Ecoboost Formula Ford coming?


Could this be the least sensible Ford ever to come out of a showroom? The company has told us that it is considering selling road-going versions of the one-off Formula Ford car powered by the one-litre Ecoboost turbo engine that recently blitzed the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 22.

"It's certainly feasible and we're looking at the possibility," a spokesman told us.

Road legal? Are you sure? Apparently...
Road legal? Are you sure? Apparently...
The figures are certainly tempting. The Nurburgring car makes 205hp in a 420kg chassis and Ford claims a 0-60mph of below four seconds. It's even said to return 57mpg at 75mph. The engine could make up to 220hp according to engineers, but even if the production version was throttled back a bit, there would be still little to touch it.

But come on Ford, we know this one is road-legal, but you can't really be serious about sticking it showrooms next to the S-Max, can you?

"There's been much talk about whether we do a limited run of 50 cars. We are looking at it." confirms Roger Ratley, petrol calibration manager and one of the lead engineers on the project. He admits to a "whole host of issues" such as needing to subcontract out the production, but there was definitely a collective gleam in the eye of engineers and marketing men at the event we were told this.

It's mainly to show off the one-litre three-cylinder turbo unit, most recently revealed for the Focus and B-Max. The hike in power from 125hp to 205 was achieved simply by bolting on the bigger turbo from the 1.6 Ecoboost engine.

Max revs were increased to 7,500rpm by removing the heavy dual-mass flywheel (fitted to improve refinement and reduce gear rattle) and replace it with a lightweight steel version. It was dry-sumped and that was about it.

Look, it's got a numberplate and everything!
Look, it's got a numberplate and everything!
Ford says there's no plan to replace the 1.6-litre Ecoboost engines currently running in Formula Ford cars, but this does have the advantage of being about 32kg lighter, largely down to the loss of a cylinder.

Of course the engine in road going applications is all about trying to give a petrol the economy and torque of a diesel, but that frugal thinking helped here. "Everything we did to make it lightweight and economical, for example low friction, helps with producing more power. Put a big turbo on it, help it breathe and it just goes," Ratley told us.

But aren't small, high-powered engines a nightmare to tune reliably? Wrong, we're told. For a start it's a turbo, so the engine is already built to withstand high temperatures. But the biggest reason is that it's built to a global spec. "We have to sign it off to run on rubbish fuel, in 40 degrees C temperatures, towing a caravan up a hill with five people and a dog. To some extent it's been compromised." says Ratley. "World engines are very tuneable."



   
   

 

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Comments (144) Join the discussion on the forum

  • RichyBoy 23 Nov 2012

    A convoy of these on the road would be a sight.

  • playalistic 17 Oct 2012

    Red snapper said:
    After a wet trackday monday 8th october at Brandshatch,I watched one of the little beauties being ushered into a pitlane garage where it was being noise tested,sounded very sweet and civilised for such a potent little car.It was accompanied by some burly mustangs with FMC prefixs on the plates.
    You again. You're starting to remind me of my grandad now... smile

  • 737 FLF 17 Oct 2012

    It's been done already. Back in the 60's, Lotus brought out the 51R which was a road legal version of their then current f/ford.
    The idea was that you could drive to the circuit, take the lights off, race, then put them back on and drive home.

    How realistic is that? Hehe

  • UK952 13 Oct 2012

    Red snapper said:
    After a wet trackday monday 8th october at Brandshatch,I watched one of the little beauties being ushered into a pitlane garage where it was being noise tested,sounded very sweet and civilised for such a potent little car.It was accompanied by some burly mustangs with FMC prefixs on the plates.
    think you might have mentioned that FOUR TImes in this thread, thankyou!

  • Gary C 12 Oct 2012

    chuntington101 said:
    DonkeyApple said:
    I'm not sure I've missed anything.

    Unless the current producer has spare capacity then it will cost the investment in set up to build more. That cost will be amortised against units.

    A very labour intensive product will struggle to reach the volume point at which profit margins increase.

    However, I think this is all moot as I believe this to be a PR stunt with no intent to build. If they were to build it would be because they have big capacity due to low sales of race cars, hence a very, very low prod number mooted.
    Totally agree on it being a marketing thing. Ford have been VERY clever about this engine. Not sure of that many sub 150bhp engines that would get this much press or converage on PH! clearly Ford are trying to push all the right buttons with this one.

    Chris.
    Very true. Trying to make a small 3 cylinder sound sexy must be an uphill struggle in some markets and this will surely help a lot.

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