The general consensus among gearheads is that the bigger your engine is, the more power it will make. But as Ford shows, a properly-prepared engine with just 3-cylinders and 1.0 liter of displacement can fly around a world famous track like Germany’s Nurburgring faster than cars with four times as many cylinders and three times the power.
Little Engine, Big Power
Ford’s 1.0 liter EcoBoost is the smallest car engine they’ve ever made, utilizing just 3-cylinders and mostly finding work as a uber-efficient commuter motor. The 3-cylinder EcoBoost is currently available in the Euro-spec Ford Focus, and was just announced as an option for the Euro-spec Fiesta as well, though Ford has already confirmed at least one of the Americanized compacts will get the 1.0 liter EcoBoost. In those cars the engine makes about 120-ish horsepower while delivering between 45 and 60 mpg (depending on what standards you use to estimate fuel economy).
But let’s talk about this 202 horsepower EcoBoost Formula Ford car that the Blue Oval’s European engineers put together. Slapped into a technically street legal Formula race car body that includes headlights, taillights, and sideview mirrors, this tiny engine propelled to Formula Ford to an average speed of 105 mph around the nearly 13-mile North Loop of the Nurburgring.
Let Them Eat EcoBoost
In fact, the EcoBoost-powered Formula Ford completed the North Loop in just 7 minutes and 22 seconds, the 11th-fastest time for a “street legal” vehicle. For comparision’s sake, that is faster than the nearly 700 horsepower, 12-cylinder Lamborghini Aventador, the six-cylinder, 500 horsepower Nissan GT-R, and the 550 horsepower V8 Ford GT.
In other words, it is a fast little car.
The Formula Ford and 1.0 liter EcoBoost in many ways represent the future, not just of race cars but production cars as well. Vehicles will have to get lighter and squeeze more power out of smaller engines if they’re to keep pace with rising gas prices.
For me though, this uber-fast Formula Ford is proof that small engines do not mean less performance. We can have our cake and eat it too, as it turns out, thanks to a little thing called technology.