Ranger gets some aero
I F you assumed that tough work utes like the Ford Ranger could learn nothing from the high-tech, rarefied world of Formula One, you’d be wrong. Thanks to F1, Ford’s all-new Ranger Ute due later this year will over and under a vehicle — is crucial to Formula One success. Now Ford is hoping some of that success will translate to the showroom. Thanks to the work of two leading aerodynamicists, Thorsten Maertens and Dr Neil Lewington, Ford Australia is confident the
all-new Ranger will deliver “ one of the best fuel economy figures in its class”. The development of the Ford Ranger, or T6 project as it is known inside Ford, has been led by Ford Australia. It will be sold globally in right and left-hand drive and also by Mazda as the new BT-50. We can expect two and four-door versions with petrol and diesel engines, as well as a mix of two-and four-wheel drive. Interior quality and refinement has been a key focus during the vehicle’s development. But it’s the all-new exterior design, and how it cleaves the air that has been most influenced by Formula One. Don’t expect to see huge rear wings and ground-scraping front spoilers on the Ranger Ute, however. That wouldn’t be all that practical on building sites or for Outback treks.
The biggest leaps in the Ranger’s aerodynamic performance centres around the huge tray. “ A key challenge was managing the interactions between the air flowing over the roof and the variations of cargo boxes in the Ranger lineup, as this constitutes
vehicle drag,” says Maertens, who supervises the aerodynamics team. Thanks to thousands of hours in wind tunnels, and cutting-edge, F1-sourced computer programs,
Ford is claiming huge reductions in drag. These will in turn improve engine performance and efficency - and reduce “ With about the bowser 60 percent bill. of the power required to cruise at highway speeds being used to overcome aerodynamic effects, minimising drag has real-world fuel
translating directly into more dollars in their pockets,” Lewington says.
Leading aerodynamicists Thorsten Maertens and Dr Neil Lewington ( right) used the