Prototype Ford Bronco R Race Truck Fails to Finish 2019 Baja 1000
The excruciating desert trial left the new Bronco-based truck broken down over halfway through.
Ford surprised a lot of people when it showed off the prototype Bronco R racing truck earlier this month, built on the same platform as the highly-hyped 2021 Ford Bronco and clearly previewing the production vehicle's boxy design. It then went even further and entered the truck in the famed Baja 1000 off-road race to mark the 50th anniversary of Rod Hall's iconic win in a '69 Bronco. But pure confidence can only take you so far in such punishing terrain, and this weekend the Ford Bronco R failed to reach the finish line.
Ford Performance tweeted out the disappointing result along with a note congratulating the team for getting as far as they did. To be fair, this isn't an uncommon occurrence at Baja. Every team that takes off from the race's starting point in Ensenada knows they may not complete the brutal endurance trial; in fact, just over 54 percent of the event's 264 entries completed the 800.5-mile mapped route. It took the top-finishing No. 10 Ford Raptor trophy truck over 16 hours to reach the end, while others in lower classes clocked in closer to 34 hours.
Still, this has got to sting for Ford. It's unclear exactly what gave out on the Bronco R to retire it from the race—according to Ford spokesman Mike Levine, the team was able to repair a broken skid plate, a busted control arm, and a few other unspecified issues before being forced to call it quits. Ford Performance also tweeted about a cooling fan issue 580 miles in, and with no further updates on its progress following that, it's as likely a final cause as any. With components being beaten and bashed on through mud, sand, and boulders, essentially everything is prone to fail at some point. This year's course was especially muddy and rocky following a series of heavy rainstorms that actually delayed the start of the race by a day.
Meanwhile, the Bronco R's only Class 2 competitor—the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus Boot—did end up finishing and managed to conquer Baja in 33 hours, 59 minutes. The McQueen-inspired off-roader took home the class victory, a feat which the original Boot failed to do as it was beaten by Rod Hall's aforementioned Bronco in 1969. The tables have turned a bit after 50 years, but if you think this is the last time the new Ford Bronco will make its way into the Baja 1000, we've got a bridge in Ensenada to sell you.
Like we mentioned, the Bronco R is built on the same modified T6 platform that will underpin the 2021 Ford Bronco. Look for its boxy greenhouse and flat beltline to also migrate to the production model, though those flared composite fenders are obviously there to accommodate the 18 inches of wheel travel offered by the Baja suspension and won't be available as an option. The Bronco R's twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 powertrain (Ford isn't giving displacement or power specs) is also going into the real Bronco.
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