Enthusiast truck buyers and desert racers awaiting the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor arriving later this year can see it in action now. A stock version of the high-performance pickup takes the starting line of the Best in the Desert off-road racing series (www.bitd.com) competing in the new factory stock class.
Like the F-150 Raptor available to consumers, the 2016 Best in the Desert race truck is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Although its specs have not been released, rumor has it that it will have between 450 and 500 horses on tap. Also stock is a Torsen front differential and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires.
The new light-duty truck is based on the latest, lighter F-150 platform, and is dedicated to hard-core off-road use; what's even better is that it's built under the new Ford Performance banner, which means it carries a comprehensive factory warranty.
"When we created the first Raptor, we set out to prove vehicle performance isn't just measured on the street or at the track -- off-road can be even more fun," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "The original Raptor, plus enhancements on the all-new F-150 set the bar for us to make the all-new Raptor better in every way."
Right out of the box, the newest Raptor's chiseled looks show the fierce side of the F-150: From its performance-tuned suspension system to its advanced all-terrain technology, the newest Raptor was engineered to be at home in the desert once again. Thanks to the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy in its body and bed and high-strength steel in the purpose-built fully boxed frame, Ford has slashed over 500 pounds of weight compared to the previous-generation model, while improving performance and capability.
Powered by Ford's second-generation, high-output V-6 EcoBoost, there's more horsepower and torque, and greater efficiency than the outgoing model's 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8. Although actual numbers have not been revealed, this new powerplant is expected to produce more than the 434 lb.-ft. of torque provided by the current engine. The all-new transmission will have paddle shifters.
Standing behind its 4WD back-country provenance, Raptor benefits from a number of modifications to improve its off-road ability, such as an all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case. Redesigned, larger FOX Racing Shox with more suspension travel and custom internal bypass technology damp and stiffen suspension travel over rough terrain, helping to prevent the truck from bottoming out.
An all-new standard Terrain Management System specifically calibrates powertrain, driveline, traction control, ABS, and AdvanceTrac stability control systems for optimal performance under a variety of terrain and driving conditions. Six pre-set modes include normal mode for everyday driving; street mode for higher-performance, on-road driving; weather mode for rain, snow, or ice; mud and sand mode for muddy and sandy trails and terrain; Baja mode for high-speed desert running; and rock mode for low-speed rock crawling.
The F-150 Raptor SuperCrew features four full-size doors to allow easier ingress and egress, along with more room for passengers and gear; its 145-inch wheelbase is 12 inches longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab's 133-inch wheelbase, and is also 6 inches wider than the standard F-150 for enhanced stability off-road. It also boasts its first-ever dual exhaust pipes, as well as advanced LED lighting and special camera technology for improved visibility day or night.
"We went back to the drawing board with the all-new F-150 Raptor, taking what off-road enthusiasts loved about the original truck and making all of those attributes better," said Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance global chief engineer. "Each year we sold the previous F-150 Raptor -- from 2010 to 2014 -- we sold more trucks than the year before," said Hameedi. "We increased production to meet demand."
The new race Raptor will get some modifications, though. The list includes 3.0-inch-diameter external-bypass front and rear Fox Racing Shox similar to stock Raptor's internal-bypass Fox Racing Shox; additional ground clearance as a result of new springs; a roll cage; MasterCraft seats with five-point harness safety belts and window nets; a racing fuel cell; and a RacePak digital dash and data logger with GPS. Drivers are Greg Foutz, owner of Foutz Motorsports, and Tim Casey; both are multiple stock full-class desert racing champions.
Copyright © 2016 Motor Matters
|Engine type||High-Output EcoBoost V-6 w/DI|
|Epa mileage rating||TBD|
|Fuel capacity||36 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||est. 411|
|Overall length||est. 231.9 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||est. 434|
|Vehicle type||5/6-passenger 4WD full-size pickup|
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