Update: 05/17/22 11:30 p.m. ET: A response from Ford has been included below.
The Raptor R has been a long time coming. We first heard whispers about a V8-powered model back in 2020, rumored to pack the mighty supercharged engine of the Mustang Shelby GT500 under the hood. Despite this, when the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor hit the market, it was with a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 under the hood, good for 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
However, it now seems like those V8 dreams are becoming a reality. As per the anonymously-sourced photo, that appears to be taken in a factory setting, the build sheet is clearly marked "5.2L." This just so happens to be the same displacement as the 760-horsepower engine of the Mustang Shelby GT500, suggesting the rumors may have been true all along.
For the sake of argument, 5.2L V8s have most recently been used by Ford in the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT500 models. Regardless, it's the supercharged Predator engine from the latter that's expected to end up in the truck. The naturally-aspirated Voodoo engine from the GT350 is potent as well, and boasts an almighty wail from its flat-plane crank design. However, its 526 horsepower wouldn't be enough to keep up with the 702-horsepower Ram TRX.
It's perhaps one of the worst-kept secrets in the truck world at the moment, but one that has nonetheless built anticipation for a V8-powered Raptor model. The rumor mill has been in overdrive since a particularly burbly-sounding test mule was spotted last year. In any case, order books are expected to open up in the fall for the Raptor R, according to rumors from earlier this year, with the timing suggesting it will land as a 2023 model.
The Drive has reached out to Ford for comment, and will update this article accordingly with any further details that come to light.
Update: Ford has responded, stating "We've previously said F-150 Raptor R will have a V8. We can't wait to share more details later this year." Expect more details on the specifics of the Raptor R's engine in coming months as it gets closer to launch.