This Secret Ford F-150 Lightning Will Climb Pikes Peak

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During Ford’s big party in Charlotte to kick off the 2024 racing season, company CEO Jim Farley revealed a new “EV demonstrator” would tackle Pikes Peak. Details on that vehicle weren’t mentioned, and for the most part, they still aren’t mentioned. However, we at least know it will be an F-150 Lightning. But it won’t anything you’ll see at the local Ford dealership.

Ford shared a single teaser image on social media on Friday, showing the front of a vehicle hiding under covers. It’s low, wide, and there’s a wild wing at the back like the one on the bonkers electric SuperVan. In fact, if Ford didn’t specifically say this was an F-150 Lightning, our minds would jump directly to some SuperVan iteration beyond the current 4.2 model. But this is a truck, and clearly, Ford is applying some of the lessons learned from its supremely fast van.

This hillclimb racer could be a variation of the Lightning Switchgear, a one-off prototype designed to explore performance envelopes both on- and off-road for the electric truck. We got up close with the Switchgear back in January, taking a ride in the off-road version with Vaughn Gittin Jr. at the wheel. It’s called Switchgear because the same truck – with small changes to the suspension and tires – is designed to tackle paved corners the same way it tackles dirt jumps.

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Ford didn’t make two versions of the Switchgear, however. The same prototype accommodates both roles, which means we only saw the off-road version in person. During the event, a Ford rep told us it would be converted at a later date, which would be convenient timing for Pikes Peak.

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear Street Version

The above rendering comes from Ford’s Switchgear press kit, showing how the street version should look. Obviously there are quite a few differences between this and the teaser, notably that big wing and what could be strakes from the cab to the back, not unlike what we see on the SuperVan. If this new Lightning demonstrator is based on Switchgear, Ford is certainly taking it to the extreme.

Whether it’s related to Switchgear or something completely different, we suspect this F-150 will be pretty darned quick going up the hill. This year’s Pikes Peak Hillclimb is June 23, so expect more on this amped-up Lightning between now and then.

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