Covering all categories at the Rabble Club Sandown 500, the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor will be on stand-by for rapid response as teams and drivers spar for honours in the traditional prelude to The Great Race at Bathurst in October.
“We’re immensely proud of the Ranger Raptor, and we’re so excited to have the opportunity to show off its capability and strength while supporting the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship,” said Kay Hart, CEO and President of Ford Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s a vehicle that we know will be able to tackle the serious challenges presented by one of the most exciting race series on the planet.
We can’t wait for it to be crossing sand traps and rescuing stranded Supercars – preferably while Fords are out in front, mind you.”
This weekend’s Rabble Club Sandown 500 will see the Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle on stand-by to help clear any incidents that may take place during the first event of the 2018 Pirtek Endurance Cup, won by Tickford Racing Australia’s Chaz Mostert and Steve Owen in 2017.
“It’s great to have the Ranger Raptor – the ultimate Ranger and a vehicle we know resonates with fans,” said Supercars CEO, Sean Seamer.
“It’s a vehicle with the strength and dependability we need, and shows Ford and Ford Performance’s complete commitment to our sport.
Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle: Designed to stand apart from the pack
While the Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle is standard, its unique livery ensures an unmistakable presence at Supercars events.
Designed by the Ford Asia Pacific team based in Melbourne, making this special vehicle even more eye-catching was no simple task.
“The purposeful looks of the Ranger Raptor are a standout in any crowd, but in the colourful and intense environment of a Supercars race event, the primary objective is high visibility for the safety of the competitors,” said Ford Asia Pacific Design Director, Todd Willing.
The first priority for Ford’s designers developing the bespoke Raptor livery was the prominence of the fluorescent yellow ‘Recovery’ signage, which needs to be clearly visible through a full 360 degrees.
The rest of the livery theme is inspired by the customer-optional ‘Rockslide’ splash graphic, which for the Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle extends forward to the front guards and bonnet.
Ford Performance banners top the windscreen and rear cabin glass to proudly communicate Raptor’s place atop the formidable Ranger lineup.
“Working on Ford Performance products such as Ranger Raptor always invokes passion beyond the normal within the team in Broadmeadows,” said Willing.
“Creating a livery that will focus the attention of an eager audience to the awesome new Ranger Raptor is icing on the cake.”
Ranger Raptor: perfect for misadventures
The Ford Performance Ranger Raptor will be poised to tackle muddy corners, gritty sand traps and anything else that comes its way.
It will be under the watchful eye of Alastair Walker, head of recovery for Supercars, whose job is to ensure that any issues that threaten safety – and delay the on-track action – are dealt with quickly and competently during the three-day Sandown event.
“The Recovery Raptor needs to able to respond to incidents at a moment’s notice, whether they be on the race track itself or off-track in the mud, gravel or sand,” said Walker.
“It needs to be able to operate on any surface and be flexible in allowing the driver to quickly shift between the different types of surfaces and different modes of recovery, where you may need to engage 4WD Low Range to pull something out of a fence or gravel trap, for instance.”
The Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle is a standard Ford Performance Ranger Raptor, including its 157kW/500Nm Bi-Turbo, 10-speed paddleshift powertrain, heavy-duty reinforced chassis and FOX suspension that includes a unique Watts Link rear-end.
Its standard 33-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres make it a shoo-in for sand traps and recovering vehicles from beyond race track boundaries across the country.
Modifications are limited to its unique Ford Performance livery as well as a roof-mounted light bar, specialist side mount lights and night working lamps for events such as the Sydney Motorsport Park night race.
On board, specialist communications equipment includes radio fitment, in order to maintain constant contact with Race Control, while a Dorian Timing Transmitter – as used in the Safety and Course cars – enables the Recovery Ranger Raptor to monitor the position of each racecar on the track for swift, efficient recovery, as needed.
The transmitters also allow the Recovery Ranger Raptor to pinpoint the location of medical and course vehicles for maximum effectiveness from the Supercars Recovery Team.
“I’m looking forward to getting used to the vehicle and really stretching it to its full capacity. I’m sure it will provide an excellent tool to assist the team and me moving forward,” Walker said.
“The standard factory tow points front and rear will be of great assistance to undertake some of the work we do, such us rolling vehicles back over or straightening vehicles up prior to loading them on trucks.”
Following the Rabble Club Sandown 500, the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle will be on duty at every Supercar event for the remainder of 2018, including the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, before its first full year as Official Recovery Vehicle in 2019.
The variety and unique nature of each event will put this unique Ranger Raptor to the ultimate test, providing feedback and data to Ford’s engineering and design teams.
“Each track is different, even if they appear similar, so the demands on the vehicle can change from event to event, day to day or hour by hour,” said Walker.
“Tracks such as Winton and The Bend have a lot of runoff, which, when dry, is not too much of an issue, but when wet, can cause issues in being able to access stranded vehicles.
“Barbagallo has a lot of deep, soft sand in its runoff areas. Sandown, too, has areas such as Turn Three that, when wet, can have up to 12cm of water at the bottom of the hill. Bathurst, as we know, can be sunshine at the bottom of the mountain and teeming at the top.”
The Ford Performance Recovery Ranger Raptor will be joined in 2019 by the Ford Performance Mustang Supercar.
A partnership between Ford Australia, Ford Performance, DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing, the Mustang Supercar will line up on the grid for the first time at the Adelaide 500, which opens the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship from 28 February–3 March, 2019.
The first-ever Ford Performance Ranger Raptor is now on sale in Australia from $74,990 (MLP).