Randy Pobst is what you would call a veteran racecar driver with over 500 races under his belt. Over his decorated career in racing Pobst has driven quite the variety of cars, and as if it could get any better than that he goes and gets a job as a test driver for MotorTrend. Now I must admit, that’s something I’ve dreamt of doing since I got my first subscription to the MT magazine when I was 8 years old, so this story really caught my eye. During his time at MotorTrend, Pobst has driven the best the automotive world has to offer including all three of the Holy Trinity cars . But when the asphalt turns to dirt Pobst is completely out of his element, and almost could be considered a “rookie”, well almost.
Pobst paid a visit to the Ford Performance Racing School in Toole Utah for their Raptor Experience where he got schooled in the ways of offroad driving. Now for those of you that have driven offroad, it’s a completely different animal than driving on road. Things like oversteer and tire spin are crucial to driving fast and efficient offroad, wherein road racing that kind of stuff is how you loose races. Now when you are wanting to learn how to do some hardcore offroad driving what better vehicle to do it in than a truck, specifically the Ford Raptor.
I don’t mean the new Gen 2 with its ridiculous V6, I’m talking the grunting and snorting first gen with that 6.2L V8 under the hood making all that glorious noise. First Pobst goes out for a lap in the passenger seat to get the lay of the land, but since after all he is a professional driver, they decided to let him go out on his own on the first lap. He pushes the Raptor a little bit , but you can tell he is very much out of his element here. Things like heavy braking into the turns to keep the back end from breaking loose for example. However, it didn’t take him long to get the hang of it and very quickly make the necessary changes. Based off the smile on Pobst’s face, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him behind the wheel of a race truck before long.
After pushing the SVT Raptor to its limits, or maybe his limits, because the old truck still had some more left in her, Pobst’s day got even better. That’s really saying something considering he had just been smashing a Raptor out on a dirt track all day. He somehow got handed the keys to a fully race prepped Pro Lite trophy truck and was told to take it out for a few laps. Now even though the Pro Lites are technically the smallest of the race trucks, they’re still a serious piece of machinery. The instructor referred to it as basically the same power as the Raptor, with only half the weight, as well as a shorter and thinner wheelbase. So needless to say it’s going to be a drastic improvement over the Raptor. So sit back and enjoy Pobst learning his way around a dirt track, as well as the awesomeness of the first Gen Ford Raptor.
We did want to point out something here, and this is directed to the folks at Toyota, Chevrolet, GMC, and of course Dodge. Take notice how the only stock truck you see in this marketplace is the Ford Raptor and how much Ford has been able to bank on the fact that all other manufacturers have given the high-performance off-road pickup truck category to Ford, uncontested! Now Dodge may deserve a small asterisk on that because there is that badass Rebel TRX that if it gets built should absolutely be some serious competition for the Raptor. But we aren’t holding our breath because technically GMC made the All Terrain concept a few years back that could’ve been a true competitor, but that of course never happened. So bottom line, get with the program here. Ford has left the door wide open for another competitor in the segment by deciding to use that fart can sounding ecoboost V6. Granted the new Raptor is stronger that its predecessor in a few aspects, the V6 is a deal breaker for most diehard off-road enthusiasts. So now would be the ideal time for another player to come onto the scene and make the Raptor earn that title rather than getting it by default.