The upcoming, V8-powered 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R has been spied testing in the US alongside its arch-rival, the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
Car makers often purchase competitors' vehicles to benchmark and compare their new models against – and it comes no surprise to see Ford testing its new F-150 Raptor R alongside Ram's 1500 TRX, as the dune-jumping, supercharged super-trucks are direct rivals for one another.
Due to be unveiled within the next 12 months, the F-150 Raptor R will differ from the 'standard' six-cylinder F-150 Raptor unveiled in February by offering a V8 engine, widely rumoured to be the 5.2-litre supercharged V8 from the US-market Mustang Shelby GT500 sports car.
It will become the first Raptor model to feature a V8 since the original F-150 Raptor ended production in 2014, with its engine to offer more than twice the displacement of Australia's Ford Ranger Raptor.
While outputs for the Raptor R have yet to be confirmed, expect figures to sit between the GT500's 567kW and 847Nm, and the 523kW/881Nm outputs posted by the rival Ram 1500 TRX.
Despite its circa-2500kg kerb weight, expect a 0-60mph (97km/h) time similar to, or a few tenths quicker than the TRX's 4.5-second claim.
Spy photos suggest styling differences between the standard and R-badged Raptors will be minimal, expected to be limited to a new grille pattern, Raptor R badging and potentially a revised beadlock-capable alloy wheel design.
Strengthened rear trailing arms to cope with the V8's additional heft and grunt have also been spotted on the prototype.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R will go on sale in the US for Model Year 2022, meaning a full debut by early 2022 is a certainty – as US vehicle model years commence around April or May the previous year, meaning MY2023 will begin in mid-2022.
Whereas the Ram 1500 TRX will be converted locally to right-hand drive (RHD) and sold in Australia, the F-150 Raptor won't reach Australian Ford showrooms, as the brand's local arm has officially ruled out RHD versions of its V6- and V8-powered performance pick-ups.