Ford confirms for Dakar 2014 w/ SA driver

A locally built and designed Ford Ranger has been confirmed for participation in the 2014 Dakar. The gruelling race was watched by over a billion viewers worldwide last year, and this year the Ford team will be showcasing South American and South African talent.

To be piloted by Lucio Alvarez and South African Chris Visser from 05 – 18 January next year in South America, the Rangers are being specially built in Pietermaritzburg at Neil Woolridge Motorsport.

“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. “Although the two new Rangers are locally built we received tremendous support from our global counterparts including the likes of Ford’s SVT division.”

Logistics will be handled by South Racing in Germany, and one of the two proposed FIA Ford Rangers is already finished. The team will start testing in August, and the second vehicle is set to be finished by end of October. The German arm of operations is owned and managed by Scott Abraham, son of Arthur Abraham – a family with deep roots in SA motor sport. Abraham has worked as a team manager in the Dakar before, previously for the X-Raid Mini team and Overdrive Toyota, the second SA-built Hilux team.

“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.”


Taking the wheel

The first team consists of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue, who came 17th in the Dakar in 2011, fifth in 2012 and running third last year before mechanical troubles dropped them back to 27th.

The second team will be piloted by our own Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, who need no introduction. The team are currently competing in the 2013 Donaldson SA National Cross Country Championship and placed third over the weekend at the Sun City event. This is their first Dakar and comes as a welcome surprise to the motoring community.

The bakkie & route

At this, the 35th Dakar, the route will start in Rosario, Argentina and end in Valparaiso, Chile, with thirteen stages crossing over 8 500km. For the first time in its five years of South American Dakars, the route will go through Bolivia and have a large section devoted to the Andes regions.


Ford fans will be able to keep track of the team’s progress in the lead up to the event as well as follow the teams’ progress during the 2014 Dakar on Ford South Africa’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, join the conversation by using #FordDakar.


Base Vehicle                                 Ford Ranger 4×4 Double Cab

Engine                                             Ford Aluminum 5.0L-4V V8 with twin Independent Variable Cam Timing

Engine Management                  Magneti Marelli

Power                                               260kW @4500 r/min

Torque                                             560Nm @4100 r/min

Rev limit                                          5500rpm

Fuel consumption (L/100 km)             90L / 100km in sandy racing conditions and 28L / 100km on normal road driving


Suspension                                     Independent Front and Rear; Twin BOS Dampers/Wheel; Antiroll Bar Front and Rear

Brakes                                               Brembo Water Cooled Rear; Brembo Air Cooled Front

Fuel Cell                                            500L

Transmission                                   Sadev 6 Speed Sequential, permanente 4 wheel drive


Differential                                       Limited Slip Differential Unit Front and Rear

Drive wheels                                     16 inch Evocorse rims fitted with 245/85 – 16 Michelin tyres

Top speed                                          170km/h

Mass                                                     1975kg