Ford Racing has announced plans to produce a new race version of the 1.6L Duratec for use in Formula Ford series as well as their plan to reproduce the legendary Kent engine; a 50-year-old design much-loved in racing circles.
The 108 HP 1.6 liter Duratec four cylinder will slot in lower than the current 152 HP mill as an option for Formula ford drivers, aimed at durability as well as affordable price. The Kent engine is designed to the thousands of vintage cars running the engines begin to feel the pinch of diminishing parts availability. The new/old engine will be made using lessons learned by Ford Racing's experience reproducing vintage Mustang engines. Modern techniques will be applied to make it more reliable and probably more powerful.
LEGENDARY 'KENT' FORMULA FORD ENGINE TO BE REBORN IN THE USA PLUS NEW 110PS DURATEC 1600cc ENGINE NOW AVAILABLE FOR FORMULA FORD OWNERS
UK, October 16, 2009 – Ford is to throw a lifeline to thousands of historic Formula Ford racers worldwide thanks to a decision to put the legendary 'Kent' engine block back into production. Engineering work has already begun at Ford Racing's Performance Parts division in the USA, with sales scheduled to start in 2010.
The 'Kent' engine began its production life 50 years ago, and was the perfect choice of power unit when Formula Ford was created in Britain in 1967. Though the engine was superseded at the top level of Formula Ford racing in the UK in 1993, between 5000 and 7000 'Kent'-engined cars are competing around the globe and engine parts are becoming increasingly scarce.
Now expertise gained by Ford Racing Performance Parts through its remanufacturing of classic Ford road car engine blocks, like that for the original Mustang, is to be put to good use on the 'Kent'.
"Our parts division has many years of expertise in re-making blocks," says Ford Racing Engineering Supervisor Andy Slankard, "and we are going to take our knowledge of modern techniques to remanufacture the 'Kent' block and improve its durability. Our aim is not to make performance gains but to strengthen it and to make the unit more reliable.
"There are many thousands of 'Kent'-engined Formula Ford cars still racing around the world – particularly in the USA, which never adopted the Ford Zetec engine which replaced it in Europe – and we believe that the majority of owners of these historic machines will want to retain the originality of their car by using a genuine Ford engine."
The news is welcomed by Mike Norton, Motorsport Manager Ford of Europe: "It is fantastic news that the legendary 'Kent' engine is to be reborn. This engine powered some of motorsport's greatest names to their first championship successes – drivers like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen – and we very much hope that the plan to remanufacture the unit will lead to even more names being added to the list of Formula Ford greats in future seasons."
New Duratec 1600cc, 110 PS engine
Another alternative for Formula Ford owners is the launch of an all-new version of the Ford Duratec 1600cc engine, offering 110 PS. This engine is designed to complement the highly successful 155 PS Duratec unit, the engine which since its introduction in 2006 has powered Formula Ford back into the single-seater limelight.
The new Duratec 1600cc 110 PS engine, which has been in development for the last 12 months, will be available from the end of 2009 with a price tag expected to be around £5,000. The new engine can be fitted into new Formula Ford chassis, or in older cars as a replacement for the 1600cc Kent or Zetec 1800cc engines.
"The new power unit will be ideal for fitment in new chassis; it will be a stepping stone to the more powerful Duratec engines used in the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and other series worldwide," says Norton, "and the engine will be made available throughout world, from the US to Europe, Australia to Africa."
The highly robust and efficient 1.6 litre Duratec engine, as used in the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta road cars, has proven a very successful race engine in Formula Ford championships around the world.
Notes to editors
* Formula Ford is in its 43rd racing season. It was conceived by Brands Hatch-based Motor Racing Stables and the first race was held at the English circuit in July 1967.
* Formula Ford quickly took off, reaching mainland Europe and the USA in 1969, and spreading as far afield as Brazil by 1971.
* Now Formula Ford is competing in many countries including England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.
* Formula Ford cars currently powered by 'Kent' 1600cc (105PS), Zetec 1800cc (145PS) and Duratec 1600cc (155PS) engines.
* 57 Formula Ford events were scheduled in the UK in 2009 across 7 championships, which include Ireland, Scotland and the knock-out competitions of the Formula Ford Festival, Walter Hayes Trophy and Golden Helmet.
* Over the years the careers of many Grand Prix greats have begun with Formula Ford: Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen are among their number. Current F1 front-runner Jenson Button is another Formula Ford graduate.
The 1600cc 110 PS specification:
* Ford Duratec all-aluminium 1600cc 16-valve engine
* Unique induction system with K&N cone filter, bespoke throttle body and cast aluminium alloy inlet manifold
* Unique Formula Ford dry-sump system with twin scavenge, single pressure and separate toothed-belt drive
* Formula Ford specific ‘stretchy' belt front end accessory drive to standard water pump
* Bespoke motorsport ECU
* Bespoke motorsport engine wiring harness
* Power output: 110PS @ 6750rpm
* Torque: 150Nm@5250