Ford announced this morning its plans to return to the SCORE Baja 1000. This year, Ford will take on the 49th SCORE Baja 1000 in the new 2017 F-150 Raptor in stock full class competition in mid-November. The Raptor race truck will also be on display this week at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Ford Performance is teaming up with Greg Foutz Motorsports in a pre-production 2017 F-150 Raptor, which Ford says will provide it with additional durability testing and research prior to the launch of its new purpose-built off-road truck.
When the original Ford SVT F-150 Raptor was unveiled, it was put to the test in the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in 2008, where the truck finished third in Class 8 after completing the grueling 631-mile race in 25 hours, 28 minutes and 10 seconds.
The 2017 F-150 Raptor will also be powered by an all-new power plant as well, as Ford has unveiled the details of the new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that is rated to produce 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque.
Ford says that due to the Raptor’s heavy-duty construction the Foutz Motorsports team only added a chromloy steel safety cage, puncture-resistant fuel cell, racing seats and full race harness. Rigid Industries LED lighting was also added within the confines of SCORE’s class rules to make sure the truck can see the challenging Baja terrain. Slight suspension tweaks includes revised Raptor springs and Fox Racing shocks to account for the additional weight of the cage and fuel cell.
Foutz has run the new Raptor in several Best in the Desert events in 2016, including the most recent 645-mile General Tire Vegas to Reno race in August, which he completed in 15 hours. He says this all-new Raptor is the most production-based truck he’s ever raced. “The stock engine, transmission and powertrain calibrations are phenomenal,” he says. “Suspension-wise, everything else – including its wheels and BFGoodrich K02 tires – is carried over from the 2017 production model.”
Along with running its first-generation Raptor in the grueling desert endurance race in Mexico, Ford’s long history at Baja includes racing its F-Series Super Duty as well.
Ford Performance engineers use the race truck program as a platform to share technology and prove out their trucks in the real world. Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance chief engineer, says the testing helps to create exciting products that not only perform, but deliver Built Ford Tough capability and durability. “We take what we learn in off-road competition with a factory stock truck to further refine our design and engineering attributes,” he says.
The SCORE Baja 1000 begins later this month in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. For more information, visit www.SCORE-International.com.
A version of this story originally appeared on Off-Road.com