The 6.2 engine is a $3000 option. Worth the money? You betcha. In fact, it's such a no-brainer that, of the 7000 orders that had been placed for the Raptor at the time we went to press, 3000 or so were for the 6.2, even though no one outside of Ford engineers and execs, plus a handful of media, had actually driven it. Once the Raptor 6.2 starts to the hit the streets, we wouldn't be surprised if demand for the 5.4 slowly dries up.

And what will SVT do for an encore then? Well, with a bump in the compression ratio, a revised cam profile, new headers, and remapped engine-management system, the new 6.2-liter V-8 is good for a reliable 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet. The engine's already been race proven in the Baja 1000, installed in the Raptor R. The SVT engineers know better than most the truth in the old saying that racing improves the breed-more than a few are racers themselves. A Raptor R for the street? Noww that would be one helluva truck. And the line starts right here.

The Racer's Edge
The true stroke of genius in the Raptor is this time SVT hasn't tried to make a truck do what it really can't do: drive like a sports car. Sure, the slammed, fat-tired SVT F-150 Lightning was fun (as was the outrageous Dodge Ram SRT10), but it was a pretty one-dimensional vehicle. And no matter how good you were behind the wheel, you'd still get your doors blown off by a Porsche.

Turning a truck into a desert racer you can drive on the street makes a lot more sense. Desert racers are built tough and built to go off-road; there's a big slice of truck DNA right there. The Raptor might not have the payload and towing capability of a regular F-150, but it will still haul stuff. And it will take you off-road in-below racing speeds-real comfort. For that reason, the Raptor is apparently proving popular among Texas ranchers who regularly drive across rough tracks to the farthest corners of their property.

But if the Raptor is the Porsche 911 GT3 of pickup trucks, it's perhaps not too much of a stretch to suggest that, as Porsche does with the GT3, Ford might support a desert-racing class for near-stock Raptors. Mention the idea to the folks at SVT, and you'll get a knowing smile. Stay tuned...