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Tuesday 4th September 2012


Racer with modifed EcoBoost engine thrashes supercars and gets 57mpg!

Ford's latest EcoBoost engine is winning itself lots of fans; the combination of small displacement (just 999cc across three cylinders) with a turbo has created a powerplant with the power of a 1.6 (up to 125hp) and fuel economy typical of a tiny engine (58.9mpg combined). Riggers was a fan of the 125hp version when installed in a Focus, and the 145hp upgrade by Superchips offers a significant performance gain for a small financial outlay. Ever since, inevitable questions have arisen around what the engine could achieve in a lighter bodyshell. Surely it would make for a great Fiesta Zetec S? Or even a cheeky Ka ST?

Three cylinders, 999cc, 205hp and road-legal!
Three cylinders, 999cc, 205hp and road-legal!
But Ford itself has gone one step further by putting the 1.0-litre EcoBoost into a Formula Ford car and given it 205hp. Then sent it round the Nordschleife. In 7 minutes 22 seconds.

Yep, that's a car with a one-litre, three-cylinder engine lapping the 12.94 mile Nurburgring quicker than an Aventador or an MP4-12C. Unsurprisingly, Ford claims its the fastest lap time ever completed by a car with three cylinders.

Ah yes, you might say, but that's a racing car; it will have downforce and run on slicks so there's no way you can compare it to cars with a tax disc and lights. However, this wasn't a regular Formula Ford. As well as substituting the regular 1.6-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost for the smaller triple, the team in charge of the project fitted the Formula Ford with all the equipment to make it fully road-legal; lights, wheel covers, indicators, mirrors, horn, a manual gearbox and treaded tyres.

Road-legal tyres, yes, but they're hardly all-weather...
Road-legal tyres, yes, but they're hardly all-weather...
7:22 is the 11th fastest time ever recorded around the Nordschleife, and means the Formula Ford averaged 105mph over the lap. Ford's own testing suggests the car is capable of nearly 160mph and 0-60mph in less than four seconds.

Perhaps just as interestingly, they say it should also achieve 57mpg at a steady 75mph. Looks like you can have your cake and eat it after all...

Nick Tandy drove the Formula Ford on its spectacular lap. He says it's "simply astonishing" that such a small engine can deliver the giant-killing performance shown.

7:22 'Ring lap means 105mph average
7:22 'Ring lap means 105mph average
The car is a one-off but the lap is great publicity for Ford and the merits of the EcoBoost triple. Its Vice-President of Marketing and Sales, Roelant de Waard says it's "an amazingly capable engine". And with a lap time like that, who are we to argue?

Author: Matt Bird
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