Ford Ranger Raptor ready for Supercars debut
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The Ford Ranger Raptor will make its debut as the Official Recover Vehicle for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship series this weekend at the Rabble Club Sandown 500.
The Ranger Raptor will be on stand-by for rapid response as teams and drivers spar for honours in the opening round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
“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. "We can’t wait for it to be crossing sand traps and rescuing stranded Supercars – preferably while Fords are out in front, mind you.”
Read more: First drive review of the Ford Ranger Raptor
The Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle is effectively standard, including its 2.0-litre 157kW/500Nm Bi-Turbo engine, reinforced chassis and FOX suspension. Its standard 33-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres make it a shoo-in for sand traps and recovering vehicles beyond race track boundaries.
Modifications are limited to its fluorescent yellow ‘Recovery’ signage, which needs to be clearly visible from every angle, and customer-optional ‘Rockslide’ splash graphic, as well as a roof -mounted light bar, side mount lights and night working lamps.
Most of the changes are found in the cabin, with specialist communications equipment to maintain 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.
Head of recovery for Supercars, Alastair Walker, says the Recovery Raptor will be used to respond to incidents on the race track itself or off-track in the mud, gravel or sand.
"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,” said Walker.
“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.”
“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.”
Following the Rabble Club Sandown 500, the Ford Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle will be on duty at every Supercar event for the remainder of 2018 ahead of its first full season in 2019.