FORD’S ECOBOOST® engine was designed for powerful torque and fuel economy in everyday driving—not 24 grueling hours of nonstop racing. Nonetheless, Ford rose to that challenge this winter, successfully introducing Ford EcoBoost technology to the world of endurance racing. Powering three Daytona prototype race cars, EcoBoost engines made their competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship—and all three cars led laps in that race. In only its second race (and the second race of the season), EcoBoost won the historic 12 Hours of Sebring, and won again the following month on the streets of Long Beach.
Ford Racing spokesman Mickey Matus says endurance racing allows manufacturers to demonstrate the durability and performance benefits of their vehicle engineering. “Racing provides manufacturers the opportunity to showcase in a very public and dramatic fashion that they have a superior solution,” Matus says. Starting late last year, Ford Racing engineers worked overtime to customize the EcoBoost for the racetrack. In collaboration with Ford’s production powertrain engineers, they overhauled the turbochargers, intake manifold and other parts to fit the existing engine.
Despite the specialized engineering, the completed engines still share 70% of their parts with the production EcoBoost engine. Matus says that’s a testament to the design and materials used. Two EcoBoost-powered prototypes are competing for the 2014 TUDOR championship title this year, with the third competing in North American Endurance Cup races only. “We’ve had great success in a short amount of time and that is all due to the level of teamwork we’ve had between racing engineers and our fantastic teams,” Matus says.