Formula Ford EcoBoost. Street Legal Racer on Road and Nürburgring – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS
100 Comments


[CAR ENGINE] CHRIS HARRIS: It’s bonkers! The Formula Ford is the classic
single-seater racing car experience. More future world champions have
started in Formula Fords than any other type
of racing car. But there’s one behind me with
a number plate on it. Sometime last year, some people
at Ford with a great sense of humor decided to put
their new very interesting turbocharged one-liter
three-cylinder engine into a Formula Ford, and then bolt a
bloke called Nick Tandy into it, and come to the
Nurburgring. Somehow, he managed to
do a 7:22 around the ring in that thing. In road-going spec, the motor
is pushing out around 170 horsepower, down from the
205 Nick Tandy used to set his silly lap. The engine bay is more crowded
than an Indian train. And underneath all that plumbing
is a three-cylinder motor displacing just one liter,
that’s normally found in a Fiesta. The power boost comes by running
a pair of new ECUs and a larger turbocharger
taken from the 1.6-liter EcoBoost motor. The internals are completely
standard. At a steady 75 miles an hour,
Ford claims it will turn 57 miles per gallon. But no one actually
cares about that. They want to know
how fast it is. Well, Ford claims a
158-mile-an-hour top speed, and 0 to 60 in under four
seconds, which is fair enough when you consider it weighs
around 500 kilograms. This car is completely
road legal. It has indicators, fog lights,
even an electric handbrake. And it also has a laminated
letter from the Ford Motor Company explaining as much,
wedged down inside the chassis, just in case you get
stopped by the polizei. [ENGINE STARTING] CHRIS HARRIS: So before we hit
the track, we might as well try it on the road. Now, I never thought I’d say
that about a Formula Ford. One of the most overused phrases
in motoring journalism is “it’s a racing car for the
road.” More often than not, it isn’t a racing car
for the road. It’s a road car that’s been
ruined to make it feel like a racing car, or rather, an
interpretation of what someone thinks a racing car
should feel like. But this Formula Ford is
genuinely a racing car of the public highway. And that makes it extremely
exciting. Because to have a car that
responds like a racing car on the street is something that
most people never get to experience. It’s so immediate! Christ! It’s also one of the noisiest
cars I’ve ever driven. As the boost rises, you can’t
hear yourself think. God! Everything is so compact,
and you are so connected to the vehicle. That’s what I think makes
it a step beyond an Atom or a Caterham. I mean really, a Caterham after
this does feel like an S-Class Mercedes. It’s just tiny. You left foot brake, because
there is no room to do anything else. I have to say, this new
sequential gear shift that the Formula Fords get, with an
automatic blip on the downshift, is a joy. I think anyone that buys one
of these, should Ford build any, might struggle to
match Mr. Tandy’s 7:22 around the ring. But as a way of going out on a
Sunday morning and driving in a manner that will make you feel
more alive than any other car, I’m not sure it
can be beaten. It’s an experience that
you can’t replicate. It is a proper racing car,
perhaps the most proper racing car of all, and it has
a number plate. Ford, I implore you to build
some of these and sell them. As for the engine, well, I’ve
got 170 horsepower today, quite a long way down from the
200 they can squeeze from it. I can’t imagine what
it’s like at 200. Turbo noise– [ENGINE REVVING] CHRIS HARRIS: It’s nuts. I’ve not driven a Porsche 935. I have driven a 962, and this is
the closest to the sound– heavily turbocharged, and obviously half of six cylinders. It sounds about the same. I get to do some really silly
things in this job, and this is right up there. [ENGINE REVVING] CHRIS HARRIS: It’s bonkers! Absolutely bonkers! Dear god. Woo hoo! This is driving. When someone invented driving,
this is what they meant. [CHEERING AND LAUGHING] CHRIS HARRIS: That is insane. Why drive with a helmet on? Drive with a helmet off with
some shades on, and then you do 30 miles an hour. It feels like you’re doing
about 700 miles an hour! This is quite a forbidding
place in a single-seater. The ring punishes cars with hard
suspension and minimal wheel travel, cars– yes–
like a Formula Ford. But if Mr. Tandy can do it, it
must be possible, right? Well, what I didn’t know was
that an earlier installation lap had actually flipped the
front roll bar inside out. So we effectively had zero
front suspension. You might spot I’m driving
rather nervously. So the Formula Ford EcoBoost. There is surely no better way
of using one liter of displacement. Running fast down towards
the Hatzenbach. Nick Tandy, I salute
you, you lunatic. This thing’s bumping around
all over the place. Let’s take fourth into
the Hatzenbach. I’ve never driven a car that
brakes the way this one does around here. It’s taking me a long time
to get used to it. Stay off the curbs. Not so great. And let’s keep pushing
towards Flugplatz. Whoa, bumpy, bumpy. A little lift there. It gets very low to
the back end. Tip it in. One minute to doing all
the way around. That was quite a risk. Now down towards
Schwedenkreuz. Sixth gear. We’re here– Schwedenkreuz. No error in a Formula
Ford, remember? Stick it on its nose, I’m not
using anything like the braking performance. Whoa, lifts the wheel. A little lift there, I’m not
going to float through there. I’m sure Mr. Tandy did. But then, he’s mental. Veer through here. Quite difficult to get the
throttle exactly where you want it, because it
is quite boosty. Short shift there,
then she goes. The torque is lovely, and the
sound is really great. 911 [INAUDIBLE]. The steering is really
heavy and direct. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It’s so agile, so agile. And you– I would need to build up to
this, because it doesn’t feel like anything else I’ve
driven around here. But you tip it in, and it’s
got loads of grip, but it hasn’t got on the
slicks for me. There’s a huge amount of feel. I don’t know quite where
all the grip is. And the circuit feels so wide
in this little car. Traction’s good, but I have to
say, I’m not being a tail-out warrior today. That’s not what it’s about. I think I [BLEEP] myself, buddy. You have to be careful with
the brakes around here, because you get a bit lulled
into a sense of security, because of course, it
will [INAUDIBLE] picks the wheel up up the
hill, flat out, then. 120– I need to slow down a bit. Having a little lift with
that [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. In fifth there. I’m two-pedaling it. There’s no room in the
foot well really to roll to the brake. There’s a little [INAUDIBLE]
gearbox here. A little lift there. It was probably flat
for the heroes. Not for me. It’s a pretty special
view down here. A one-liter engine
doing all this. Get your head around that. Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow. Won’t bother with
the Karussell. [INAUDIBLE] It’s rubbish. Bit of understeer through
there, not much, but noticeable. Take third here. It’s getting a bit unsettled
by the bumps and road spec. Jesus, the steering is heavy. I think I could do a couple
laps in this thing. I want to use the curb
[INAUDIBLE] but it doesn’t matter when you’re carrying
so much speed. Need to concentrate through
here a bit. That’s quick. Bit of a dump. [INAUDIBLE]. The back axle feels
a bit more loose. Whoa, that’s quite quick. Should that be third? It’s got so much torque,
you’re just like, wow! Again, we’ll go around the
outside of this one. What a privilege. Empty Nurburgring on a sunny
midsummer’s day. Look at the turning speed
here– flick it right! Bang! Third, fifth, 128, 136, 140– that’s quite quick for something
[INAUDIBLE]. We’re going to come to the end
of it on the surface here. 146, 146, bumps there. I guess that’s about as fast as
I want to go in a Formula Ford around the Ring, thanks. What an experience. Proves that small capacity
engines can be fantastic. Woo hoo! Forget for a moment that Ford
might yet build a few of these and flog them. Think about it as a marketing
exercise. Would you, as a car enthusiast,
rather Ford spend a load more money on crap telly
adverts, or give Nick Tandy a bonkers car to go and
bait Lambos at the Ring? Quite. There’s nothing quite
like it on the road. And it’s a pure racing
car on the track. Just imagine if it had
a Ford warranty. -What’s it like in there? CHRIS HARRIS: It’s very noisy,
everything hurts, and these aren’t my sunglasses.

100 thoughts on “Formula Ford EcoBoost. Street Legal Racer on Road and Nürburgring – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS

  1. Just love straight cut gears. Just the transmission whine…
    ……..
    Marketing excercise?
    Didn't legalise this formula ford concept, but built the Ford GT instead?

  2. Mr. Harris would you have time to talk about this further as a part of the Ford City:One Challenge?
    https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/indianapolis/propose/redesigned-f1-ecoboost-health-healing-features

  3. I’d still take an atom. Two seats and still still whips the ford for performance. Not to mention they’re both totally impractical, so go with what is quicker.

  4. This engine might be offered in a Fiesta outside of the US, but this engine was only offered on a Focus SE, in the US.

  5. I took my JIM RUSSELL INTERNATIONAL Race Driver's School in Montremblant Quebec ,Canada.I was the fastest and most talented student driver in the history of the school

  6. This dude goes " drives very slow.Ihadthe LOTUS Formula FORD They told me I don't drive I fly.Past 8 other cars we were 9 in 10 laps.They called me the flying Romanian and Serbian.My mother was Serbian born in Crvenka Serbia

  7. I drive my 5 speed manual CHEVROLET SONIC 2016 111 MPH am the way to Daytona Florida.Went 1,162 miles straight driving no sleeping and from Jacksonville to Daytona I raced as fast as we could a Volkswagen GTI a young driver with 3 other dudes.They. could barely keep up only when he had better supporting traffic maybe on 2 or 3 occasions.Lucky the cops were not around.We made it safely.Thanks GOD

  8. I drive every January to Daytona Florida for the 24 hour race 4 to 5 days every year I am retired 78 years old.When I came back straight w/out sleep I could have made it in 12 hours I caught a State trooper from behind in very bad weather I flashed my lights as I approached him at 95 MPH in 70..As I entered in Indiana past Louisville Kentucky.I slowed to 70 behind him in the 3 rd lane I down shifted in 4 th gear without touching my brakes put the signal went into the middle lane then into the right lane at 70 MPH.When the State Trooper so that I cooled off he drove on the 3 rd lane faster.I was lucky because of the bad weather

  9. I bet that’s a great experience, I’ve been round there on my bike, and for sure it’s a fast circuit.. I’d love to have a rip in that little beast, he could of gone much faster, but certainly understand why he was a bit cautious. Still drove it well 👏

  10. If you get T'boned in this, your odds of survival are 0. The odds of that happening,.. I assume are high because people won't see you coming since it's like 3ft high. I assume motorcyclists are 100 times less likely to be driven over.

    I'd rip it on a track but would refuse to drive it on the street.

  11. Fun car. At least it looks like a fun car. But…….good lord it is the most hideous sounding lump of all time. Well maybe not as bad as the GTR. It is a rolling flushing toilet.

  12. Still not road legal even with a number plate for hundreds of reasons, first, the plate is illegal, not of the correct size, not facing front…….the exhaust is louder than is legal, but aren't lots of others too, no-one ever gets tickets these days except from cameras, rozzers can't be arsed but they would deffo pull you in that…….wouldn't half mind having a go in it tho…..wicked !!!

  13. The right mud gard is very wobbly, very weak "plastics" make it vibrate and dance in the wind, this causes and make the car less stabile and produces far more drag on high speeds for sure.

  14. 保安部品つきなら日本でもナンバーとれるかな。
    でも確か最低地上高10㎝が必要なので無理か。

  15. This is a great concept but from the looks of it a gutted Silvia with $10k in it would put up faster times at the nordschliefe. How much do these cost? Anything more than $15k is not worth it. For $20k you dam well might be able to build one of these with a 4 cyl 1 liter in it with properly sized tires and some aero if you know how to tune it. $30k would get you a full billet engine. Anyone have some thoughts on this? It might be an interesting project.

  16. 50 ton 18 wheeler will run you over like a skunk if you try to cut them off with one of this tiny little crap on 4 wheels………truck drivers will see you like a tiny little rat crossing the street next thing you know your sorry ass is smash flat like a pancake on the asphalt…

  17. Okay… this is my new dream car. Amazing.

    Also my Focus SE has the same 1.0 as this car, so then I should be able to just upgrade the turbo and get 170hp? That would be almost a 50hp boost over stock.

  18. I think Ford really sold themselves short on this project. They could have brought the displacement up to 1.5 or 1.6L, integrated a more track worthy aero package, and fitted a bit wider tires. I think this all could have been done while still keeping the "street legal" bits and keeping the price down. It's not even like the aero would have needed millions of dollars in development either. A simple dual-plane front and rear wing would have been more than enough. Also, a tightened up 1.5L engine to bring the revs up a bit and you're all set. It's like ford went "Let's make a street legal formula car, but let's make it just cool enough, but not any cooler than that".

  19. Anybody has a clue if Ford does produce them for the public and if yes, how much does it cost? I know its road legal but some time manufactures end up not making them for public use because they belive its not worth it.

  20. Racing car ruined. So performance car's are car's that have been to ruined. In the 90s Ford made a concept car called the INDYGO.

  21. Yet you couldn’t keep it in your lane on the turns, or even the straightaways!watching you pinball side to side at 8:55 was telling.

  22. This is a car in need of wings. And suspension tuning. And more power. I would not buy this car since it seems like a disaster to drive and there are better alternatives.

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