When Ford developed the F-150 SVT Raptor R, the Blue Oval wanted to make sure that it could offer the ultimate in off-road performance. We were pretty much sold after experiencing the truck in the Nevada desert, but Ford wanted to prove the Raptor's capabilities to the world. So Ford entered a modified version of the truck into the Baja 1000, confident that the race-ready Raptor could hold its own in the 631-mile competition. The SVT team entered with realistic expectations, hoping to simply finish a race that has a knack for providing unexpected challenges at every turn. Mission: accomplished. The SVT Raptor not only crossed the finish line, but it did so with flying colors by finishing third in the Class 8 division. This is especially impressive considering the Raptor is built for the lower-level Stock Full class in which it couldn't compete because the production version is not yet for sale. For more details you can check out PickupTrucks.com's live blog of the race, and we've also posted a short video of the SVT Raptor in action, along with the press release, after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

New Ford Raptor Driving @ 2008 Baja 1000
ENSENADA, MEXICO, Nov. 25, 2008 – The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R race truck, based on the production version of the upcoming 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor, survived the grueling 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, finishing the 631 mile race in 25:28:10.
Considered one of the toughest off-road races in the world, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R race truck that participated in the Baja 1000 was a collaboration between the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT), Ford Racing, and Foutz Motorsports Inc. The pickup was entered into the race to test the durability and performance of the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor, which goes on sale in the summer of 2009.
"We engineered the F-150 SVT Raptor to be the best high-speed off-road performance truck available right off the showroom floor, and finishing the Baja 1000 proves this," stated Jamal Hameedi, SVT's Chief Nameplate Engineer. "Now we need to analyze all the engineering data from the race and apply lessons learned to the production truck, ensuring that the truck delivered to customers exceeds their expectations."
Prepared for racing in long distance off-road endurance events, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R uses stock components of F-150 SVT Raptor, including the transmission, brakes and axles. The frame - the part of the truck that will take the most stress - is the same proven fully boxed frame that delivers class-leading towing and hauling in the all-new 2009 Ford F-150 that went on sale in October. The Raptor race truck is powered by a specially-calibrated version of the available 6.2-liter V-8 engine, making 500-horsepower.
Even if the typical Ford customer will not be putting their truck through the punishing paces of the Baja 1000, the point is, they could.
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R in the Baja 1000 also served as a test bed for the development of a lineup of race-proven, desert-tested, off-road performance parts that will be available through the Ford Racing catalog.
"This was very exciting for all involved," said Jamie Allison, sales and marketing manager for Ford Racing. "Even with the extreme capability of the F-150 SVT Raptor right out of the box, we know our customers will want to take its performance to an even higher level. This race truck will be invaluable to Ford Racing as we examine what performance parts we'll be able to offer customers for the production Raptor."
Ford brought some of the best stock class off-road truck drivers together to drive the F-150 SVT Raptor R in the Baja 1000. Drivers of record were Steve Olliges, Randy Merritt, Greg Foutz, Bud Brutsman, and SVT Vehicle Development Engineer Gene Martindale.

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