Raptor Goes Racing: Ford Enters 2016 Best in the Desert Off-Road Series
EcoBoost-Powered Raptor Hits Factory-Stock Class
The new-for-2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is hitting the grid this year, as Ford Performance will be fielding the truck in the 2016 Best in the Desert off-road racing series. The race truck, which will be running in the Factory-Stock class, will be a near-doppelganger for the production vehicle due in showrooms late this year.
“The all-new Raptor has the DNA of a Baja race truck, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance. As such, the Raptor race truck will feature the same 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V-6, 10-speed automatic transmission, torque-on-demand four-wheel drive, and Torsen front and rear differentials as the production Raptor.
Greg Foutz, the builder and primary driver of the Best in the Desert Raptor, built the race truck with a few key modifications. Race-optimized 3-inch-diameter Fox Racing Shox provide greater performance, and new front and rear springs raise ride height for extra ground clearance. A custom rollcage and five-point harnesses are well-advised concessions to safety, and the truck also comes with a racing fuel cell, a digital dashboard, and LED lightbars. Even so, Foutz claims the Raptor is the most stock racing truck he’s ever built for Ford.
Ford still hasn’t released official output numbers for the EcoBoost V-6, but in a press release detailing the company’s entry into the racing division, Ford reaffirmed that it would make more power and be more efficient than the outgoing Raptor’s 6.2L V-8. We’ve heard that before, and we’re expecting between 420 and 450 hp from the V-6.
Spectators will be able to see the F-150 Raptor in competition at monthly events throughout the Southwest, including the Mint 400 near Las Vegas from March 10 to March 14 and the Bluewater Challenge in Parker, Arizona, from September 10 to October 6.