Think Ford Explorer, and one might think of a stylish yet practical SUV that can seat seven people in comfort. Available with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder EcoBoost engines, the Ford Explorer combines high-tech features with turbocharged efficiency. And if that's not enough, there are even versions of the Explorer that can tackle any terrain.
No doubt, the Ford Explorer is suited for a variety of configurations and needs. But can the Explorer become a purpose-built race car? For the Ford Performance Racing School, it can.
What you're looking at right now is a specially modified Explorer ST built for the race track. Set to officially debut on August 21 at the 26th Woodward Dream Cruise, (an annual gathering of Mustang owners) this four-seater Explorer ST is anything but your usual track car.
“Based on our experience with the production vehicle in the no-charge program we and Ford offer Explorer ST and Edge ST owners exclusively, the ST SUV Experience, the Explorer ST is a phenomenal vehicle. Already fast and nimble, our goal with our modified vehicle is to take this already capable platform and turn up the volume a bit…further unleashing the beast into one capable of thrilling up to four people on the track - all in a safe and controlled manner,” said Dan McKeever, president of Ford Performance Racing School.
So what does this Explorer ST have on offer? For starters, it packs a souped-up 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. Ford has yet to reveal its exact numbers, but for reference, the standard ST already produces 405 PS and 562 Nm of torque. To ensure the crossover can stop, it gets Brembo six-piston monobloc aluminum front calipers and Shelby GT500-derived brake rotors at the front.
For better handling, Ford dropped its ride height by a few inches with a custom suspension. To ensure there is enough grip, a set of Michelin 315/30/ZR21 Pilot Sport Cup tires were fitted. Securing the occupants to their seats are 4 Recaro Cross Sporster CS seats and a 4-point safety harness. Last but not least is a custom-fabricated full safety cage.
Ford Performance Racing School is hopeful that the new Explorer will help attract attention to the racing school. With SUVs and crossovers continuing to be more popular, the racing school seems to be banking on that trend by offering courses for these types of vehicles.
As a reminder, the Ford Performance Racing School aims to provide new Ford Performance vehicle owners with complementary programs for some of the Blue Oval's vehicles. These include programs for the F-150 Raptor, the Shelby GT500, and even the Mach 1.
If you had the opportunity to take the Explorer ST out on the track, would you take it? Let us know in the comments.