M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) are pleased to confirm that the Ford Ranger T1+ has completed a comprehensive test and development phase resulting in a major update enhancing chassis performance, cooling, and reliability.
Since last quarter of 2022, M-Sport and NWM have taken the Ford Ranger T1+ on a testing tour of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to understand the development direction for the already strong foundations established by NWM. In total M-Sport and NWM completed over 10,000 kilometres of development testing – equivalent to over two Dakar Rally distances. This intense development period saw M-Sport and NWM target vehicle performance and reliability.
In the area of vehicle performance, two major areas were addressed with updates to the chassis increasing strength and rigidity. The second area of major interest to M-Sport was the vehicle’s suspension, with M-Sport extending its long-term partnership with Reiger Suspension to now include rally-raid. The Ranger T1+ now sits on bespoke Reiger dampers, developed by Reiger who had personnel present during the early phases of the development programme. The setup the team arrived on has pushed the Ranger T1+ to a new level of capability, making it capable of taking on the Dakar Rally at competitive pace thanks to the varied conditions experienced during testing, including the colder temperatures of France in winter and the scorching summer sun in the dunes of Morocco.
The M-Sport NWM Ford Ranger T1+ development package had successfully passed its homologation inspection and is now fitted to all new deliveries of M-Sport NWM Ford Ranger T1+ cars with orders opening from 1st August 2023. Those interested in an M-Sport NWM Ford Ranger T1+ should contact either of the below contacts:
Neil Woolridge, NWM founder, said: “We value the partnership with M-Sport and Ford Performance, and the opportunity it has created to accelerate the development of our T1+ Ranger in preparation for the 2024 Dakar Rally. This will allow us to showcase the performance and capabilities of our car on the international stage.”
“The original T1+ Ranger package was very good, and our own testing and development in South Africa and our participation in the South African Rally Raid Championship has already seen significant improvements and competitiveness. Having our two local drivers, Gareth and Lance Woolridge, racing the cars and also being involved in the design and build of the vehicles has enabled us to make continuous improvements in the car since it debuted last year.”
“With M-Sport and NWM working together and completing around 10,000 km of testing since last year in several locations and weather conditions, we have been able to fine-tune every part of the car, and the progress has been really satisfying. We look forward to seeing how the updated T1+ Ranger fares on the international rally raid scene.”
Chris Williams, M-Sport Technical Director, said: “We studied the chassis carefully to find opportunities for structural improvements on stiffness and durability. These changes were made and validated through a rigorous test programme.”
“To accelerate our development we wanted to go to Reiger for their Dakar experience. Collaboratively we created a new damper and wishbone setup resulting in an improved motion ratio and making full use of Reiger’s latest damper technology, designed specifically for rally raid. We’ve tested the new setup in Fontjoncouse, and twice in Morocco, with significant improvements in performance.
“One of the biggest challenges has been optimising the cooling packages on the vehicle. We focussed on simplifying and improving efficiency of the coolers. Using CFD we have studied the aerodynamics to understand the vehicle air flow and learn how best to extract heat at different speeds. To validate our changes we’ve tested in Dubai, South Africa and Morocco which all had ambient temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius.
“The next phase for the Ranger T1+ is to see how it fares in competition. The main development phase is now complete, we need to prove it in competition. From here we will compete in more relevant competitions to ensure we are match fit ahead of the 2024 Dakar Rally.”