Ford is one wise automaker; even before the automaker has released the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor to the market, the Ford has already began racing the race-truck version of the F-150 Raptor. Well, what is the best way to demonstrate your truck’s off-road capabilities other than entering a slightly altered model in racing events? Once the standard F-150 Raptor hits the showrooms it will be a hot cake as many people will have already seen its capability in conquering the most grueling off-road terrains in the U.S.
Already, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Race Truck has competed in two events i.e. the Parker 425 and Mint 400 which are the first two out of six events that compose the Best in the Desert off-road racing series. Read along to find out more about this excellent “desert conqueror” from the Blue Oval automaker:
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Race Truck Exterior
Outside, the truck looks ready for any terrain. At the front, the vehicle is equipped with a customized steel bar that helps protect the front from damage in case of hard landings which are common in off-road racing. LED off-road lights to boost illumination on the off-road terrains are mounted on this bar.
The usual “FORD” lettering is featured on the grille. Other features like the front fender vents and skid plate are unchanged from the outgoing F-150 Raptor. Under its belly is a skid plate package to protect its underbelly from damage.
The truck rides on the same 17-inch wheels and tires that will be offered on the standard model. The wheels allow the vehicle to run with low pressures without the tires slipping off the rims. Though some pundits say the wheels are the ugliest beadlock wheels they have ever seen, I think they are just fine and excellently serve the purpose they are meant to. Furthermore, there is no beauty contest in the desert. The wheels are wrapped in 35-inch BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 wheels.
A racing model’s exterior styling would not be complete without a complementing racing livery. The truck comes with various logos which include an EcoBoost Moniker, F-150 logo, the slogan “Built Ford Tough” as well as the “RAPTOR” lettering across its bed.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Race Truck Interior
The cabin has been modified for racing purposes. As said earlier, the cabin is fitted with a full roll cage for the safety of the driver and co-driver. The Ford performance team also replaced the regular glass on windows with Plexiglas. Safety nets have also been added.
The truck is also fitted with MasterCraft racing seats with 5-point safety harnesses that hold on to the driver and co-driver as they power through the desert at 90 mph or even more in fairly flat desert terrain. There is a fire suppression system in case the vehicle catches fire which has been witnessed on several occasions in desert racing. The cabin also features a contoured steering wheel with paddle shifters.
“Raptor” logos are also featured on numerous surfaces to remind you that this is a “Raptor”. There is also a dose of carbon-fiber accenting in the cabin. The cabin is further fitted with race technologies to help the driver in navigating the unforgiving desert terrain. These features include a Lowrance GPS system, a Racepak digital dash as well as a data logger.
Engine Specs and performance
Ford has excelled particularly in this department. Rather than hooking up the racing truck with a special drive-train, Ford uses the same engine as the production version. The unit I am talking about is a twin-turbocharged 3.5 L EcoBoost V-6 which is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission system. Though Ford has not revealed actual output figures, the automaker said that the new engine will produce over 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque which is produced by the outgoing Ford F-150 Raptor powered by a 6.2 L, V-8 drive-train.
To enhance its performance, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Race Truck is equipped with Torque-On-Demand transfer case which divides power optimally between the axles. It also features front and rear Torsen limited slip differentials which divide power side to side.
The transmission system also features a number of technologies and performance features. First, it features the automaker’s new Terrain Management system which gives the driver six driving modes for different terrains. For on-road performance, you will find Normal and Street modes, and then there is a Weather mode for rainy, snowy and ice-covered terrains, Mud & Sand, Rock and Baja modes complete the package.
The truck will particularly use the Baja mode during the desert-racing series as the mode is specially crafted for high-speed desert riding. Secondly, the vehicle features a refined suspension system with enhanced springs to give the vehicle an elevated ride height. Further, Ford has hooked up the vehicle with 3-inch-diameter race-optimized external-bypass Fox Racing shocks. These features smoothen out the truck’s ride while still allowing for a greater wheel travel. These features go a long way in indicating how the production version will be well equipped for the off-roads straight from the automaker’s factory.
Price and release date
Since Ford has not yet announced official prices of the road-going F-150 Raptor, it is hard to predict the price of the race-going Raptor. However, since the model does not feature a lot of modifications from the road-going version, we believe the price won’t go up much.
The last generation most expensive F-150 Raptor was priced slightly above $60,000. Basing my guess on this price, I think the race-going Raptor could attract a price tag of over $80,000 and could even touch the $100,000 mark. You can catch up with the truck during the Laughlin Desert Classic on May 5th.