Racing in desert
Brutal Off-road Competition Makes Ford Trucks Better
“Ford trucks won the CORR manufacturer’s championships in all three of the classes in which Ford competes,” says Cliff Irey, Truck Motorsports Team Lead for Ford. “The Ranger won in Pro Lite, while the F-150 won in Pro 2 for full-size, two-wheel-drive trucks and Pro 4 for full-size, four-wheel-drive trucks. What’s more, we won them all without winning the driver’s championships, which demonstrates the strong team effort that Ford put forth in CORR this year.”
The CORR series is comprised of sixteen races held on clay-surfaced, closed tracks with jumps, chicanes, and other off-road-inspired hazards that test the skills of the drivers—and the durability of the trucks. This year over the Labor Day weekend in Crandon, Wisc., Scott Douglas drove his AMSOIL “Super Team” Rancho Suspension Kumho Tire Ford F-150 to third place in the Saturday Pro 2 race and took second place in Sunday’s Pro 2 event. He then went on to take race wins in the Pro 4 events on Saturday and Sunday. To top off the weekend, Douglas took the checkered flag in the BorgWarner Shootout. “Five podium finishes by one driver made for one very memorable weekend,” says Irey.
The BITD series consists of three major divisions: stock, slightly modified, and open classes. Ford competes within ten different classes in these divisions; up to 300 trucks can compete in any given race. The highlight of the five-race season is the TSCO Vegas to Reno race. Dubbed the longest, single-day, off-road race in the United States, the course covers 584 miles of desert terrain. Of the 119 trucks that started the event this year, only 67 finished; of the 25 vehicles entered in stock, production-based classes, 20 were Ford trucks. Sixty-one percent of the Ford trucks entered finished the event, compared with 20.7 percent of non-Ford entrants. Mike Ruane and his son, Jason, piloted Team Orbit’s class 7200 Ford Ranger to another first-place finish in the race—the team’s fourth consecutive Vegas to Reno win.
>“The long-distance, off-road desert racing teams are great believers in the Ford product,” states Irey. “When you consider that roughly 50 percent of trucks in these races never complete them, the truck that a team chooses is critical to their success. You can’t win if you can’t cross the finish line.”
While racing is certainly action-packed and exciting, it serves a very real purpose that directly benefits Ford customers. “We learn a tremendous amount about how to design and manufacture trucks that are tough and durable in our long-distance, off-road desert racing efforts,” relates Irey. “What we learn in off-road racing goes directly back to Ford engineers to help in our powertrain and chassis improvements. The extreme environments of off-road racing ultimately make for better Ford trucks.”