Team Ford Racing has confirmed it will enter two South African-built Ford Rangers in the grueling 2014 Dakar, taking place from January 5-18 next year in South America.
The design team responsible for bringing Ford’s Dakar contender to fruition includes a mix of South African and global minds. The purpose-built Ford Rangers are being prepared by Pietermaritzburg-based Neil Woolridge Motorsport while logistics will be handled by German-based South Racing. Similarly, the driver line-up is made up of both international and local contenders including South American native Lucio Alvarez and South African Chris Visser.
“We are extremely proud to be sending these South African-built Rangers to the 2014 Dakar,” says Jeff Nemeth President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Dakar is the ultimate test of man and machine and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate with a phenomenal team comprised of local and global expertise.”
Over 1-billion TV viewers from across the globe tuned in to watch the 2013 Dakar with 4.6 million spectators making their way to South America to witness the feat. The Dakar is a truly international showcase of off-road vehicles,” says Dave Schoch Group Vice President and President, Asia Pacific. “We are pleased to have put together a global team that has exceptional knowledge of the event – as well as being capable of performing extremely well racing the Ford Ranger, which is built at our assembly plant in Silverton.”
The newly designed Ford Rangers were built in Pietermaritzburg with assistance from Ford Motor Company’s Global Product Development group. Every aspect of the new Ranger has been carefully considered and built with precision and performance in mind. “A complex jigging system was used in the manufacturing process in order to ensure that each part is built as per the design in order to achieve the perfect fit on every vehicle built” explains Neil Woolridge, Team Manager.