Ford on Wednesday announced plans to contest the 2025 Dakar Rally in a vehicle with Raptor branding. The new program is the latest in an expanding pool of racing operations for Ford Performance, which also races in the WRC with a Puma and in NASCAR, drag racing, Australian Supercars, GT4 racing, and GT3 racing with various Mustang-badged racers.
Ford calls the upcoming racer only a "Raptor-branded race truck," suggesting it could get the branding from any of the Ranger, F-150, or Bronco lines. Ford could also choose to create a unique vehicle from the ground up with the Raptor name. Audi currently contests the Dakar Rally with the RS Q E-Tron, a truck built off a similar philosophy of combining road car branding terminologies into something that is nothing like any product the brand actually offers. Going that avenue would allow Ford to build an even more radical truck, but the complicated Audi's reliability has been a major issue since it debuted in 2022 and Ford may want to avoid a similar fate.
The truck is set to be built by M-Sport, a long-time partner of Ford's factory and customer World Rally Championship initiatives. Ranger-branded trucks have competed in the Dakar Rally since 2014, but a Ford has never finished on the overall podium in the rally's marquee car class. With top Ranger driver Martin Prokop currently running two hours behind the leading Audi and ranked seventh with two stages left in this year's event, that fact seems unlikely to change before the Raptor-branded truck debuts in 2025.
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