Spy photographers captured Ford engineers testing what appears to be a 2022 F-150 Raptor R alongside a Ram TRX this week, giving us a sneak preview of the first major battle in the coming war for super-pickup dominance.
Ford has remained tight-lipped about the Raptor R's performance specs. We know only that it will be powered by a V8 (likely a variant of the 760-horsepower, supercharged 5.2-liter unit from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500), and that it's due to break cover some time later this year. Given that the 702-horsepower Ram TRX will be the Raptor R's only competition (and pretty much the only reason it exists in the first place), Ford's decision to benchmark the fast Ram is a bit of a no-brainer.
The Blue Oval's performance engineers have years of practice when it comes to building high-performance off-road trucks, so despite Ram's first-strike advantage and Hellcat trump card, the TRX might actually be the underdog in this fight. Why? Well, based on what we've seen of the EcoBoost-powered 2021 Raptor so far, it should weigh at least 500-600 pounds less than the TRX, and while we expect that gap to shrink with the addition of the bigger engine, it's likely that it will still favor Ford, and perhaps significantly.
While the larger, supercharged V8 will certainly weigh more than the EcoBoost V6, it's still an all-aluminum engine (all SRT motors are based on cast-iron blocks) and Ford still has the advantage of its lightweight body panels. There will likely be more to the Raptor R's chassis modifications than a new set of engine mounting points, since the existing Raptor was not engineered to handle an 800-horsepower engine, but even with the chassis modifications necessary to handle that power, we expect the Raptor R to be the featherweight of the two.
Since Ford plans to get the Raptor R into production for the 2022 model year, we shouldn't have to wait much longer to find out just exactly how it shapes up against Ram's big dinosaur. Stay tuned.