Ford's Street-Legal Off-Road Racer - The Bronco 4600 Stock Class
There are two well-known mantras amongst car manufacturers. One is "racing improves the breed," and the other is "win on Sunday . . sell on Monday."
During its long history, Ford was very much involved in all kinds of racing, from glorious Shelby Mustangs and Formula One to legendary wins on 24 Hours of Le Mans and NASCAR. And, even though the Ford Bronco was the unlikely basis for a racing machine, it proved to be very successful in off-road competition, showing that Ford's decision to put it into competition was spot on.
Fast forward to 2021, and we have a brand-new Ford Bronco with brand-new technology that's getting ready to battle competitors on the trail, the street and the track. A couple of days ago, Ford introduced a unique, custom-built, and extreme racing version for ULTRA4 4400 Unlimited Class at the King of the Hammers event, which will be held on February 6th.
With its unique suspension, massive off-road tires, bespoke chassis, and host of other special components, the ULTRA4 4400 Bronco is an all-terrain beast, but a very distant relative of the production model.
Even though Ford fans are excited to see this specialized Bronco race in such a high-profile event as King of Hammers, Ford has set the stakes even higher with yesterday's release of the second racing Bronco. This time it's the Bronco 4600 model, which is, in our opinion, much more interesting and essential for Ford.
The reason for that claim is the fact that 4600 is a stock class in this event, which means that the vehicles entered are in nearly the exact same configuration as regular production models. Same drivetrain, suspension (more or less), chassis, and body, and the only modifications allowed are some suspension components, safety equipment, bigger tires, and removal of somebody panels to reduce the weight.
This means that on February 6th, for the first time ever, we'll see precisely what the production-ready 2021 Bronco is capable of. The Bronco 4400 Unlimited is much faster but isn't road-legal. The Bronco 4600 Stock is the one everybody wants, and you can put license plates on it.
Ford has raised the stakes with two race-ready Broncos attacking two classes, and after the Bronco R's disappointing debut in 2019, Ford's racing team needs this win. With an all-out effort for this year's King of Hammers event, Ford showed that it genuinely believes in the "racing improves the breed" mantra. Next on the list is "win on Sunday. . . sell on Monday," although the hype surrounding the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport is already so high that even if the Bronco 4600 Stock fails to win, it won't affect the popularity.
So, let's look at Bronco 4600 Stock specifications and see what Ford has done to this vehicle.
First, they used a standard production two-door chassis (with Sasquatch package) and a 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with 310 hp. It's very interesting to see a brand new Bronco frame put to the test, since it features a new chassis architecture and is made of brand-new Gen 3 steel. Called Fortiform 980 GI and produced by a company called ArcelorMittal, this innovative material is known for being much more robust than regular steel and is capable of being stretched into 35% thinner panels, without compromising its structural rigidity and strength.
This material is used for creating chassis, floor panels, and other structural parts for the 2021 Bronco. We're confident that Ford thoroughly tested this material before deciding to use it in a production vehicle. Still, we also know that the rigors of racing will provide the final verdict on this new and innovative steel alloy.
Due to the King of Hammers event's gruesome nature and its notoriously tough course, the 4600 Stock Class does, however, allow for some modifications to the suspension to help cope with the terrain. That's why the Bronco 4600 Stock is equipped with heavy-duty front portal hubs, new control arms, and a modified steering rack with its own cooling system. There are also tougher Dana electronic locker differentials, aftermarket half shafts and hubs, as well as a winch in the front, just in case.
Even though the roll-cage looks ordinary, Ford proudly announced that it's the first off-road roll-cage approved by FIA.
This means that the Bronco 4600 Stock will prove its off-road capabilities while serving as a rolling testbed for aftermarket parts and components. Ford says that all of its modifications will be offered for sale to the general public, which means you can equip your future Bronco precisely like the 4600 Stock version. We're sure that it will be less comfortable than the ordinary two-door 2021 Bronco, but it will also be unique, cool, and street-legal.
An additional interesting detail is the featured patriotic paint scheme, which resembles the Baja Bronco models of the '70s.
For all of you racing fans, the good news is that the race will be live-streamed, so all you need to do is click on this LINK and watch it live on Saturday, February 6th.