A stock 2021 Bronco Badlands finished third in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally, driven by two Ford engineers. The podium finish came in the Pre-Runner Truck class.
Bronco engineer manager Jamie Groves and Seth Goslawski, another Bronco engineer, drove the majority of the 1,141 mile race across the Baja peninsula. Brad Lovell, a Bronco advisory panel member and prior NORRA winner, helped navigate and drove one stage during the five-day event.
“Bronco has a long, successful history racing down here so we wanted to put the new one to the test as our final Built Wild extreme testing validation. It exceeded our every expectation for performance across this treacherous environment,” said Groves. “This race is a key final pre-launch check box for what the Bronco can do.”
The Bronco Badlands used the factory 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, 10-speed SelectShift transmission, and 4WD with the automatic on-demand transfer case. The high-performance off-road stability suspension system on the Badlands features long-travel, coil-over Bilstein shock absorbers. A roll cage, harness belts, racing seats, and fire extinguishing system were racing additions.
The Badlands used stock 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. A Dana 44 M220 rear axle, and M210 independent front suspension with Spicer electronic lockers is included. The Badlands’ front sway-bar disconnect and Terrain Management System was particularly helpful traversing the unforgiving Mexican countryside.
“We topped 100 MPH in some dry lake beds,” Groves said. “The Bronco’s Baja mode was especially helpful. It keeps shift points at the right rpm, and the turbos spooled up so power is there when you need it. The brakes are more aggressive to slow quickly for rough terrain.”
The 2021 Bronco two-door and Bronco four-door SUVs arrive this summer. They will team up with the 2020 Bronco Sport that is available in showrooms now.