So. Going fast around the Nürburgring is all about big engines and plenty of horsepower, right? Wrong.
Ford has just proved that size isn’t everything by letting a one-off, street-legal version of its popular Formula Ford loose around the infamous ‘Ring. Powered by the diddy 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Ecoboost engine (like in the new Focus), and a bit of a tailwind, it clocked a time of 7 minutes, 22 seconds. That’s faster around the ‘Green Hell’ than a Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari Enzo and Pagani Zonda.
Weight is obviously important - or lack of it. This racer weighs around 500kg and is modified to use Ford’s 1.0-litre three cylinder in conjunction with the turbo from the standard Formula Ford. Boffins at Ford did tinker with the engine’s ECU to squeeze out 202 bhp, 22 bhp more than the 1.6 litre that normally sits in the single-seater, but there were no major engine mods.
And thanks to some indicators, wing mirrors, wheel covers and a horn, you can even drive it to the shops. Yes, it’s road legal. And if you can live without your creature comforts, it’s even somewhat practical.
Of course, the headline stats of 0-62mph in under four seconds and a top speed of 158.8mph sound fantastic. But where it gets very interesting is fuel consumption. Ford is claiming that in testing, the EcoBoost-powered single-seater returned 118mpg at 35mph and 57mpg at 75mph. Now that’s having your cake and eating it.
“This little engine has people rubbing their eyes in disbelief,” said Nick Tandy, the man who piloted the car for the lap. “It’s simply astonishing that a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine can deliver that kind of performance.”
If you want to own the fastest, street-legal three-cylinder powered car to go around James’ favourite race track, you can’t, unless Ford agrees to build it. So click ‘like’ at the top of this article and we’ll send a digital petition to Dagenham when it gets high enough…