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APR 26, 2023 | Ford Performance Press Release

Ford Performance to Compete in Australia’s Toughest Off-Road Race with SCORE-International Baja 1000 Class-Winning Ranger Raptor

Ranger Raptor parked in desert at sunset
  • Ford Ranger is ready for the next stage of its strategic placement as Ford Performance’s global off-road racing platform, the Tatts Finke Desert Race, Australia’s most challenging off-road racing event. 

  • The Baja 1000 class-winning Ranger Raptor will reunite with father-son driving duo Brad and Byam Lovell of Lovell Racing.

  • 2023’s event marks the first Finke entry for both Ford and Lovell Racing.

  • The Ford Performance team will be assisted with logistics, event management and vehicle servicing by Walkinshaw Performance.

MELBOURNE, Australia, April 27, 2023 – Ford Performance is proud to announce its race-prepared Ranger Raptor1 will compete in Australia’s Tatts Finke Desert Race, only months after conquering the 2022 SCORE-International Baja 1000.

Continuing the global Ford effort that began with the Baja 1000, the Ranger Raptor will compete in the Production 4WD class at Finke, using the same race-prepared Ranger Raptor that won its class at the Baja 1000 which was built by Kelly Racing in Australia before final testing and development by Ford Performance and Lovell Racing.

The modifications were kept to vehicle and crew safety items, wheels/tires, extra lights, underbody/vehicle protection and a 160-liter fuel cell fitted into the truck bed. 

“Bringing the Ranger Raptor to the Finke Desert Race is the next stage of Ford Performance’s strategic global racing plan,” explained Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Ranger is our flagship platform for global off-road racing, and after conquering the Baja 1000 in the Stock Mid-Size class, we decided the next stop should be back to Australia, where the production truck was developed, to tackle the toughest off-road race down under.”

With Ford Performance and Ford Australia working together, this program continues to be a true global effort to showcase the Built Ford Tough nature of the Ranger Raptor.

“We know this truck has all the requirements to be successful at this event, but we’re not going to be resting on our laurels. This will be a full Ford Performance effort to ensure we are putting our best foot forward for this event,” said Rushbrook. 

Father and son team Brad and Byam Lovell will pair up to drive the vehicle in the grueling desert challenge. An Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer, Brad Lovell runs one of Ford Performance’s key off-road racing teams – Lovell Racing. The Lovells are intimately associated with the Ranger Raptor after the running the team and driving it to the win at the Baja 1000.

“The Finke Desert Race is one of the toughest events on the off-road calendar, and one that we’ve wanted to take on for a long time,” said Brad Lovell. "The Ranger Raptor is an incredible machine, and we're confident that it will perform exceptionally well in the race. We're looking forward to pushing ourselves and the vehicle to the limit.” 

Beyond Lovell Racing’s competitive activities in SCORE and Ultra4, Brad participates in a myriad of development duties for Ford, from conducting advanced off-road training to helping develop the Bronco, Bronco 4600 and Bronco DR. Additionally, Lovell Racing fits into the Ford family seamlessly, given that Brad’s primary co-drivers shift between his brother Roger and two sons, Adam and Byam. 

“Byam and I make a great team, and I'm confident that our combined skills and experience will help us navigate the challenging terrain and finish strong. We know the truck is good, it ran faultlessly at Baja, and we’re aiming for more of the same at Finke," he said.

Vehicle servicing, event management and logistical support will be provided to Ford Performance by Walkinshaw Performance, who have experience racing in the Production 4WD class at Finke and in the Australian Off-Road Championship. Walkinshaw Performance is a sister organisation of leading Ford Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United. 

“Working with the Ford Performance and Ford Australia teams at Finke is going to be fantastic,” said Gareth Brown, Business Manager Walkinshaw Performance. 

“We have great experience in the Australian Off-Road Championship, and at Finke, so to bring that experience to partner with the might of Ford Performance and Ford Australia with the Baja 1000 winning Ranger Raptor is sensational. We will do everything in our power to ensure the best possible result.”

“We’re really excited to bring our race-prepared Ranger Raptor to the Tatts Finke Desert Race,” said Justin Capicchiano, Ford Performance and Special Vehicles Engineering manager, Australia. 

“We were so proud of how it performed at the SCORE-International Baja 1000 last year and to race it in our own backyard is fantastic. 

“To have Brad Lovell behind the wheel of the Ranger Raptor again is a dream,” said Capicchiano. “He knows the truck and he knows desert racing.”

The Tatts Finke Desert Race is Australia’s toughest off-road endurance race, and the 2023 event will mark the first time that Ford and Lovell Racing will compete. Covering a total distance of over 460 kilometers between Alice Springs and Aputula (Finke), the race attracts competitors from all over the world and is known for its harsh conditions and challenging terrain. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Ford Performance to the Tatts Finke Desert Race for the first time in 2023,” said Finke Desert Race President Antony Yoffa. “Ford is a power in world motorsport, and its entry in our race reflects the Finke Desert Race’s position in the off-road racing landscape globally.”

Following its successful outing at Baja, the Ranger Raptor made an appearance at King of the Hammers before receiving a minor refresh from Lovell Racing and Huseman Engineering before returning to Australia to prepare for Finke. 

The 2023 Tatts Finke Desert Race will run across the weekend of June 9-12.


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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for customers and deepen their loyalty. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, along with connected services. The company does that through three customer-centered business segments: Ford Blue, engineering iconic gas-powered and hybrid vehicles; Ford Model e, inventing breakthrough EVs along with embedded software that defines always-on digital experiences for all customers; and Ford Pro, helping commercial customers transform and expand their businesses with vehicles and services tailored to their needs. Additionally, Ford is pursuing mobility solutions through Ford Next, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 173,000 people worldwide. More information about the company and its products and services is available at


About Ford Performance

Ford's racing program is part of the Ford Performance organization based in Dearborn, Mich. It is responsible for major racing operations globally, including NASCAR (Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Craftsman Truck Series), IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, FIA World Rally Championship, Australian Supercars, Formula Drift, NHRA Funny Car, off-road desert racing, and sportsman drag racing. In addition, the organization also oversees the development of Ford's racing engines, as well as the outreach programs with all Ford Clubs and Ford enthusiasts. For more information regarding Ford racing's activities, please visit, www.facebook/FordPerformance, Ford Performance on Instagram and @FordPerformance on Twitter.


Matt Moran

Ford Australia

Ben Nightingale

Ford Australia


Dimity Mannering

Ford Australia


+61 412 254 388

+61 466 005 800


+61 466 005 900



1  Race-prepared Ranger Raptor is not available for sale to the general public