DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

MING Racing Sports unveils Ford F-150 T1+, aiming for Dakar

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Credit: MING Racing Sports

MING Racing Sports has upgraded their Ford F-150 EVO to T1+ specs, with which they intend to run select cross-country rallies in Europe and hopefully the Middle East before eventually bringing it to the 2025 Dakar Rally. The T1+ was revealed on Sunday with František Brutovský and Petr Hauptmann as driver and navigator, respectively.

Although it is a Ford, it takes some inspiration from the Audi RS Q e-tron that won the Dakar in January with Carlos Sainz. In an interview with Foto-Moto, Brutovský admitted that while he dislikes electric vehicles, the Audi has a “nice design”. This is reflected in the Ford’s rear, which has a curved rear cab similar to what is seen on the Audi sitting atop the truck bed. It uses a Ford 5.8-litre engine and goes up to 395 horsepower with over 600 newton-metres of torque.

The gear setup has been modified due to the larger wheels; T1+ cars are required to have 37-inch (93.98 cm) wheels, compared to 32 inches (81.28) on a T1.1 model. The subcategory also has higher standards in suspension travel at 350 millimetres versus 280 mm and a larger tread width at 320 mm over 245 mm. Naturally, these regulations make T1+ vehicles the best in rally raid today as they dominate the World Rally-Raid Championship and various domestic series to the point where some national series like the Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship have split it off from T1 into a separate class.

To focus on developing the car, MING Racing opted to skip the Hungarian Cross-Country Rally Championship’s season-opening Desert Express 300 over the weekend. The car is expected to make its competition début at the Baja Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in April. After conducting follow-up tests in Tunisia, the team will ramp up their racing schedule over the summer with the Baja España Aragón in Spain in July followed by the Baja Poland and Hungarian Baja in August. If those work out, they will then head to the Middle East for the Dubai International Baja and Qatar International Baja in November. Aragón, Poland, Qatar, and Dubai are rounds on the FIA World Baja Cup while the Hungarian Baja is part of the European Baja Cup.

However, Brutovský noted the team will likely also enter more races in Poland and their native Czech Republic to further provide the Ford with racing experience. Eventually, this will culminate in his and the team’s maiden Dakar Rally in 2025.

“We are preparing this car for the Dakar,” Brutovský told Foto-Moto. “Although I originally thought I could drive it with a turbo car, I don’t see it that way anymore, so we’ll go with this one. I hope everything goes according to my expectations, so at the end of the year, it will be Qatar then Dubai and finally Dakar.”

MING’s vehicle is not the only Ford T1+ as M-Sport and Neil Woolridge Motorsport oversee the Ford Ranger T1+ project. Karel Trneny, a fellow Czech driver, raced a Ford F-150 EVO T1+ at the 2024 Dakar Rally and finished twenty-third in the Ultimate class.

Other T1+ cars include three versions of the Toyota Hilux—the GR DKR Hilux from twice reigning World Rally-Raid Champion Toyota Gazoo Racing, the Hilux Overdrive from Overdrive Racing, and a privateer-friendly model from WCT Engineering; the Mini John Cooper Works Rally Plus of X-raid Team; the Prodrive Hunter and its planned successor Dacia Sandrider; and the Red-Lined REVO and HW2024.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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