Ford teases 2025 Dakar Raptor, says Mustang V8 is here to stay

Published Jan 19, 2024


Ford went all out to combine business and pleasure at its 2024 motorsport season launch event at the home of Nascar in Charlotte, North Carolina this week.

In attendance were top executives such as Ford CEO Jim Farley as well as many of the Blue Oval’s top racing drivers, who provided some exciting insights to attendees, including a teaser of the 2025 Dakar Rally Raptor.

During the presentation Ford briefly showed the front end of the heavily modified Ford Ranger Raptor desert challenger for next year, with its widened grille and blue Ford block lettering.

The technical details remain under wraps for now, but it is likely to retain Ford’s 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost engine.

The current Ford Ranger T1+ Dakar challenger is built right here in South Africa by Neil Woolridge Motorsport, but is based on the previous-generation Ranger. That was always part of the plan as Dakar 2024 was seen as a launching pad and learning curve for Ford Performance.

Presenting the “teaser” at the Charlotte event, two-time Ford Bronco King of the Hammers Champion Loren Healy said the team had seen incredible progress at Dakar this year.

“The plan this year is to finish and learn, and they’re on course to do exactly that. It’s impossible to overstate how tough that race is on the race team, the drivers and the navigators,” Healy stated.

“I’m so stoked about Ford’s plan to take Raptor to Dakar next year,” he added. “Horsepower, shocks, wheels and clearance to tackle the harshest terrain on earth.. It really is the embodiment of the Raptor spirit.. wild, powerful, capable and fierce.”

ALSO READ: Dakar Rally’s penultimate day brings sting in the tail

Ford CEO Jim Farley said off-roading was a space where Ford could be a dominant brand like no other company.

“We’ve discovered this whole big, huge exciting business with Raptor, and it’s just the beginning of our off-road ambition,” Farley said.

Mustang V8 here to stay

Earlier in the presentation the CEO celebrated the Mustang and its motorsport successes, reiterating that its Coyote V8 engine was instrumental in these exploits.

"What other car in the world races on six continents on any given weekend? And that’s because we have a V8 engine,” Farley enthused.

“We can race in Aussie supercars, we can race in Formula Drift, we can race in NHRA, we can race at Bathurst coming up and Nascar of course.. we have grassroots, we have our own make racing series with Mustang and now we’re going to go to Le Mans with GT4. No other car on the planet races like that every day of the week.”

While most carmakers are downsizing their engines in the wake of emissions laws and a move to electrification, Farley made it clear that the V8 Mustang was going nowhere.

“We’re going to continue to invest,” the CEO said. “And if we’re the only one on the planet making a V8 affordable sports car for everyone in the world, so be it.”

However he also added that vehicles like the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, not universally liked among Mustang fans for obvious reasons, would allow the company to sell ICE vehicles for a long time to come.

ALSO READ: Ford Mustang Dark Horse launch drive in Charlotte North Carolina

“We don’t make commodity products, we make products for people who work, and work with their hands, and we make passion products, like Bronco and Mustang,” Farley stated.

“That’s what we do at Ford, and when we’ve gone away from that formula, that’s when it hasn’t worked out.

“We want Ford to be a powerhouse when it comes to passion products and work products. No more boring products.”

Motorsport as a business

As for the racing side of the equation, Farley said he wanted to make motorsport a business that could sustain itself, rather than just an extension of the marketing department.

This entails selling merchandise to fans and selling race cars to customers, such as the Mustang GT3 and GT4. There’s also an obvious connection to the development of road cars.

“We have a Raptor because we raced at Baja,” Farley enthused.

“We would not have a GTD if we weren’t going to Le Mans,” he added.

“Our R&D for future vehicles will be on the race track, and you’ll be able to buy ‘em at Ford, and that is really what this circle is all about in our business of racing.”

And that is certainly music to the ears of any car enthusiast.

You can watch the full Ford presentation in the YouTube video below:

IOL Motoring

Sources: Ford, Motor1, Carscoops