Ford sets blistering Nürburgring time with EcoBoost Formula Ford
Fresh off their 2012 International Engine of the Year award for its new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, Ford continues to push the development envelope for its newest engine. Yesterday, the company announced that a one-off, road-going Formula Fordrace car, powered by the esteemed EcoBoost mill, set a blistering pace of 7 minutes and 22 seconds at the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. The time for the purpose-built race car bested even the multi-hundred thousand-dollar exotics, like the Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari Enzo, and Pagani Zonda, all of which pack 600+ horsepower. No other three- or four-cylinder car has ever posted a faster time at the circuit.
The mighty little Ford was able to best the exotics through months of preparation from Ford Engineers who worked to switch the Formula Ford’s usual 178 hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder to the specially prepared 202 hp, 1.0-liter three-cylinder. The project team also had to modify the race-only chassis so that it would be fully street legal for on-road use on the Nordschleife circuit, since the track is technically classified as a toll-road in Germany. To do so, the team fitted the car with wheel covers, front and rear lights and indicators, aerodynamically designed wing mirrors, and a horn. The car was also fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission and was driven on road-legal tires instead of the racing slick tires the car would normally be fitted with when in full racing trim.
The team’s engineers estimate that the vehicle can reach a top speed of 158 mph, as well as achieve 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. The team also recorded phenomenal fuel economy during in-house testing that showed 118 mpg at 35 mph, and 57 mpg at 75 mph. The tiny, fuel-sipping 1-liter EcoBoost was helped by the Formula Ford’s lightweight and aerodynamic chassis.
After achieving such phenomenal results in testing and on track, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Roelant de Waard, proclaimed that there was no better way to show the amazing capability of the 1-liter EcoBoost than by beating some of the best supercars in the world on the Nordschleife, while only using a fraction of the fuel.
Unfortunately, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost-powered Formula Ford isn’t available to buy, and Ford has yet to release information as to when we might see the power plant in U.S.-spec production. But the European Ford Focus equipped with the new engine is already proving to be in a hit in Europe, and approximately 30% of new Focus buyers in Europe have opted for the 1.0-liter EcoBoost variant since it has hit showrooms.