Ford Bronco DR Desert Racer Is A $200,000 Off-Road Beast

No, you're not looking at the much-awaited Ford Bronco Raptor. Still, the Bronco DR or Desert Racer is as close as you'll get to an all-conquering, Baja-ready Bronco truck. The Bronco DR is a first of its kind and offers better off-road capabilities than any Bronco ever made. However, this badass Bronco is not street-legal, but where else can you get a Baja 1000 desert race SUV straight from the factory?

"Bronco DR is our ultimate turnkey off-road racing SUV, engineered to put enthusiasts behind the wheel of a desert racing force," said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director. Ford is initially making 50 units of Bronco DR, and you can get your hands on one by late 2022, but there's a catch: Prices start in the mid-$200,000 range.

Sure, $200k is a lot of money for a Ford Bronco, but you get a ton of bespoke off-road kit in return.The blokes at Ford Performance burned the midnight oil to re-engineer "every facet of the Bronco DR to help ensure multiple days of torture over grueling terrain in the high temperatures of the SCORE Baja 1000 in Baja California, Mexico," said Ford. The team started with a Bronco four-door and went haywire. Ford is not yet ready to share all the yummy bits, but it did reveal enough to whet our appetites further.

For starters, Bronco DR has a bespoke H.O.S.S. (High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension) system with new Multimatic Positional Selective Dampers with 80-millimeter bodies and finned fluid cooling channels. It's quite a mouthful, but it simply means the larger dampers can handle more punishment over inhospitable terrain. Also included are lightweight Multimatic billet aluminum control arms. Ford claims Bronco DR has 55.1-percent more front suspension travel (15.8-inches) and 58.6-percent more (17.4-inches) at the rear than a four-door Bronco Badlands.

The newest Bronco DR has a wider front and rear track (73.7-inches and 73.3-inches, respectively) to make room for custom beadlock wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 all-season tires. Ford adds the tires feature a space-age Krawl-Tek compound to improve grip over rocky or slippery terrain. In addition, the tires have Linear Flex Zones to enhance traction during aired-down driving scenarios.

Under the hood is a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with no less than 400 horsepower on tap, turning all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission derived from the F-150. It also gets independent electronic locking front and rear differentials with 4.70:1 final drive ratios.

Other mods include more oversized air intakes on the roof to channel cooling air towards its rear-mounted radiator, four-wheel disk brakes with upgraded brake pads, a 65-gallon fuel tank (for maximum endurance), and an optimized electric power steering system to improve wheel articulation and driving feel.

Meanwhile, the vintage-inspired styling consists of resin transfer molded (RTM) fiberglass body panels to save weight. Bronco DR also gets a single-piece grille, a tubular metal front bumper, and side panels inspired by Bronco R. "It's not just a Bronco with some stripes on it," said Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer. "We were inspired by extreme rally cars and then went all in." Despite its tuner vibe, the Bronco Desert Racer has stock headlights, taillights, and trail sights.

Of course, the cockpit lacks the usual creature comforts like carpets and air-conditioning. Still, it does have an FEA-optimized Multimatic full safety cage with integrated OE ACCRA tubes, a pair of racing seats, and a MOTEC C187 display with cloud-based data access and CAN data acquisition system. As we said, this turnkey Baja racer is ready to roll.

"At the heart of what we did here was capture the enthusiasm surrounding Bronco, and then build on it by creating a desert racer that is competition-ready coming out of the factory – something Ford has never done before," concluded Rushbrook.

Ford will reveal more about its newest Bronco Desert Racer in the coming months. And while Bronco DR is not road-legal, it isn't reasonable to assume Ford is not working on a street-legal version. Is Bronco DR the precursor to Bronco Raptor? We're keeping all our fingers crossed.