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Ford could be building performance Ford F-150 Lightning with help from Red Bull


Following the announcement of Ford’s return to Formula One, the brand could also be cooking up something special for the F-150 pickup 

One of the biggest motorsport announcements in recent history was the reveal last week that Ford would be returning to Formula One as a technical partner with Red Bull for the sport’s next-generation electric-combustion hybrid powertrains. 

But with that announcement came more information about the strategic partnership between the two companies.

According to a report by MotorTrend, Ford’s performance division could be cooking up a special, high-performance version of the new Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford performance and red bull strategic program
The Ford Performance strategic plan with help from Red Bull

There will reportedly be a “two-way transfer” between the new partnership with Red Bull in the areas of battery technology, software, analytics and aerodynamics. 

This means that features used for racing could trickle down into road cars, potentially assisting development of the next range of F-150 Raptors or the hybrid Ford Mustang

Could this mean the Raptor will go electric?

2023 Red Bull Powertrains Ford partnership announced - F-150 Lightning
The signs are all there – the F-150 Lightning could get a hotter performance version

It is almost certain that Ford will build high-performance electric versions of its current fleet, including for the Ford F-150 Lightning. It’s more of a question of when, not if. 

Currently, in the US market, the Ford F-150 is available with a performance Raptor variant that uses a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine producing 340kW/690Nm

But an even angrier version is on its way during 2023 called the Raptor R and this will use a 5.2-litre supercharged Predator V8 engine with 515kW/868Nm

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2022 turning in sand
The Raptor nameplate could soon go electric

Chances of an Australian release?

It’s far too early to say, however with the confirmation that the Ford F-150 will be coming to Australia in 2023, there is every bit of a chance that we will one day see the Lightning and any performance derivatives come Down Under. 

Ford F-150 2022 Australian testing mud 2
The Ford F-150 being tested in Australia

We know how popular these types of vehicles have become locally, and Ford knows that it’s a solid market. With more performance-focused utes such as Ford’s own Ranger Raptor and the Toyota Hilux GR Sport coming to market, it makes sense that the future of performance utes could be electric. 

Currently, the Ford F-150 Lightning in its most powerful specification makes 432kW/1050Nm – nothing to be sneezed at – however a Lightning Raptor could push outputs even further to around 550kW.