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Raptor King: Ultra4 Racing’s Versatile Work & Play Desert Truck

King of the Hammers is an iconic off-road race that combines intense desert racing and a grueling rock crawling course into a week long event out in Johnson Valley, California. And when Dave Cole, the man that runs the show, was looking for a new truck; he knew it would need to combine the off-road capabilities of a desert truck, reliability of a work truck and the comfort of a luxury daily driver. That truck of choice was the 2020 Ford Raptor.

Ultra4 2020 Ford Raptor

Race Inspired Suspension

One of the reasons the Raptor is so appealing to an expert in the off-road world like Dave is the beefed up, off-road minded suspension that comes on the truck from the factory in the form of a set of FOX Live Valve Racing Shox. While the Raptor’s suspension was built for the off-road world, it also handles like a sports car with a bed on the road for daily driving. The only improvement to the setup that Dave opted to make was installing a pair of race inspired SVCOFFROAD Upper Control Arms that offer a heavy-duty strengthened uniball setup.

Ultra4 2020 Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires

Sand to Snow

Dave’s Ford Raptor is a versatile vehicle for work, daily driving, and off-road fun, but he needed a set of tires that were just as versatile. Dave has seen the reliability and performance of Nitto tires first hand and swears that Nitto must be “Portuguese for Never Flat” (By the’s nunca plano). What helps to prove that point is that in just 4 short months; the Raptor has seen over 20,000 miles both on and off-road without any tire issues. Taking care of on- and off-road terrain is a set of Nitto Ridge Grappler 35x12.50R17 tires mounted up to 17x8.5-inch Method 315 wheels in a matte black finish.

Nitto ridge Grappler Tires on Ford F150

Part of that high mileage took place during the historic Alcan 5000 Rally. The rally took the Raptor from Dave’s desert base in Southern California, shortly after the King of the Hammers race, to the snow and ice of the Arctic through Canada and into Alaska. A set of Nitto Exo Grappler AWT tires were studded and swapped on for proper traction and durability in the below freezing temperatures and were put to the test not only on the infamous ice roads in the Northern Territories but also in slalom competitions without breaking a sweat or a bead. 

Ultra4 2020 Ford Raptor front grille

Work & Play

While the Raptor is an extremely capable off-road truck straight out of the gate; the interior is far from the bare bones cockpits of many of the desert race vehicles seen during the Ultra4 Racing season; in comparison, it is pure luxury. A PCI Kenwood 110 Race Radio setup was added to keep in contact with his team during KOH setup and when out running the desert trails from Hammertown to Baja. For increased storage, a Baja HQ Under Seat Storage compartment was added as well as a BakFlip tonneau cover out back.

Ultra4 2020 Ford Raptor hidden tail gate step

With the mild upgrades complete and an Ultra4 Racing wrap to boot; the daily driven Ford Raptor performed work and towing duties getting around the open desert during setup for King of the Hammers and just a few short weeks afterwards hit the highway north to participate in the Alcan 5000 rally along the ice roads in snowy Canada and Alaska. Being able to handle every type of terrain and daily needs well is what Dave Cole was looking for in a truck. And he found it in his Nitto equipped Ford Raptor.

Embroidered Raptor logo on passenger seat


VEHICLE 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
OWNER Dave Cole/Ultra4 Racing
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION 3.5L V6 EcoBoost/10-Speed Transmission
FRONT SUSPENSION FOX Live Valve Racing Shox, SVCOFFROAD Upper Control Arms
REAR SUSPENSION FOX Live Valve Racing Shox
WHEELS 17x8.5-inch Method 315 Matte Black Wheels
TIRES 35x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grappler
LIGHTS Baja Designs LED Lights
INTERIOR PCI Kenwood 110 Race Radio, Baja HQ Under Seat Storage
BODY BakFlip Bed Cover, Ultra4 Racing Graphic Wrap

Click here to see a hopped-up, custom 2017 Ford Raptor.

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