Ford has already shown that its range of EcoBoost turbocharged engines can save fuel, but now the automaker has demonstrated those engines’ performance potential. A Formula Ford racer powered by a modified version of the company’s 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine set a Nürburgring lap time of 7:22 — which Ford claims is quicker than laps set on the same course by supercars like Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari Enzo.
The Formula Ford race car previously used a 1.6-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, but Ford engineers modified the new 1.0-liter three-cylinder that is offered in the European-market Focus. In this case, the engine is tuned to produce 202 hp, and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The creators claim it can complete the 0-to-62-mph dash in less than four seconds, and expect a top speed of 159 mph.
The Formula Ford in question wasn’t an extreme, stripped-out machine, either. The race car was completely road legal, with street tires, mirrors and turn signals, and even special fenders that could be attached over the wheels for street driving. Even so, Ford has no plans to put this three-cylinder racer on sale.
Ford does, however, plan to launch the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine in the U.S. next year, most likely in the Focus or Fiesta. Here, the three-cylinder engine will be rated at 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. The company promises that the thrifty downsized engine could return the equivalent of as much as 47 mpg depending both upon the application and your driving style.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the three-cylinder racer, check out the video below.