Ford is entering its new “Built Wild” Broncos in the King of the Hammers off-road racing event this week at Johnson Valley, California, but these Ultra4 4400 unlimited-class race trucks aren’t quite like the Broncos available at Ford dealerships.
“King of the Hammers inspired us to ensure every production Bronco model delivers the capability, durability and high-speed off-road experience this growing off-road enthusiast community has been trying to create on their own,” Bronco marketing manager Mark Grueber is quoted in Ford’s pre-race announcement.“These Bronco 4400 race trucks underscore our commitment to the Bronco Built Wild capability and innovation in the red-hot off-road racing scene.”
The 4400 race trucks have custom-built tubular chassis, long-travel shocks, and large off-road tires. Without sharing details, Ford said the trucks have a custom 4×4 drivetrain and “high-power” engines.
“These 4×4 vehicles are modeled after the all-new Bronco two- and four-door production SUVs with their combination of high-speed desert running and rock crawling agility,” claimed Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports.
Lest you think about taking a new 4×4 from the showroom floor to the rock-climbing boulders, also consider that Ford’s drivers for this event include three-time King of the Hammers champions Loren Healy and Jason Scherer and versatile driving star Vaughn Gittin Jr.
“This is a killer opportunity to bring a new flavor of Bronco to the Hammers and push the Bronco brand deeper into the competitive off-road scene, while also building the foundation for future Bronco off-road racing vehicles,” Gittin Jr. is quoted in the Ford announcement.
In addition to racing in the event, Ford will have a vehicle display that includes the Bronco R Race Prototype, which served as a test bed for production two- and four-door SUVs, and recently finished the grueling Baja 1000; the Bronco Sport that posted a class victory in the 2020 Rebelle Rally; and the debut February 3 of a new model.
The King of the Hammers challenges entrants with 90-mile courses that feature high-speed desert sands and traction-testing rock crawling.
The event begins February 2 with qualifying, with the racing starting February 6. As many as 450 teams are expected to compete in modified stock and extreme off-road categories.
The event will be livestreamed on the Ultra4Racing website.