We can’t really call the Formula Ford a concept, either. Hundreds of them have been built over the years, because Formula Ford is also a racing series, a major stepping stone for young racers between karting and Formula 3. Cars are single seaters with small engines and no downforce elements allowed. Ford has been running the series since 1967.
You may have noticed on every third F-150 you see that EcoBoost has gotten fairly popular. Ford’s perfect combination of direct injection and turbocharging has worked its way into the fuel-saving but performance-conscious customer base, and therefore into Ford’s every division. The new Ford Fiesta ST will carry one, a 1.6 liter capable of almost 200 hp. It’s been rumored that next year the base US Fiesta will get an EcoBoost mill, too, this time the 1.0 liter 3 cylinder of its European brethren. And this isn’t your Grandpa Metro’s 3-cyl, either, making up to 125 hp in the Fiesta.
So Ford’s been eager to promote their little creation. One of their engineers put the block in a carry-on bag and took it onto a flight, just to make some headlines (and wouldn’t you?). What better platform for performance testing than their own mini-formula series? They cranked up the boost to 205 hp and rolled out their new Formula Ford car last year.
How cool is that? Such massive power from such a tiny little mill! But Ford knew they could stretch things a little further, so they collectively shrugged a “Why not?” and made the EcoBoost Formula Ford road legal. It didn’t take much by Europe’s standards. They stuck on some lights, floating fenders, longer mirrors, and a horn. Oh darkest day, the weight went all the way up to 1,025 lbs. They took the little lunatic to the Nurburgring with pro-racer Nick Tandy and managed a 7:22, faster than a Corvette C6 Z06, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, and a Pagani Zonda F.
Before they let the journalists get their hands on it, they detuned the engine to 170 hp, but the massive turbocharger and cackling wastegate are still clearly audible over the diminutive engine. It gets to 60 in just under 4 seconds and tops out at 158 mph, so no one complained.
Perhaps the craziest of its numbers, though, is 57. Fifty-seven mpg at 75 mph. Small displacement isn’t just for weight savings. Raise your hand if you want a supercar that beats a Zonda at the track and a Prius at the pump. Okay, now put them down. You, too, sir. Yes, you. Security, please? Hands down!
Because Ford hasn’t said anything about putting it into production. And even if they do, they won’t likely bring it to America, where it would be shackled with bumpers and airbags and a bunch of other nonsense you don’t need on a race car. They could release it as a kit. You could, Ford. Make a note of that.