- The partnership between Ford and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) spans more than 25 years, with numerous local and international cross country (or rally-raid) race victories and championships won along the way
- In 2022 the benchmark was raised even higher as the new FIA T1+ regulations were implemented, introducing wider dimensions, much bigger wheels and longer-travel suspension for the four-wheel-drive cars
- The NWM team delivered again, producing a true beast of a machine in the mighty T1+ EcoBoost Ford Ranger (known internally as the T1+ EFR)
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The partnership between Ford and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) spans more than 25 years, with numerous local and international cross country (or rally-raid) race victories and championships won along the way.
Here are 10 fascinating facts about the Neil Woolridge Motorsport, its successes and the mighty NWM FIA T1+ Ford Ranger.
1. Designed, developed and built in Pietermaritzburg – for the world
From its production facility in the heart of Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, the Neil Woolridge Motorsport team designs, develops and builds the rally-raid Ford Ranger to the highest specification to compete in the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) and around the world.
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2. Chromoly tubing – the length of three Olympic swimming pools
A total of 150 metres of chromoly tubing is used to manufacture a single NWM Ranger – equivalent to the length of three Olympic swimming pools! Furthermore, 15kg of welding rods and 10kg of chassis paint is used in the build for each vehicle.
3. 1.8km of wiring, 110 m2 of carbon fibre – all produced in South Africa
The sophisticated wiring harness for the NWM Ranger is locally manufactured by MJR Technologies in Gauteng, which also supplies the high-tech Motec vehicle management system. In total, approximately 1,8km of wiring is used in each NWM Ranger – equivalent to twice the circumference of Durban’s 55 000-seat Moses Mabhida Stadium.
4. When only the best will do
Some of the major components are sourced globally specifically for the NWM T1+ EFR, including the 3,5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine which is supplied by Ford Performance in the United States. The engine is tuned by NWM on its advanced hub dynamometer to meet strict FIA power and torque curves, with peak outputs of 300kW and 600Nm.
The team recently had to ship an EcoBoost-powered Ranger to France for the FIA to conduct testing on its own dynamometer to ensure that the vehicle complies with the regulations – and it passed with flying colours.
5. 480 litres of fuel
Rally-raid competition, and specifically marathon-style events like the Dakar Rally, is characterised by long stage distances in punishing terrain. The longest competitive stage on the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia was 465km on day four.
With refuelling only allowed at designated points during the liaison, the cars have to carry hefty fuel loads. Accordingly, the NWM Ranger is equipped with a massive 480-litre fuel cell produced by Aero Tec Laboratories in the UK – the same company that has supplied all Formula 1 teams for nearly three decades.
6. Huge 37-inch tyres
The introduction of the new FIA T1+ regulations saw the top-tier teams switch from the 32-inch tyres used previously to huge 37-inch tyres this year. Each tyre and 17-inch rim combination weighs in at a beefy 48kg. The competitors are allowed to carry a maximum of two spare wheels, which are stored under the cabin of the NWM Ranger.
7. 50 degrees Celsius to minus zero
Rally-raid events are staged all over the world in some of the harshest conditions, accompanied by extreme weather and temperatures. It’s not uncommon for competitors to have to contend with the ambient temperature climbing to well over 40 degrees Celsius in the desert.
Even in local races the cabin temperature regularly exceeds 50 degrees celcius, so the NWM Rangers are equipped with air-conditioning to help the crews, and also to protect the heat-sensitive electronic control systems located in the cabin. To manage the cooling of the engine, gearbox and differentials, the NWM Ranger has no less than 14 coolers built into the vehicle.
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8. 31 Rangers built, debut wins in 2013 and 2021
Since 2011 NWM has built 31 Ford Rangers – 28 powered by the roaring Mustang 5.0L V8 engine, and three with the cutting-edge 3,5-litre EcoBoost V6 in T1 and T1+ guise. Several new T1+ cars are currently in the construction pipeline for local and international customers.
9. 50 wins, 220 podiums globally
The locally produced NWM Ford Ranger has been a remarkable success, both in South Africa and around the world. Over the past decade, it has notched up no less than 50 wins and 220 podiums in national and regional championships.
10. Aiming for Dakar
A new chapter has commenced in 2022, as the new FIA T1+ EcoBoost Ford Ranger grabbed the attention of the international rally-raid community. This has led to a pioneering partnership between NWM and the renowned M-Sport team in the UK, announced in April 2022.
Ford’s new SA-built Ranger will debut a host of new tech, here’s what to expect
Ford's popular Ranger will launch in South Africa sometime this year, the company has pinned down a definite date as yet. However, they did share more information on the technology we can expect to see once it arrives on local shores, Briefly News reports.
For starters, the analogue display makes way for a 20cm fully-digital instrument cluster displaying the speedometer, tachometer and driving modes among other information. The instrument cluster also incorporates body-style avatars and different layouts can be chosen displaying driver-assist technologies and extra gauges. The different on-road and off-road driving modes carry a different theme when selected.
The US carmaker's Sync infotainment system is available in its latest guise. Wireless functionality to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available and Ford says the smartphone connectivity is designed to make the Sync 4A system easier to navigate. If the customer has cellular coverage, SYNC 4A can provide real-time information like fuel pricing, traffic alerts and more.
Source: Briefly News