Two years ago, Ford took on the Tecate Baja 1000 race with an F-150 SVT Raptor R to prove the truck’s capabilities. Ford is heading to the race again this year for a similar reason, albeit with a twist. Instead of proving the capability of the Raptor, it’s using the event to showcase and evaluate the durability of its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6, which is offered in the 2011 F-150.
Held each November, the Tecate Baja 1000 is an off-road race through Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, which forces vehicles through some of the most challenging conditions known to man. Race vehicles encounter extreme heat, long periods of running at wide-open throttle, and extensive chassis and suspension abuse. These hellish conditions can make or break an engine — and Ford’s counting on the former.
Ford revealed earlier this morning that it installed an EcoBoost V-6 into a Baja-spec F-150 racer, but unlike the truck itself, the V-6 is bone stock. Ford swears the engine has received absolutely no revisions for the race; in fact, the engine selected was randomly chosen from the assembly plant in Cleveland, Ohio. We’re told the engine will be fed nothing other than standard 87-octane gasoline, meaning it’ll be pumping out roughly around 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
“We are fully confident that because of the strict testing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engines underwent before we started manufacturing, it will take anything the desert can dish out,” said Eric Kuehn, chief engineer of the 2011 F-150.
Although Ford is confident the EcoBoost engine will stand up to the race, the truck itself has some fierce competition, as other trucks in the F-150’s class feature significantly more powerful V-8s. Despite the odds, Ford hopes to prove the EcoBoost F-150 in the race as its Raptor R captured third-in-class two years ago. This combination of EcoBoost and Baja race is simply adding fuel to the ignition chamber of the rumored EcoBoosted Raptor R.
The Baja race isn’t the only torture test Ford has lined up for the EcoBoost. A F-150 EcoBoost is heading to Oregon to work as a log skidder, where it will replace the standard heavy-duty machinery tasked with lugging heavy logs up steep grades. After that, the same truck will make its way to Miami, Florida, where it will tow a trailer with two Nascar Sprint Cup cars inside around a track for 24 hours straight. Following that, the EcoBoost engine will be torn apart to see how the internals held up to these grueling tasks.