Off-Roading

Ford confirms Bronco's return to off road racing, announces Baja 1000 entry

Ford has confirmed that the Bronco will return to off road racing this year, as a prototype.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford will mark the new Bronco's return to off road racing in this year's Baja 1000. AutomotiveMap's first reported that Ford was working on an off-road racing variant of the SUV earlier in October.

Today, the automaker unveiled the Bronco R next to the 1969 Baja 1000 winner Bronco, which was piloted by Rod Hall and Larry Minor. The new Bronco R will be driven in part by Shelby Hall, Rod's granddaughter, who will drive in honor of her grandfather.

The top-secret event took place at the start of SEMA week in Las Vegas, on the day that Rod Hall is being honored at the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, located nearby the dry lake bed where the new race vehicle was revealed to a small contingent of the automotive press.

The one-off tribute vehicle will test the powertrain and suspension of the forthcoming Bronco model, which will officially debut in the spring of 2020. It features numerous tributes to the Hall Racing history including the No. "2069" on the rear quarter panel wing. The "20" tells of the class of the vehicle while the "69" signifies what year Hall Racing first won the race, which was then known as the Mexican 1000.

Ford Bronco R

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The new Bronco R will race in the 2019 Baja 1000.

"I am so excited and so honored to be a part of Ford's team to bring the Bronco back to off-road racing," said Shelby Hall as the dust settled and she stepped out of the restored Bronco that her grandfather Rod Hall drove in the 1969 Baja 1000. That legendary win spawned a career that bestowed him with the accolade of "winningest racer of the Baja 1000" and made him one of the most-renowned desert racers in the world.

Shelby Hall is a third-generation Hall family racer, who was trained by and had raced with her grandfather many times, and now will be part of Ford's team when this year's Baja starts in Encenada, Mexico later this month. "The adventure continues for my family—and for Rod, even though he passed away earlier this year. It will be his 50th birthday the day the race starts and the 50th anniversary of his Baja 1000 win, when we strap into the new Bronco R race truck. We will be taking the Bronco back to the Baja and I can imagine him sitting in this new race Bronco—and whooping it up!"

The Bronco R's story all began in July, hidden behind a security door in a Ford studio basement. Led by Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer, the Bronco R was co-developed by Ford Performance in collaboration with builder Geiser Bros. Design and Development and Baja 1000 Trophy Truck champion Cameron Steele.

Ford Unveils Bronco R, Will Return to Baja 1000 | Ford Performance www.youtube.com

"For me, it's an awesome opportunity to step into the new Bronco R in the upcoming Baja 1000 and follow in the footsteps of a famed racer that I got to see and know as a kid growing up, " said Cameron Steele, one of the country's top off-road racers who started watching the Baja races at age 2, began navigating for his Dad 36 years ago and started his own career 32 years ago. "It's mysterious to be in these shoes."

The team created a design that is informed by Ford's Bronco heritage and modern off-roading equipment requirements. The team used cutting-edge tools including virtual reality, polygon modeling, and 3D printing to develop parts. Low-fidelity prototyping and role-playing aided their problem-solving during development.

Ford says that this model has a compressed body height, long-travel suspension, and ultra-wide stance, giving a few solid clues about what to expect from the forthcoming Bronco.

It has a slightweight composite body that includes a clamshell hood and roof. There are also clean body panels that are reminiscent of the first-generation Bronco. Washers inscribed with the Bronco name are can be found around the exterior.

Recaro seats provide the interior accommodations for three. There is also a MoTeC data acquisition system.

The automaker is using new 3D printing technology to create face shields.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has announced that it has reached an agreement to partner with 3M and GE Healthcare to aid in the production of medical equipment needed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, colloquially known as coronavirus. Additionally, Ford will leverage its in-house 3D printing ability to produce 100,000 face shields per week. The move has the full support of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

"This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis," said Bill Ford, Ford's executive chairman. "At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company."

Ford 3M GE Healthcare The automaker is leveraging its manufacturing facilities to help with the crisis.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, 3M partner on respirators

Ford and 3M will increase the manufacturing capacity of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company's powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) utilizing a new design that could be procured in a Ford facility in Michigan by UAW workers.

According to Ford, the teams have been locating "off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150's cooled seats for airflow, 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours."

"Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment," said Jim Hackett, Ford's president and CEO. "We've been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs. We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus."

"We're exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M's capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they're needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford," said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. "It's crucial that we mobilize all resources to protect lives and defeat this disease, and I'm incredibly grateful to Ford and their employees for this partnership."

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's team is already at work on perfecting techniques.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, GE Healthcare team up to produce ventilators

In addition to the 3M partnership, Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare's existing ventilator. These ventilators could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site in addition to a GE location.

"We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19," said GE Healthcare President & CEO Kieran Murphy. "We are proud to bring our clinical and technical expertise to this collaboration with Ford, working together to serve unprecedented demand for this life-saving technology and urgently support customers as they meet patient needs."

