Ford Built a Caged Explorer ST With GT500 Brakes and Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires

The hopped-up SUV aims to hustle four people around a track at speed.

byLewin Day|
Ford News photo


When it comes to performance track vehicles, your first thought probably isn't a large Ford SUV. However, the company has built the Explorer ST for several years now for those looking to haul passengers in something with a bit of a sporty edge. At the upcoming Woodward Dream Cruise, Ford will be showing off its new tuned Explorer ST, built especially for the Ford Performance Racing School, reports Motor1.

Given that it's set to do regular track duty at the driving school, the safety features are perhaps the most immediately relevant. The tuned SUV gets a rollcage, window nets, and of course, proper Recaro racing seats for each occupant. There's only four, but each position comes with a four-point harness to keep everyone snugged in tight. Naturally, the outside gets a comprehensive sticker treatment so you know this one is special.

A stock Ford Explorer ST for comparison., Ford

Power-wise, there's reportedly a tune from HP Tuners, giving a little more pep from the stock twin-turbocharged V6's 400 horsepower. However, Ford's own press release is shy on this so it's not clear how much extra oomph is on tap. Handling-wise, there's a set of sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 21" wheels, though no suspension mods listed. To bring things to a stop, however, there's a set of front brake rotors from the Shelby GT500 paired with six-piston Brembo calipers, which should handle the job nicely.

The build aims to put a spotlight on the Ford Performance Racing School, and in particular, the exclusive driving classes it runs for owners of its various ST line vehicles and other performance models. The most relevant in this case is the ST SUV Experience, complimentary to owners of the Edge ST and Explorer ST. The course aims to teach driving skills to get the best out of the performance SUVs, as well as familiarizing drivers with the technology in their vehicle.

The Explorer's sheer size and shape certainly makes it an outlier in the track driving space, but it could be considered charming to see such a vehicle dressed up in the accoutrements of racing. Others, of course, may find it an assault to the senses. In any case, the market loves the Explorer ST. Ford will be showing off the build at "Mustang Alley" at the Woodward Dream Cruise on August 21, so you can lodge your adulation or offense in person. 

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