Ranger gets some aero

Townsville Bulletin - - Cars Guide - — GLENN BUT­LER

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

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