If at first you don’t conquer the desert, try, try again.
Ford announced this week that its 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor finished its first Best in the Desert off-road race this past weekend in Nevada.
This follows the truck’s failure to finish the first race of this year’s Best in the Desert series held last month in Parker, Ariz. An electrical problem led Ford to bow out of the BlueWater Resort Parker 425 shortly after the Raptor completed its first 142-mile lap.
Electrical issues behind them—Ford would not disclose the problem—the Raptor, literally in a class by itself, became the first stock truck to finish a Best in the Desert race. The Mint 400 attracted nearly six dozen teams on March 12 for dirt-plume filled racing in Primm, Nev., about 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas.
“We’re really pleased with the F-150 Raptor’s performance,” said driver Greg Foutz who was joined by driver Tim Casey.
“The all-new F-150 Raptor race truck was strong throughout, and its new high-output EcoBoost engine and transmission are seriously impressive.”
Mint 400 race results posted by Best in the Desert reveal that the Raptor finished overall in 23rd place with a time of 9:09:58.104. It finished first place in its stock 1200 class, which offered no other competitors.
By comparison, the overall first place truck finished the two, 92-mile laps in 4:25:47.368. That truck was also a Ford, though it was in a non-stock 8100 class. The truck, driven by a team from Cupertino, Calif., was not sponsored by Ford.
The annual Best in the Desert racing series is anything but easy. The Raptor race truck is one of only 19 teams out of a total of 68 to finish the 2016 Mint 400. Mike Levine, Ford Truck communications manager, said the challenging racing conditions posed by Best in the Desert allow the automaker to rigorously test the Raptor.
The new factory stock 1200 class is the most production-specification class in the history of Best in the Desert. Stock features of the Raptor include a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame; high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body; a new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine paired with all-new 10-speed transmission and torque-on-demand transfer case; and Ford Performance 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires.
Other factory stock features include windshield, air conditioning, power windows and door locks; instrument panel and dashboard, including Sirius-XM satellite radio; and LED headlamps and tail lamps.
Modifications to the race truck include race-optimized three-inch-diameter external-bypass front and rear FOX Racing Shox similar to stock F-150 Raptor’s segment-exclusive, three-inch-diameter internal-bypass FOX Racing Shox; race-optimized front and rear springs for additional ground clearance and increased compression; a custom roll cage; MasterCraft seats with five-point harness safety belts and window nets; Rigid LED light bars; racing fuel cell; Lowrance GPS; and Racepak digital dash and data logger.
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