Ford Ranger Raptor takes on the Knysna Hillclimb

Published May 10, 2023


By: Motoring Correspondent

Knysna - Launched earlier this year, the New Ford Ranger Raptor has taken the popular South African bakkie market by storm. In fact they’re so popular that as they land from Thailand they’re sold to happy customers who continue to put their names on waiting lists.

So why not take the petrol V6 3.0-litre twin-turbo with 292kW and 583Nm to the Simola Hillclimb and see what a stock standard bakkie can do?

Which is what Ford did to show that apart from its undeniable offroad prowess, it’s able to scuttle up a 1.9 kilometre stretch of tar in one of the most popular motorsport events in South Africa.

With well known racing driver Anthony Taylor at the wheel, the Ranger Raptor quickly became a crowd favourite as it carved its way up the hill.

Despite intermittent showers on the final day, which resulted in very treacherous conditions, Taylor had enough confidence in the Raptor’s all-wheel drive and motorsport suspension to deliver a fantastic performance.

There were one or two nerve wracking moments in the wet where all his skill was called for to prevent serious damage but the Raptor managed to reign its neck in and cross the line unscathed.

When the final times were tallied the Raptor scored a maiden victory in its class with a time of 1:02.064.

“Although the Raptor’s greatest virtues lie in its off-road ability, we are delighted to demonstrate that its incredible performance also extends to the tarmac” said Minesh Bhagaloo, Director for Communications at Ford South Africa.

“This event is further evidence that the Raptor’s motorsport DNA is genuine and follows a lineage of other thoroughbred Ford Performance vehicles. The Raptor performed flawlessly throughout the event and set a new benchmark time for a standard production bakkie in one of the country’s premier motorsport events.”

Lindenberg Racing, who have participated in the event since it began, and Team Shelby had nine cars at this year’s event, that also coincides with 100 years of founder Carroll Shelby.

The Shelby Mustangs, consisting of Shelby Super Snakes, a Mach 1 and a Terlingua, were immediately on the pace. All the cars drove to and from the event, highlighting the Mustang’s versatility as both a practical and comfortable road car, as well as a race car.

They secured two class wins and a third place in the class final.

James Temple took the win in his category (H6) with Paige Lindenberg notching up another third. Clayton Kimber in his immaculate Daytona Coupe took the win in H4 by a few thousandths of a second.

The momentum carried through to the class finals with Josh O’Calaghan placing second in A7 in his Mustang Mach 1, James Temple coming home in second in A7 at the wheel of his Super Snake, and Paige Lindenberg taking third place in the Terlingua.

“We’ve had a great Simola Hillclimb and are happy to be going home with extra silverware and all the cars in one piece,” said Paige Lindenberg, GM of Shelby South Africa.

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