What would you think if you saw this thing, the Ford FF1 Ecoboost, driving down your street? I feel like a kid driving his pretend-racecar bed – but I’m not. I’m in a near-pukka Formula Ford, the result of when someone takes the cliché ‘racecar for the road’ too literally. And I’m what we Aussies call sh*t-scared.
The FF1 takes a Formula Ford chassis, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-pot with 202bhp – 13 more than a Fiesta ST, but carrying just 495kg – that’s somehow been road-registered. Ford says it’ll hit 62mph in less than four seconds, and has whupped a Ferrari Enzo at the Nürburgring.
It’s my scalp I’m worried about now. In the fixed, low driving position I can feel the chassis against my back as I face the stark, purposeful dash. Now, it’s game on. I manage to (just) reach the clutch and fire the three-pot up for a humble idle. Maybe it’s not so brutal?
Yes it is. I douse the throttle, brace myself and the whole thing explodes. It’s like being struck by lightning: my head’s pinned back, the nose up in the air, shaking violently while I slide down the seat, gripping the steering wheel like a safety buoy. Scrambling for another gear, the pace never lets up, daring you to push on.
Next: a corner. The weighty, hard-wired steering is super responsive and instead of driver aids, there’s abundant mechanical grip. Get into a slide – which takes serious effort – and the FF1 is controllable and progressive. Trouble is, the brakes are so effective it’s easy to mess up a corner approach: downshift or brake?
The FF is addictive, amazing and absurd. You have to work with it. Get it right, and it’ll leave you tingling. Whoever signed this off is a part-genius, part-mad, and we love it.