The folks at RTR certainly know how to build a drift car, but what about when things get dirty? The Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear answers that question.
Electric vehicle tuning is still firmly in its infancy, but every now and then a cool new project springs up – like this one. In fact, to be fair to Ford Performance and RTR, this isn’t their first foray into building wild EVs. Remember the 1400hp Mach-E gymkhana project? This time though, RTR were given a very different design brief; one less about burning rubber on asphalt, and one more about causing silent havoc on dirt. So, here we are, the Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear joins Ford’s growing contingent of demo cars. But is it more than just a re-liveried Lightning? Let’s find out.
Chassis and suspension mods
Well, beneath those Ford Performance colors, the bodywork is constructed from carbon composites. So, we’re off to a good start. Plus, although there’s nothing too wild going on, the arches are slightly more flared than you’d get on a regular Lightning. The reason for that, aside from looking cool, is to accommodate the truck’s wider track and chunkier tires. To be specific, it’s wearing Nitto Ridge Grappler tires that measure 37×12.5R18.
As you’d hope, the chassis and running gear is entirely custom so that it can handle the sheer weight and forces involved with hurling a big electric truck through the air. Underneath, you’ll find independent double-wishbone suspension, and at the rear, it’s a multilink design. 3-inch FOX internal bypass shocks bolster the coilover setup, while a stabilizer bar and custom control arms help with chassis rigidity. Limit straps then keep the suspension and wheel travel in check.
Less is more?
As for the actual power unit and drivetrain, there’s surprisingly little to report. Aside from the addition of a hydraulic handbrake, there isn’t too much else that drivers of regular Lightnings wouldn’t be familiar with. But, perhaps that’s the point. After all, there’s a lot to be said for its 580hp dual-motor powertrain. Plus, like most EVs, the stock truck comes with AWD from the factory.
Overall, I can’t help but get the impression that Ford is taking its reputation for off-road prowess rather seriously these days. It wasn’t that long ago that I brought you news of the Mustang Mach-E Rally, and the Blue Oval has also recently added a Dakar rally project to its itinerary alongside a presence in the WRC. Mind you, with the car market trending increasingly in favor of SUVs and pickups rather than traditional commuter compacts and sedans, perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Anyway, want to see what the Lightning Switchgear is like in action? Of course you do! Check out the video below: