The modest 1-litre engines found in your average supermini wouldn't normally give supercars a run for their money, but one particular pint-sized engine just so happens to leave expensive metal in its dust.
When attached to a street-legal Formula Ford race car, which are commonly powered by naturally aspirated 1600cc Ford Duratec engines, the specially tuned three-cylinder, turbo-charged 1-litre EcoBoost lump managed to propel itself and racing driver Nick Tandy around the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 22 seconds. This makes it the fastest four-cylinder engine ever to lap the circuit and the 11th fastest time ever at the Nordschleife for a road legal racer.
This sandwiches the Ecoboost-powered racer between the 8.4-litre V10-powered Dodge Viper ACR and the similarly powerful Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 in the lap time table. That's above automotive powerhouses like the Nissan GT-R and the highly expensive Pagani Zonda F Clubsport, both of which manage laps in the 7 minutes and 24 seconds region.
You're probably thinking that a Formula Ford race car is much, much lighter than the cars listed above, and you would be right – Formula Ford cars tend to weigh in the region of 420Kg. But the EcoBoost's lap time isn't that far behind the pack-leading, 658kg Radical SR8 LM, which managed a lap of 6:48.
While all those corners obviously allows the racing Ford to shine, its top speed and 0-60mph acceleration figures are not to be sniffed at. The engine has been tuned so it produces 205PS (202bhp) -- a huge increase on the standard, unfettled engine's 125PS. so it now helps the car achieve 158.8mph and a 0-60mph time of less than four seconds.
Even more impressively, it can return a staggering 118mpg if cruising at 35mpg.
The point of this Ford exercise is primarily to show the general public that the little Ecoboost engine isn't as weedy as its 1.0 displacement suggests.
Roelant de Waard, vice president of Marketing and Sales at Ford Europe, commented: “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. What better way than by beating some of the best supercars in the world on the Nordschleife, while using a fraction of the fuel.”
While you could try and ring up Ford and order a similar car for yourself, you won't get much shopping in the back and it wouldn't be great for the school run, either. Fortunately, the same 1-litre unit can be found in the engine bay of the Focus 1.0 EcoBoost, B-Max, C-Max as well as the new Fiesta that will arrive later in 2012.
As luck would have it, we're currently running a promotion that means you can save yourself 25 per cent off the usual price of the Focus. Grab it while it's hot.