America’s enthusiasm for the bakkie is simply beyond compare. Stateside, bigger and brasher are best when it comes to bakkies. Tally the greatest high-performance bakkies (a contradiction in terms) and all the nameplates are American. GMC Syclone. Ford SVT Lighting. Dodge Ram SRT-10. All stupidly fast. All proudly American products. Chevrolet’s Australian-sourced Lumina SS Ute is almost an afterthought in comparison.The baddest bakkie you can currently buy in America is Ford’s off-road racing toy, the Raptor. A proper off-road racing toy for the roadBased (loosely) on the F-150 series production bakkie, the Raptor is one rather focused product. The aim is not utility, but fun.Ford’s SVT team add Fox racing dampers featuring an internal bypass system - shortening bound and rebound action over severe terrain to prevent bottoming out.The Raptor's ability to traverse broken terrain is hugely impressive, it sports front and rear wheel travel numbers of 292- and 330mm respectively. Powering the Raptor is a choice between two V8 engines in three different states of tune. Initially launched back in 2008 with a 5.4l V8 (230kW) the Raptor range has been expanded with a 6.2l V8 in either 302Kw (road-going) or 371kW (competition) trim.For some American bakkie enthusiasts these naturally-aspirated Ford V8 engines have proven to be decidedly underwhelming. Raptor drivers seeking the calibre of performance enabling a day trip from Houston across the Texan outback (and back) can now find solace courtesy of controversial Dallas tuner John Hennessey latest handiwork.Hennessey’s major project for this year has been his insane Lotus Exige based Venom GT supercar. The man best known for cannibalising customer Dodge Vipers for parts (instead of making them any faster) has a radical power boost available for the F-150 SVT Raptor.The conversion is called the VelociRaptor upgrade kit and comprises a twin-turbocharging system of Hennessey’s own making, forged aluminium pistons held in place by steel conrods, (significantly) recalibrated engine management electronics and dual air-to-air intercoolers. Hennessey’s suite of engine modifications elevate the Raptor 6.2l V8’s outputs into the realm of supercar statistics. Power doubles from 302- to 602kW, whilst peak rotational force weighs in at 1 010Nm. Unsurprisingly, Hennessey has toughened up the Raptor's six-speed automatic transmission. It might only sport a payload capacity of 500kg, yet the VelocitiRaptor offers supercar power with kerb hopping parking utility – an awful lot more than one can say of most Ferrari or Lamborghini products.