Ford announced today the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor will be running this season in 2016 Best in the Desert off-road racing series’ new factory stock class.
The near stock Raptor race truck will leverage Raptor’s production platform including its all-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine to which Ford has yet to release horsepower figures. The powertrain will be stock however along with its 10-speed transmission and its new torque-on-demand transfer case.
As we already know, the Raptor comes with its own purpose-built fully boxed frame that features more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor. The truck itself is six inches wider than standard F-150 for improved stability off-road.
Its production 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.
It will also roll on the same 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires.
“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.”
There are of course some modifications to the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor for its racing duty. These include even beefier than stock race-optimized three-inch-diameter external-bypass front and rear Fox Racing Shox. Taller springs will also give it some additional ground clearance and suspension travel.
The cabin gets a full tube custom-fabricated roll cage along with MasterCraft seats with five-point harness safety belts and window nets. Other add-ons include 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.
“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.
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
Source: Ford Motor Company