Ford appears set to launch Raptor performance variants of European Ranger truck line at Gamescom

Ford appears set to launch Raptor performance variants of European Ranger truck line at Gamescom

A sign of the times - as real and virtual worlds collide at Gamescom, Ford will reveal a new performance vehicle for both drivers and gamers.

Ford said the first vehicle to be launched at Europe's largest gaming event, held 21-25 August, in Cologne, Germany, "promises to bring the fun back to on- and off-road driving". The vehicle, which just-auto expects is the Ranger Raptor truck, will also be added to a forthcoming racing video game, enabling gamers to push the vehicle to its limits on virtual racetracks. Scotland's Evening Express speculates the game will be Microsoft's Forza Horizon 4 set for release on 2 October.

Ford reportedly has a history of working with Microsoft, with its cars appearing in every rendition of Forza since the original launched in 2005. It also revealed the current GT alongside the announcement of Forza Motorsport 6 back in 2016 with the supercar taking the cover spot for the game while its America-only F-150 Raptor was one of the faces of 2017's Forza Horizon 3.

Ford is going all-out with a stand in Hall 8 where visitors can test their driving skills on eight racing pods and a special 4D racing simulator, built specifically for the event, which offers the nearest-to-real experience imaginable for driving a performance vehicle.

During the event, each day's lap record holder on the 4D simulator will win a trip to the UK to spend a day with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.

With more than 355,000 visitors and 919 exhibitors, Gamescom serves as the central platform for the European computer and video game industry.

In previous years, Ford wrapped a Focus RS in special Forza livery, set a new Guinness World Records title for the "longest video marathon on a racing game" racing the virtual Ford GT around Le Mans for 48 hours, and offered gamers the chance to win a real-life Focus RS track-driving experience with tuition from Ford racer, Harry Tincknell.

Cologne has been the headquarters of Ford in Germany since 1930 and the home of Ford of Europe since 1998, with the company employing more than 18,000 people in the area. Nearly 9m Fiestas have rolled off the production line in Cologne since 1979.