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Ford Raptor Dakar Is Unlike Any Production Truck—and Carlos Sainz Will Drive It

Ford is serious about taking home gold with its bespoke Dakar racer, which isn’t an F-150, Ranger, or Bronco. It’s something else entirely.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Ford News photo


Ford Raptor models are so popular now that they can seem like everyday trucks. But just because you see more of them running around town than the desert doesn't mean they aren't capable. These rigs first made a name for themselves and continue to build their reputation by tackling the world's toughest off-road races; think Baja in Mexico and Finke in Australia. Soon, a Ford Raptor will take on Dakar with some of the rally world's most accomplished personnel behind the controls.

The Blue Oval and its purpose-built race truck, which is teased in the photos and video clips attached here, will challenge for the win in 2025. Interestingly, they're simply calling it a Ford Raptor and not attaching it to the F-150, Ranger, or Bronco Raptor. The blurry and partial images they released on Friday show a vehicle that looks nothing like the production models, so I'm stoked to see it in full.


Of course, it's typical for these dedicated Dakar trucks to be their own thing. The Audi E-Tron that won this year is totally different from anything you'll see with four rings on the grille in the real world. That's because they're showcases of performance technology that aren't held to strict homologation rules. No—these are the cream of the crop, and they don't care what road laws have to say about enormous tires slinging rocks sans fenders.

It's anyone's guess what will power the Raptor as the regulations are pretty open in that sense. Maybe it'll be a series hybrid like the E-Tron, or maybe it'll showcase Ford's EcoBoost tech like we've come to expect. Either way, you can bet it will be rowdy. It'll have to be.

That's Sainz on the left and Roma on the right. Ford

Ford also announced two of the four drivers behind the wheel on Friday: Four-time Dakar Rally winner and double WRC champ Carlos Sainz Sr., as well as two-time Dakar winner Nani Roma. The former won this year with Audi, adding to his laundry list of accolades, while the latter is building on his relationship with Ford's M-Sport team who fielded him in a Ranger T1+ truck in 2024. Nobody involved in this program is messing around by the looks of it. They want gold.

The next 18 months will be a whirlwind for Ford Performance as it also adds Le Mans to its list of international competitions. Whether it's racing a Mustang GT3 at La Sarthe or this mysterious Raptor through Saudi Arabia, the automaker is showing up with big expectations. At the very least, it has the manpower to make it happen.

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