BRENTWOOD, England 29 April, 2015 – Its natural environment is Brands Hatch, Silverstone or Donington Park, so what’s this car doing inside Ford’s Environmental Test Laboratory in Dunton?
The 1.6-litre EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula racer was bolted onto Ford’s rolling road, and driven flat-out in ambient temperatures of up to 49deg C to simulate running on race tracks in really hot climes.
Ford Performance spokesman Brad Macartney explained: “We brought the MSA Formula car to the ETL as part of a continuous development and assessment programme as we prepare to sell it into hot-climate markets. The ETL is the perfect test bed because we can adjust both temperature and humidity here. The facility allows us to simulate race conditions in markets such as Australia, Mexico and the Middle East where the car is known as FIA Formula 4.
“The car was driven at full torque at various ambient temperatures from 25 to 49 deg C to make sure the cooling system can cope with extreme heat. Dunton Rapid Prototype Department also developed and manufactured louvre inserts which formed part of the test programme.”
It’s not the first Ford race car to grace Dunton’s ETL. Several Fiesta rally derivatives, including the Fiesta RS WRCs have been “maxed” there over the years as well as various evolutions of Formula Ford race machines through the ages.
“We work closely with our racing partners and in-house experts to extract the maximum performance and reliability from vehicles,” adds Macartney. “Utilising Ford facilities such as the ETL, virtual engineering analysis systems and the test track here at Dunton helps us develop race-winning machinery for our customers.”
The motive power for the MSA Formula racer is a 160 PS development of the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine which has successfully powered Formula Ford in Britain for the last three seasons, and is the only engine homologated by the FIA for use in F4 chassis in the UK.
MSA Formula in Britain will be contested over 30 races with live TV on ITV4 in 2015 as the single-seater support series to the UK’s premier motorsport package, the British Touring Car Championship. The season kicked off earlier this month and takes in events at all of the UK’s leading race circuits: Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton, Knockhill, Rockingham and Silverstone.
This EcoBoost car will also be raced to FIA Formula Four regulations later this year in Australia.