The Ford Bronco has returned with a vengeance over the past few years. First came the diminutive Bronco Sport. Then, the wildly capable, Jeep Wrangler-challenging big boy Bronco.
But Ford isn’t content to just sell Broncos to mall- and rock-crawlers, it wants the world to know its trucks are the most capable around. And to do that, the company entered a number of purpose-built race trucks in the toughest off-road challenges around, including the Baja 1000.
Now, it’s going a step further with the 2023 Bronco DR, a new $200,000-plus production race truck that will make its race debut in the 2022 Baja 1000 before going on sale in 2023.
Lacking things like a windshield and backup camera, the Bronco DR is built for off-road adventures, so don’t expect to take this thing down to Starbucks for an iced macchiato — unless that Starbucks has a drive-thru in the middle of the Mojave.
It’s designed “to give hardcore off-road enthusiasts a Built Wild, turnkey 4x4 to compete in desert racing events, including the unforgiving Baja 1000,” said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director, in a press release.
It’s based on the production 4-door Bronco, but with some significant updates to make it an absolute beast offroad. Though specs haven’t been finalized, Ford says Bronco DR is targeted to have 55% more front suspension travel (15.8-inches) than the standard four-door Bronco Badlands and 58% more travel in the rear (17.4-inches).
With a race weight of 6,200 pounds (partly thanks to a hefty 65-gallon racing fuel tank located beneath the rear cargo area) and more than 400 horsepower, the Bronco DR has 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 tires mounted to beadlock wheels to keep things going. The truck has the same disc brakes as the standard Bronco, albeit with updated brake pads.
In a hilarious disclaimer, the Ford press release advises potential buyers to “always consult the Owner’s Manual before off-road driving, know your terrain and trail difficulty, and use appropriate safety gear.” Luckily, a full safety cage and racing seats will keep folks safe if they get a little too enthusiastic in the sand.
The Bronco DR carries over the frame and body structure from the standard four-door Bronco, but the air conditioning, radio, and all the glass have been removed (since you don’t need that stuff when you’re pounding through the desert at 70 miles per hour). Fixed side panels replace the doors, which means driver and passenger will need to slide through the windows to get in and out.
“The Bronco DR allows customers who have an interest in racing and have the means” to compete even if they don’t know where to start, explained Bronco spokesperson Jiyan Cadiz. “We’re helping the hardest core enthusiast.”
He also suggested that this wasn’t meant to be a mere marketing stunt for Ford, either. “We’re here to make money at the end of the day,” Cadiz said. “We’re initially talking 50 units and we’ll see what demand is. To have customers racing is great for growing the Bronco brand.”
Expect more details about the Bronco DR, including how to order one, next year when the final product is revealed ahead of its 2022 Baja 1000 race debut.
And if you want to know what the Bronco DR is really like, I’ve asked Ford for one to review so sign up for my free car reviews newsletter on Substack. For now, check out more photos of the new race truck below.