There’s only one place on earth that’s more bakkie mad than South Africa, and that’s the US. The Ford F series pick-up truck has been America’s best-selling for nearly 40 years, selling on average over 500 000 units per year, every year.
Ford knows better than anyone the best way to market a bakkie is by proving its toughness. That’s why it’s entered the most potent version of the range, the Raptor, into the infamous Baja 1000 desert race. The Baja 1000 is to off-road vehicles, what the Nurburgring 24hour is to performance cars – a great way of testing and proving durability in severe conditions. Vehicles in the near-stock class complete the grueling race in and around 25 hours.
Frankly, before the Raptor’s race modifications it already even looks like a Baja race truck. The only modifications needed were so it could meet safety regulations. That’s where the full roll cage, racing seats and harnesses, puncture-resistant fuel cell, and additional LED lighting come into play. Even the suspension has only been slightly tinkered with, being toughened up to handle the additional weight of the safety equipment. It wears chunky BFGoodrich K02 tyres.
Beneath the bonnet, or hood as they say in the states, the 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 EcoBoost motor is exactly like the $50 000 (R682000 in a direct currency conversion) truck one buyers drive off the showroom floor, as is the ten-speed automatic transmission.
Before it takes on the 49th running of the Baja 1000 with four-time winner Greg Foutz strapped into the seat, the truck will be on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Check out the tough truck’s previous race escapades in this video below: