Two SVT F-150 Raptors Tackle the Dakar Rally

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Just last month, Ford sent its EcoBoost engine to one of the toughest races on the planet, the Baja 1000. What could be more difficult than an over-1,000 mile race over the harsh, unforgiving deserts of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula? How about a 5,000 mile race across the remote and unforgiving tracts of land that make up Chile and Argentina?

Not just any production vehicle can tackle the immense landscapes and varied elevations of South America, but two SVT F-150 Raptors have taken up the challenge, and are approaching the half-way point of their journey.

Up until three years ago, the Dakar Rally took place mainly in North Africa and portions of southwestern Europe (indeed, the first race of the series went between Paris, Tunis, and Dakar.) However, threats of terrorism forced the Dakar to move to South America, right in the U.S.A.’s backyard. Ford has entered the race intermittently, but it has largely been dominated by foreign brands like Volkswagen and Toyota.

However, this year those Vdubs will have their work cut out for them, as two SVT Raptors are in the rally this year. One is piloted by America’s own Sue Mead and Darren Skilton, the other two Chilean privateers who competed in a Raptor in last year’s Dakar rally. The two Raptor teams will help each other out over the course of this 5,000 miles, 15-day race. It’s a notoriously difficult race, and while its on the bucket list of many gearheads, few people are lucky or bold enough to ever actually enter. We’ll be sure to let you know how the two Raptor’s finish, as we’re expecting big things from Ford’s off-road entry.
 

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Ford Raptor Finishes First in Class at Dakar Rally

UPDATE....



The Dakar Rally has always been about conquering the most extreme terrain on the planet Earth. Whether it be across the dunes of North Africa or the rocky moon-like landscape of Argentina. This year’s Dakar Rally began at the beginning of the month, and only this weekend did it come to an end. Two-thirds of the racers who began the race did not finish, but the Ford Raptor piloted by Sue Mead and Darren Skilton didn’t only finish, but finished in 1st place in the OP/2 Racing Class.

Mead, a freelance writer for PickupTrucks.com among others, called up her pals to say that they won their class, and were the only team of the six others in their class to finish the over 5,900 mile race.

This is a historical win not just for Ford, but for women everywhere, as Mead is the first woman from either North or South America to compete in the automotive class. This victory is also the first American class victory in the history of the Dakar Rally, so Mead didn’t just win for women, but for America. And she did it in a Ford.

Just finishing the Dakar is no small feat, as it pushes both man (or woman) and machine to the very limits of endurance. Yet the Ford Raptor was up to the task, and in mostly stock configuration. The only real modifications were an ARB Locker, King Shocks, and Walker Evans wheels. The 5.4 liter V8 engine was completely stock except for Royal Purple oil, a larger cooling system, and two Odyssey batteries. Mead and Skilton managed to work their way up from 126th place to 40th place overall, a remarkable achievement to be sure. They sure built those Raptor trucks tough, eh?
 

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