“Winners practice how they play.” We’re sure you’ve all heard it from some coach at one time or another. When Vildosola Racing goes pre running, they’ll be doing it in this Ford, and since it’s close to what they actually race, it not only give them a chance to plot the course, it also gives them a chance to get some actual driving practice in.
“We built this truck because we wanted to have a light pre-runner.” Said the guys at VR. “When you pre-run you want to have a vehicle that drives similar to your race car, but also be comfortable because you are pre-running for 10 hours straight in a day. You also want your pre-runner to drive similar (to your race car), so you can pre-run and practice at the same time.” And we’re thinking, have one heck of a fun time.
To do all that, the crew at Vildosola Racing began with what they know and that’s with the chassis and suspension. The frame is a Vildosola Racing Space frame made entirely out of 4130. The various frontend pieces, are from Dave Clark / Vildosola Racing while the shocks are King Shocks units that are identical to what the team runs on their race trucks. The rear suspension is a 4 link that is of a Vildosola design that again is nearly straight from their Trophy Truck and also utilizes King Shocks coilover and bypass shocks. The brakes are Brembo unit that feature 6-piston calipers with 16-inch rotors, which are needed to stop the 40-inch Toyo Open Country tires (M/T 40” X 15.5” R20). The Toyo’s are mounted to Method Race Wheels (MR 105 20 X 9 bead-lock 6 X 6.5 bolt pattern).
It’s takes a lot of engine to get them spinning too, and as usual, the Vildosola guys called up Dougans Racing Engines of Riverside, CA. Dougans built a 454 C.I. Ford that pairs sheer displacement along with all the tricks at their disposal. One is the Multic Ignition, a cool individually runnered 8 Stack Induction induction system, along with REF Unlimited Headers that connects with a Borla Exhaust System. A K&N air cleaner provides plenty of clean air to the 760HP beast.
That’s a lot of power to handle, that’s why Vildosola went old school with a Rancho Drivetrain Engineering TH-400 3 Speed. It has a Reid case and Rancho Underdrive and is cooled with a Setrap trans cooler. The rearend is an I.D. Designs rear end housing that holds an Xtrac spool with 5.29 gears.
It’s funny to hear Javi Valenzuela, who has done co-driver duties for Tavo Vildosola, say that the interior in this Raptor is way more comfortable than the race truck, but it sure looks all business to us. Especially since nearly every surface and panel is made from Carbon Fiber with the dash/console being made by Larry Stork at Zoom Factor. A Motec C187 Color Display dash hides behind the Momo Steering wheel, which has been equipped with a cool Works Bell Paddle Shifter assembly. There are Impact Carbon Shell Seats, each equipped with a 5 Point MasterCraft Safety Harness System along with a Motorola VHF radio and noise canceling intercom and a gigantic Lowrance Touch Screen HD GPS system.
Maybe it’s the fact that it has windows and a Vintage Air Dual A/C system. There is also a Branix Vehicle Tracking and Data Transmission System, just in case the Raptor seemingly takes itself for a walk.
The Carbon Fiber extends to the exterior as well as the body is a custom 2017 Raptor by Vildosola Racing and Palhegyi Designs. The fenders are Carbon Fiber, but it was Nick at Loose Cannon Customs of Santee CA who painted the metal cab to make it look like Carbon Fiber. Loose Cannon has done some amazing customs over the years (check out their website at www.loosecannonsd.com), but the Raptor is beautiful. A quartet of Baja Designs ONX6 LED lights are in place and used as headlights. A Carbon Fiber number plate, with Vildosola Racings’ #23 and a list of sponsor’s names appear along the lower rocker panel are just about the only adornment there is on the truck. Simple and elegant, the Vildosola Raptor appears beautiful, menacing and dangerous all at the same time. Kind of like a 4 wheeled Angelina Jolie.
When asked about pre-running, the Vildosola guys had this advice, “Especially when you are getting into off-road, you have to do your homework pre-running because experienced drivers already know the race course from previous races. Take a lot of notes and be paying attention.” But they also had another bit of sage advice. “Pre running is one of the funnest parts of off-road racing, so enjoy yourself!”
Now that’s advice we can take to heart.
Specifications:Chassis: Vildosola Racing/Dave Clark
Overall Length: 18-Feet
Overall Height: 6-Feet
Track Width: 88.5-Inches
Weight: 6,000 Lbs