Every high-performance car in the world is assessed by how well it performs at the legendary Nürburgring. The German circuit is where manufacturers take powerful cars for a timed lap of the track. Ford has recorded a slightly different achievement at the Nürburgring this year. Rather than testing a vehicle, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine was put through its paces in a one-seat custom model. The time the engine posted is one of the fastest ever.
For a 1.0-litre engine to make such an accomplishment is almost beyond belief. To do so in a vehicle made specifically for the Nürburgring makes the lap time even more special. Ford put months and months of work into refining the engine for the attempt.
The driver at the wheel was British racing star, Nick Tandy. Even he was surprised at how well the engine performed on the day:
“This little engine has people rubbing their eyes in disbelief … It’s simply astonishing that a three-cylinder, one-litre engine can deliver that kind of performance.”
A Formula Ford model was used on the track test, and surprisingly this custom vehicle is fully road legal. To ensure this, Ford added legal tread tyres, indicators and lights, a handbrake and a horn. Even with these modifications, the model weighs less than half a tonne – only 495kg. Lightweight materials give the Formula Ford more agility, and enhance the engine's performance.
Such an impressive showing from the EcoBoost engine is an indication of the direction in which Ford sports cars may be moving. The manufacturer is also making a return to motorsports this year, and engineering developments will be vital. As the engine is the focus, the Formula Ford model used is not being considered for production. It does, however, showcase what more-efficient engines at lower capacities are capable of, given the right vehicle build.
The lap time the engine achieved was seven minutes and 22 seconds. That makes the Formula Ford 11th on the list of the fastest vehicles at the Nürburgring. It is quicker than the Lamborghini Aventador, the Pagani Zonda and the Ferrari Enzo, all of which have engines with at least 600bhp. The EcoBoost engine has beaten every car powered by either a three or four-cylinder engine.
Ford's EcoBoost is itself a three-cylinder – a turbo engine borrowed from the Focus and retuned for the track. It generates 123bhp in the Focus, uprated to 202bhp for the Formula Ford. This increase in power led to a 0-60mph time of just four seconds. Autocar reviewed the model around the time of the lap, and put the vehicle's economy level at 118mpg.
The engine is an International Engine of the Year, having won the award four consecutive times. It is the only engine to win three times. Over four years, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has taken home a total of eight awards. Ford UK designed the power system, and it was road-tested at the European Innovation and Research Centre, Ford's German development facility.
In the UK, models available with EcoBoost engines include the Fiesta and Mondeo – two consistently popular cars. One in five Ford vehicles sold in Europe during 2014 was specified with EcoBoost. The option will soon be available in the Mustang and the new Ford GT.
Discover the power and reliable performance of Ford EcoBoost engines on a test drive. Make an appointment with your closest Peoples Ford team, in Liverpool or Scotland. We also have a wide selection of used EcoBoost cars for sale which can be viewed online, or speak with our team to book a test drive.