Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, which is offered in two states of tune in Europe with 99HP (100PS) and 123HP (125PS), may be small in size, but with some tender loving care in the appropriate vehicle, it can prove to be feisty as a cornered cat.
The Blue Oval's engineers wanted to display the potential of the EcoBoost engine by modifying the three-cylinder force-fed unit and placing it in a Formula Ford racecar to lap the Nürburgring’s famed Nordschleife circuit.
Ford's engineers were able to tune the engine and lift output to 202-horses (205PS). They then switched it with Formula Ford’s usual 178HP (180PS), 1.6-litre EcoBoost power unit and set out to conquer the Nordschleife.
According to the automaker, the project team also modified the car so it would be fully street legal for on-road use by fitting it with wheel covers, front and rear lights and indicators, aerodynamically designed wing mirrors and a horn.
Power is transferred to the road through a 6-speed manual gearbox and road-legal tires.
With the 202hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost under its hood and racing driver and course specialist Nick Tandy behind the wheel, the Formula Ford model lapped the 'Ring in 7 minutes and 22 seconds to register the 11th fastest time ever on the circuit.
The Formula Ford completed the 20.832 km (12.94 mile) Nordschleife circuit at an average speed of 169 km/h (105 mph).
To put it into perspective, the road-legal Formula Ford beat previously recorded fastest times of many (production and street legal) supercars including the 700 horsepower Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, the 660 horsepower Ferrari Enzo and the 602 horsepower Pagani Zonda, according to the Blue Oval.
"This little engine has people rubbing their eyes in disbelief," said Nick Tandy, 28. "It’s simply astonishing that a 3-cylinder, one-litre engine can deliver that kind of performance."
The company claims that the car's unofficial top speed is expected to be 255.5 km/h (158.8 mph) with a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of less than four seconds, while delivering 2.4 l/100 km (117mpg UK or 98mpg US) at 56 km/h (35mph), and 5 l/100 km (56.7mpg UK or 47mpg US)) at 120km/h (75 mph).
"We wanted to prove that size doesn’t matter by showing everyone what an amazingly capable engine we have developed in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost," said Roelant de Waard, vice president of Marketing and Sales at Ford of Europe. "What better way than by beating some of the best supercars in the world on the Nordschleife, while using a fraction of the fuel."