ensure every production Bronco model delivers the capability, durability and high-speed off-road experience this growing off-road enthusiast community has been trying to create on their own,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco marketing manager. “These Bronco 4400 race trucks underscore our commitment to the Bronco Built Wild capability and innovation in the red-hot off-road racing scene.”
Unlike the Baja-bashing Bronco R, the Ford Bronco 4400 features a fully-custom tubular chassis. This ULTRA4 4400 unlimited class machine also picks up a set of long travel shocks, a high-power engine, and a custom 4×4 system that builds on the Bronco’s GOAT modes. The cabin has also been fully race-prepped, and features the first-ever FIA off-road certified Pro Pacer XL ORV race shells from Recaro. These Ford Bronco 4400 series race trucks might have been designed with the theme of the Bronco R in mind, but they are a much more extreme take on off-road racing.
Ford has also announced a high-class lineup of drivers who will helm these machines during this year’s King of the Hammers event. Two-time King of the Hammers winner Loren Healy will have a seat, as will three-time winner Jason Scherer. The third Ford Bronco 4400 is slated to be wheeled by Vaughn Gittin Jr., who is also no stranger to ULTRA4 racing. The trio of drivers will pilot these Bronco racers through the various 90-mile courses made up of desert running and rock crawling.
“This is a killer opportunity to bring a new flavor of Bronco to the Hammers and push the Bronco brand deeper into the competitive off-road scene, while also building the foundation for future Bronco off-road racing vehicles,” said Gittin Jr.
This year’s running of the King of the Hammers event will kick off on February 2, and runs until February 6. Over 450 teams will take part in the madness, participating with both stock and race-prepped machines. Ford has already been vocal about other plans they’ve made for the week, including ride and drive opportunities with the Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport for those in attendance. Furthermore, the Blue Oval has just announced that they will be showing off a never-before-seen Bronco model on February 3. Considering what we know about Ford’s product plans, perhaps this could be the upcoming Bronco Warthog model.
If you’d like to tune in and watch the new Ford Bronco 4400 series race trucks take on the King of the Hammers, you can livestream the ULTRA4 racing via the link here. Be sure to check back to MC&T on February 3 for more details about the mysterious new model.