Ford has high hopes for the 2011 F-150′s EcoBoost V-6 and recently sent it out to the desert to see how it would fare in the arid, dusty conditions of off-road racing venues. As it turns out, the new economy-minded mill might not be the best option for competition — yet, anyway.
Competing at the Best in the Desert’s Desert Blue Water Desert Challenge in Parker, Arizona, the direct-injected, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 was sent out in the body of the former Ford Raptor R race truck that competed in the 2008 Baja 1000. With new mill, fresh revisions, and driver Mike McCarthy at the wheel, the truck did a single lap of the 32-mile loop course before the truck was parked for the rest of the weekend. Most competitors are signed up to run six laps over two days and the area was filled with large silt-covered holes and deep sand, according to race reports.
“We just don’t have a race motor,” said McCarthy. “I race 100 percent; I am out there to win and I had absolutely no chance. Rather than damage the truck with the amount time between now and the 1000, I just parked it. I am not in the points chase because I missed ‘Vegas to Reno,’ and it just didn’t make any sense to push it around the course and have an incident with the trick trucks.”
Ford isn’t giving up yet, however, and is ultimately aiming to send the six-cylinder back out again during the Baja 1000 from November 17-21, likely with a rebuild and any spec changes as determined by the engine’s powertrain team.