Best in the Desert: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Prepares for Grueling Off-Road Racing Series
There’s a roar in the desert – spitting sand and kicking up rocks. It’s the sound of the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, running in the 2016 Best in the Desert off-road racing series’ new factory stock class.
The Raptor race truck will leverage Raptor’s production platform including its all-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed transmission, along with torque-on-demand transfer case.
“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.
Putting the all-new Raptor through this grueling stretch of races will help demonstrate how a truck born in the desert is even more prepared to take on the very toughest of terrain.
Ford Performance is a premier automotive sponsor of off-road racing in the United States, and the company has a long history in motorsports. Shelby® GT350R-C Mustang and Ford GT compete in IMSA, with the supercar also running in World Endurance Championship international sports cars. Focus races in Rallycross, Fiesta runs in the World Rally Championship and touring cars, while Fusion, Mustang and F-Series appear in NASCAR and Mustang CobraJet competes in NHRA sportsman drag racing.
The purpose-built fully boxed frame of the all-new Raptor – the backbone of the truck – features more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor.
F-150 Raptor’s chiseled looks are reminiscent of Trophy Trucks – the fastest and most powerful class of off-road pickups. F-150 Raptor is six inches wider than standard F-150 for improved stability off-road.
The all-new race truck leverages the built-in capability and features of the production Raptor, including:
- Torsen front differential boosts off-road capability further, significantly increasing grip for the front end and allowing the truck to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades – even when traction is split between the front tires
- First-ever dual exhaust and new Ford Performance 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires enhance off-road performance
“This is the most stock truck I’ve ever seen in my time building Ford race trucks,” said Greg Foutz, owner of Foutz Motorsports, Ford’s truck builder and primary race truck driver. “Without custom technology or other modifications, this all-new Raptor is ready to prove the toughness and performance in the Best in the Desert series.”
Modifications to the F-150 Raptor race truck include:
- Race-optimized three-inch-diameter external-bypass front and rear Fox Racing Shox similar to Raptor’s segment-exclusive internal-bypass Fox Racing Shox
- Race-optimized front and rear springs raise ride height to gain additional ground clearance and provide increased compression rate to handle extreme terrain
- Custom-fabricated roll cage
- MasterCraft seats with five-point harness safety belts and window nets
- LED light bars, racing fuel cell, Lowrance GPS, RacePak digital dash and data logger
The new factory stock class is the most production-specification class in the history of Best in the Desert. Joining Foutz in the truck is Tim Casey – both are multiple stock full-class desert racing champions.
“The technology and innovation built into this truck should help it surpass the competition,” said Foutz.
Technology to race smarter
F-150 Raptor is powered by Ford’s second-generation high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that produces more power with greater efficiency than the outgoing 6.2-liter V8, rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost is a Raptor-exclusive in the F-150 lineup, and paired with an all-new 10-speed transmission for improved efficiency.
A new transfer case, which manages power distribution between the front and rear wheels, combines the best attributes of clutch-driven, on-demand all-wheel drive with durable, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive to send power to the wheels in slippery conditions.
Pioneering off-road driving mode technology has evolved into an all-new Terrain Management System that enables the driver to select modes to optimize driving dynamics to environmental conditions. Six preset modes help the truck power through different terrain and conditions:
- 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, sandy trails and terrain
- Baja mode for high-speed desert running
- Rock mode for low-speed rock crawling
Dates and locations to catch F-150 Raptor racing events this year are as follows:
- Parker 425, Parker, Arizona, Feb. 4-7
- Mint 400, Las Vegas, March 10-14
- Laughlin Desert Classic, Laughlin, Nevada, May 5
- Vegas to Reno, Nevada, Aug. 17-20
- Bluewater Challenge, Parker, Arizona, Sept. 10-Oct. 6
- Pahrump Nugget 250, Pahrump, Nevada, Dec. 1-4
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 197,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.