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Fast, Frugal, Fun: Ford 1.0 EcoBoost Laps Nurburgring In Race Car

 
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If a race car powered by a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine sounds like a cure for insomnia to you, then think again.

When the tiny engine in question is Ford's high-tech 1.0-liter EcoBoost, and when the race car is a road-prepared Formula Ford single-seater--weighing under 1,100 lbs including the driver--then lack of speed is never an issue.

Ford has proven just that by setting a 7-minute, 22-second lap around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany.

That's the 11th fastest lap ever set around the circuit, certainly not a bad achievement for a road-car engine--abeit tuned to 202 bhp in this instance--designed primarily to maximize economy.

In more humble settings, the 1.0 EcoBoost can be found in the European Ford Focus, and it's also soon to appear in the Ford Fiesta, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

We drove the engine in the Focus earlier this year. Initially, it's hard not to be a little disappointed by the engine, as it feels no different from your average 1.6-liter gasoline engine--until you realise that's the point.

You have to keep reminding yourself that you're driving a regular car, but one with a very small engine. That the tiny 1.0-liter does a good impression of a 1.6 is very impressive, and both refinement and noise are better than a regular four-cylinder too.

123-horsepower isn't a great deal for a car the size of the Focus, but it'd certainly be more fun in the smaller, lighter Fiesta--and with more power, slotted into a 1,100 lb Formula Ford, it'd be thrilling.

And while a Nürburgring lap is unlikely to return the 47 mpg combined economy claimed of the Focus in Europe--so a realistic 40 mpg in EPA testing--fuel efficiency is equally important in race cars, where the ability to use less fuel means less weight in a weight-sensitive series.

However, Ford did test the EcoBoost Formula Ford at a constant speed, at it returned 47 mpg at 75 mph--that's the benefits of light weight for you...

You can find out more on the EcoBoost Formula Ford by watching the video above, and read another review of the 1.0 EcoBoost, in a 2012 Ford Focus wagon.

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