Work on this initiative ties to a request for help from U.S. government officials.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has come up with a design for a filtration system.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

3D printing respirators and face shields

Ford's design team is working to create and test transparent full-face shield for medical workers and first responders. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

The first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals. Roughly 75,000 of these shields are expected to be finished this week and more than 100,000 face shields per week will be produced at Ford subsidiary Troy Design and Manufacturing's facilities in Plymouth, Mich.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has shown off a sketch of a disposable hood design.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

According to a release, Ford is leveraging its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan, and in-house 3D printing capabilities to manufacture disposable respirators, which are needed to help filter the air healthcare workers and first responders breathe. Once approved by the proper health agency, Ford will initially start at a pace equal to 1,000 per month but that production can grow quickly.

BroncoSportForum.com has posted what appears to be leaked information about the forthcoming Bronco Sport.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There's good reason to believe that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to the grades, packages, paint jobs, features, and powertrain options of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. On Thursday, BroncoSportForum.com had a user post images from Ford's dealer ordering portal.

The information below is what the images show. AutomotiveMap has not been able to independently verify the information.

There are five trim levels

The portal lists the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport model in Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels. Ford recently trademarked the Big Bed, Badlands, and Out Banks names in correlation with the name Bronco.

Ford frequently sells First Edition models. It's likely the Bronco Sport First Edition is a limited run of the first models that are slated to come off the line. Frequently these models feature special badging, a unique paint color, "First Edition" logos on the interior on floor mats and headrests.

All models are 4x4s.

That's not a surprise. The so-called Baby Bronco is expected to be similar in nature to a Jeep Renegade, which is quite capable in its own right. It rides on the same platform as and is manufactured in the same facility as the Ford Escape, which comes standard with front-wheel drive and is available with all-wheel drive.

The Bronco Sport will have a 105.1-inch wheelbase.

That's not the same as the Ford Escape. Despite the fact that they share a platform, the Escape has a wheelbase that's about 1.5 inches longer.

It will come in the buyer's choice of 10 paint jobs.

The colors listed in the leaked photos show Shadow Black, Rapid Red Metallic TC, Oxford White, Kodiak Brown, Iconic Silver, Cyber Orange Metallic TC, Carbonized Gray, Cactus Gray, Area 51, and Alto Blue Metallic TC.

Here are the other vehicles the paints are available on:

  • Shadow Black - Mustang Mach-E
  • Rapid Red Metallic TC - Explorer and Escape for a $395 surcharge
  • Oxford White - F-150 and Ranger
  • Iconic Silver - Mustang Mach-E, F-150, Transit, Ranger, Edge, Super Duty, Fiesta, and Mustang
  • Cyber Orange Metallic TC
  • Carbonized Gray - Mustang Mach-E

Some of the colors have been leaked previously in relation to the Bronco when AutomotiveTouchUp.com listed 2021 Ford Bronco paint touch up colors.

There are two roof colors.

Buyers can only choose from a black or gray roof. There is no indication that the model will be available with a body color roof.

The Badlands Package adds a touch of class.

If you won't want to opt for the full Badlands model, which is likely to be the top-tier model, buyers can opt for the Badlands Package. The images show that the package includes:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Automatic dimming rearview mirror
  • Body-color door handles
  • Heated front passenger seat
  • and two other components coded as "F6-A-L-SVT MINI PERF TWOTONE" and "FRONT 4-WAY HD RESTNT ST 1"

There's other stand alone package options.

The long list of addition options includes:

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • MyFord technology/6 speakers/SiriusXM
  • Power six-way passenger seat
  • Remote start
  • Reverse sensing system
  • Roof conversion - low opening (likely a removable roof; low opening may refer to a lesser amount of headroom, a common feature of sunroofs)
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Wireless charging
  • Cargo mat
  • Cargo management system
  • Engine block heater
  • Front license plate bracket

The Bronco Sport can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

A Class II Trailer Tow Package is listed as available. Class II hitches are rated to carry up to 3,500 pounds of gross trailer weight. This is the same capacity as the 2020 Ford Escape.

One size wheel and two types of tires are available.

Ford lists the tires as 225/65R17 A/T and 235/65R17 A/T. The 225/65R17 tires are the standard tires on the 2020 Ford Escape S, SE, and SE Sport. The others come on the Limited and XLT grades.

The form shows that the Bronco Sport rides on 17-inch wheels.

There are two engine choices.

It looks like the Bronco Sport will come standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is also available. Both engines are likely paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Automatic start-stop engine tech is standard.

This may be the most disappointing Bronco Sport news. However, it's not unexpected.

Cloth seats are standard. Leather-trimmed seats are available.

It looks like the cloth seats will be available in the Active Orange or Area 51 colors while there are also Ebony leather-trimmed seats. The good news is that these likely aren't the only options, just the options shown with the particular paint color the Ford spy chose.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is likely going on sale later this year.