Attention everyone, this is your first look at the new 2020 Bronco, and Ford is sending it straight onto the battlefield.
This Bronco R race prototype is being sent off to do battle in the Baja 1000, an intense race that tests performance, dexterity, longevity of parts, and the driver’s will and talent. And sat beneath the bodywork of what looks to be one of the greatest vehicles to come from Ford yet, is almost perfectly identical to what will power the road-going 2020 Bronco.
This year of the Baja 1000 marks the 50th anniversary of Rod Hall and Larry Minor’s overall ’69 win in a Bronco, forcing Ford to design and build this car in only six months. Obviously Ford was adamant on showing its worthiness in this gruelling competition.
“The Baja 1000 gives us not only the perfect setting to honour Rod Hall’s win,” explains Ford chief product development officer Hau Thai-Tang, “it also provides an authentic test bed to demonstrate our upcoming Bronco’s desert racing capability and durability.”
What you’re looking at will share a large number of parts with the soon-to-be production vehicle, but obviously there is a host of modifications that make it far superior in a racing scenario than a car built for the road. Its lightweight composite body being one of these examples, the caging at the rear which holds a spare tyre, being another, and the long-travel Fox racing suspension being a not-so-subtle third. It also has a wider track and larger wheels.
Beneath the shell, though, the chassis is Ford’s T6 architecture, the same as the Ranger, and “the twin turbos of the EcoBoost engine are representative of what the production Bronco will offer”, although we don’t know exactly what engine will be present.
Rod Hall’s granddaughter Shelby Hall will be racing the car alongside Baja champ Cameron Steele.
“My grandfather was so proud of the 1969 Baja race and of his Bronco,” she said. “More than just the memory of winning Baja, he loved that Bronco.” Do you?