As you know, we spent two weeks out in Johnson Valley for the ultimate off-road racing event, King of the Hammers. From the heart-pounding racing to the awesome desert rides, this is always a huge event for off-roading fans. This year at KOH, Ford revealed the all-new Bronco 4600 Stock Class race truck that will compete alongside the Bronco 4400 unlimited 4x4s in the ULTRA4 off-road series this year. This is a special class that highlights the performance potential of the 2021 Ford Bronco.
If the thought of racing your Bronco gets your blood pumping, you’re not alone. The launch of the new generation of Broncos could drive even more interest in ULTRA4 off-road racing. Our friends at Ford are showing their support for ULTRA4 by signing on as the official truck and SUV sponsor for the series. “Innovating the off-road landscape and competing with Bronco’s higher-speed off-road abilities have always been at the core of Bronco brand’s heritage,” said Dave Rivers, Ford SUV marketing manager. “Our new Bronco 4600 racers underscore our motorsports heritage and how the all-new 2021 Bronco can be tuned from the showroom floor to compete in the grueling ULTRA4 stock class series.”
So, what exactly is ULTRA4 Racing?
It’s a series of seven annual races across the US that was born out of the incredible success of King of the Hammers. What began as 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of brew, KOH now has over 300 teams competing… and hundreds of thousands of spectators. As more and more race teams began to form and the fan following continued to grow, Hammerking Productions — the founders of King of the Hammers — created the ULTRA4 racing series. In addition to these races, they also established a racing class known as the ULTRA4 Class.
The defining characteristic of ULTRA4 is that all vehicles must be capable of 4-wheel drive and all racing happens off-road. There are also some standard safety, technical and operational guidelines that every vehicle must meet. Then, within ULTRA4, there are different classes broken down by various vehicle attributes and capabilities. You can see a breakdown of the ULTRA4 classes here.
This new Ford Bronco race truck is in the 4600 Stock Class. This class allows teams to compete in vehicles that closely resemble street–driven versions that were just picked up at the dealership. This is unlike the 4400 Unlimited Class, where basically anything goes and teams have minimal limitations to how they can modify their vehicle. The 4600 Stock Class is a true driver’s class… it’s basically like racing with an amped-up version of your everyday vehicle. This class is also a great opportunity for OEMs and aftermarket vendors to showcase their products. More about that in a minute.
While every ULTRA4 class vehicle has to meet standard requirements for things like seatbelts, fire extinguishers, floorboards, battery mounting, windows, roofs and helmet clearance — some specific characteristics for the 4600 Stock Class vehicles include:
- Stock OEM Frame
- Factory Engine
- Factory Transmission
- 35” DOT Approved Tires
- Single 2.5” Diameter Shocks Per Corner
- Mechanical Steering
When they called it Stock Class, they meant just that. These race trucks are built from factory stock Broncos and are required to maintain many stock characteristics to be eligible to race. To see all of the requirements for the 4600 Stock Class, check out the ULTRA4 rulebook here.
OK, now back to the Bronco… and what the 4600 race truck means to Bronco fans like you.
Let’s face it, we all know that the Bronco was born to go over any type of terrain. It’s been an icon of off-road capability since it came onto the scene in 1966 and has a long history of off-road races like the Baja 1000. Ford is keeping that tradition alive with this next generation of Broncos…and the all-new 4600 Stock Class race truck. Instantly recognizable as a 2021 Bronco, the 4600 is designed to show future Bronco owners the off-road potential of their vehicle.
- A capable platform. These 4600 Stock Class trucks roll off the same assembly line as the Bronco you’ll drive on the road every day. All-new Bronco race vehicles will be built on a 2021 Bronco two-door with Sasquatch™ Package, utilizing race-tested production 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, SelectShift® 10-speed automatic and second-generation T-6 chassis.
- Testing, testing, testing. Did we mention testing? When it comes to the 4600 Stock Class, what’s good for the race truck, is good for every Bronco on the road. Taking learnings from the Bronco R Race Prototype that ran the 2019 and 2020 Baja 1000, Ford Performance Engineers ensure that every production Bronco is tested and ready for whatever you may throw at it — giving you the added confidence knowing your Bronco is the best 4×4 on the road…or racecourse. The Engineers are constantly testing and take everything they learn from these race trucks and apply it to every stock Bronco. Last summer, the Bronco-R team talked about how the tech transfer from Bronco-R will help make every Bronco better.
- More options. Remember those OEMs and aftermarket vendors we mentioned earlier? The Bronco 4600 serves as a test bed for a growing list of Ford Licensed Accessories and Ford Performance parts, alongside the independent performance aftermarket. As drivers begin making more modifications to prep their Bronco for the 4600 Stock Class, some of those key components may be put into production on Bronco assembly line. It’s expected that most, if not all, of these components may soon be offered by either Ford Performance, or via key strategic aftermarket providers like 4WD Parts/www.4wdparts.com, which can help make your stock Bronco even more capable.
The future of off-road racing.
Bronco brand and Ford’s collaboration with ULTRA4 signals a growing presence in the off-road enthusiast realm. “Bronco 4600 underscores how ready the all-new Bronco is for competition and how Ford Performance is committed to driving the brand’s success across multiple off-road series,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “We look forward to off-road racing teams coming to this platform and to Ford Performance stepping up to continuously enhance the state of the art in off-road racing for them.”
To learn more about ULTRA4 Racing or view their 2021 race schedule so you can hit one up and see what all of the off-road racing excitement is about, visit ultra4racing.com.