The 2021 Woodward Dream Cruise has come and gone, seemingly without a hitch. And, like in 2019, Ford Motor Company took over the world’s largest single-day automotive event. From electric vehicles, to vintage muscle, official Blue Oval exhibits could be found for miles. And at Mustang Alley, at 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale, there was a particular Ford Explorer ST that was turning heads. The vehicle was conceived to help promote the Ford Performance Racing School and its available ST SUV Experience. The Ford Performance Racing School currently has two locations: one in Asheville, North Carolina, and the other in Park City, Utah.
“Based on our experience with the production vehicle in the no-charge program we and Ford offer Explorer ST and Edge ST owners exclusively, the ST SUV Experience, the Explorer ST is a phenomenal vehicle. Already fast and nimble, our goal with our modified vehicle is to take this already capable platform and turn up the volume a bit… further unleashing the beast into one capable of thrilling up to four people on the track – all in a safe and controlled manner. Working closely with Ford engineers and with our valued partners we are on our way to accomplishing just that – and this vehicle is scheduled to see plenty of track time starting shortly after the Woodward Dream Cruise”, said Dan McKeever, president, Ford Performance Racing School. “This is a work in progress. The vehicle will undergo more performance tuning as we learn its full potential.”
Ford Explorer ST Racing School Upgrades
But Aesthetics isn’t all these things got either. The track Ford Explorer ST features loads up upgrades. The front brakes for example, are now 6 piston Brembo aluminum calipers and 16.50-inch vented rotors straight off of the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Keeping the 4,700-pound SUV strapped to the tarmac is a set of 315/30/21 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the same compound you get on the S550 Ford Mustang GT500. So you’ve got an SUV that not only stops, but hugs every turn with almost 25 inches of rubber between the head and tail lights.
In addition to the wide tires and big front brakes, this special Ford Explorer ST also features a full safety cage that was custom fabricated with 1.75” OD DOM tubing and MIG welded into the truck. Paired with the racing seats and windows both front and rear, it’s almost like Ford wants to race this ST.
As far as we know, the 400 hp 3.0L EcoBoost V6 remains extra virgin, but we’re sure the suspension, tire, brake and weight reduction upgrades have this Explorer ST feeling more like a Mustang than a three-row SUV.
Maybe NASCAR will take note, and think about launching an SUV series. Or maybe Ford will apply some learnings into a future variant of the Explorer.