The 53rd SCORE Baja 1000 is just around the corner and Ford Performance is back again. They entered their purpose-built Ford Bronco R race prototype that compliments this year’s new Ford Bronco launch. The Bronco R was built in conjunction with the Trophy truck Builder, Geiser Brothers in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bronco – claiming the only 4×4 win to date at the 1969 Baja 1000. This success resulted from Rod Hall and Larry Minor behind the wheel, driving it to victory.
Last year the Bronco was driven by the offroad racing legend himself, Cameron Steele, amongst other drivers included Rod Hall’s Grand Daughter Shelby Hall. There was one other entry besides the Bronco R in Class 2, and it was the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus Boot. The SCG Boot is a $258,000, 450 Horsepower powered by a V8 LT1 offroad machine that pays homage to the original Baja Boot that was driven by Steve McQueen.
The Bronco DNF’d by race mile 580 after running into issue after issue throughout the race. Ford communications manager Mike Levine said in a statement claiming what happened.
- We had several challenges during the race, including: Getting hit and becoming stuck after a trophy truck hit the Bronco in San Quetin Wash near race mile 190. That’s desert racing!
- This damaged a skid plate that also led to damaging the transmission cooling lines. We fixed the skid plate at Pit 2 but didn’t catch the transmission leak until after it started slipping. It made it to Pit 3. This took several hours to repair.
- Around race mile 480 we broke a fabricated lower control arm. This was replaced but took another 90 minutes or so.
- Ran into aftermarket cooling fan issues around race mile 580. By the time it was repaired at Pit 5 it was about 8:30 at night. The next portion was challenging and risky to get help on the course if something happened, and we’d likely wouldn’t finish until after the official time limit expired.
Out of the two vehicles racing in that class only one finished, being the SCG Boot, which made it across the line with 47 seconds remaining in the 34-hour cut off for the race. After it finished, they drove it home the same day. While finishing Baja in itself is a huge accomplishment, it is even more insane than it drove home; most vehicles are limping by the time they finish nearly 1000 miles of the grueling Mexican desert. If that isn’t the ultimate test for durability testing, then I don’t know what is.
Both the Ford Bronco R and the SCG Boot are back again this year to try their hand at a second round at the Baja 1000.
The Bronco R drivers are to include both Cameron Steele and Shelby Hall, but also welcome newcomers to the program, 17-time Baja 1000 motorcycle winner, Johnny Campbell, 30 Year Baja Racing Champion, Curt LeDuc, Ultra 4 Champion, Jason Scherer as well as Cody Stuart, Scott Conley, and Brian Hasford.
The SCG has their own powerhouse of drivers, including six-time Baja 1000 winner and Dakar Rally driver, Darren Skilton. Accompanied by Virvy Felix, Jon Krellwitz, Tyler Thomas, Elliot Pollack, Mike Rossey, Rob Thomasson, and Jesse Glickenhaus.
While there is no shortage of talent on the Ford Bronco R team, they will not be running out of talent anytime soon. Do they have what it takes to make it to the finish line and finally restore the Bronco name in Baja? Or will the low production volume quarter-million-dollar luxury Baja Boot replica take the victory for the second time? Either way, with the Bronco’s rebirth, we are excited to see it continue to race and as well as SCG Boot being brought back to life for a rivalry just as many saw in 1969.
Which team are you rooting for, team Bronco R or team Boot?
Photos: Ford Performance & Glickenhaus Racing.