Ford Bronco fans, this isn’t the new Bronco Raptor you’ve been waiting for but it isn’t some one-off racing vehicle, either. Yes, Ford will build a few of these for people who want a wild Bronco with V8 power and the ability to conquer sand dunes in a single bound. You just won’t be able to drive it to your local Cars & Coffee event.
Say hello to the Bronco DR, which stands for Desert Racer. As the photos clearly illustrate, this isn't a typical production Bronco with some bigger tires and fat fender flares. Ford isn't ready to completely spill the beans on this bonkers off-roader, but where you'd normally find a boosted engine with either four or six cylinders, the Bronco DR packs a 5.0-liter V8 making "at least" 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts). It gets to the ground through a 10-speed automatic transmission borrowed from the Ford F-150.
To handle high-speed trips off the beaten path, Ford turned to Muiltimatic for DSSV Dampers with 80-millimeter bodies and Multimatic-designed billet aluminum lower control arms. When all is said and done, Ford expects the Bronco DR to have 55.1 percent more suspension travel in the front and 58.6 percent more in the rear compared to a stock Bronco Badlands. That translates to 15.8 inches in front and 17.4 inches at the back, giving the Bronco DR a 47-degree approach angle, 37-degree departure angle, and a 33-degree breakover angle.
Gallery: 2023 Ford Bronco DR
Power and suspension aren't much without tires, and the DR rides on big 37-inch Mud-Terrain tires from BFGoodrich. Beadlock wheels keep the tires in place on the wheels, and with a front track of 73.7 inches and a rear track of 73.3 inches, the Bronco DR aims to keep itself steady at speed.
As you'd expect with a dedicated race vehicle, you aren't going to climb inside and find a bevy of creature comforts. You will find a full safety cage with a pair of racing seats and a Motec C187 display, along with other data-acquisition gear. Though it's built on a standard Bronco four-door frame, the rear is occupied by other items, not the least of which being additional cooling systems and a full-size spare tire. A 65-gallon fuel tank is below all of that, and to help lighten the load, all the body panels are fiberglass. Still, this Baja-bashing Bronco tips the scales at 6,200 pounds.
And bash Baja it will, or rather, that's the plan. Ford will run the Bronco DR in the 2022 Baja 1000, but this time around, the automaker wants to share the love. 50 Bronco DRs are planned for production in late 2022, each intended for off-road use only and each priced somewhere in the mid-$200,000 range.
"Bronco DR exists to give hardcore off-road enthusiasts a built wild, turnkey 4x4 to compete in desert racing events, including the unforgiving Baja 1000," said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director. "It started with the Bronco four-door – the platform and chassis are production true, and then we modified and optimized every aspect and built the vehicle hardcore off-road enthusiasts want."