Carmine Tancredi is the Italian hillclimb champion this year in the E1 class, and while driving ability has a lot to do with that, this ridiculously fast Ford is how he got there. Powered by a 2-liter Cosworth YB turbo engine making nearly 600 horsepower with a wide powerband, this Escort Cossie boasts all-wheel drive and a race weight of just 2425 pounds to make it a hill dominator.
In the video below you’ll see the car storming up an Italian hillside to a dominant win. Not only did the car and driver combo smash the competition, but it managed to be the fastest touring car in most of the events it entered this season, even beating a couple carbon chassis Alfa Romeo 4C with giant Judd V8s.
Obviously the all-wheel drive and incredible downforce of this machine help it claw its way up and out of the tight corners of a hillclimb, giving it an advantage over those ostensibly overpowered rear-drive Alfas. Within its own class, the competition wasn’t even close, however. Once the turbo got spooling, there was no stopping this Escort from taking the victory.
As a Radwood-era legend, the Escort Cosworth has always held a special place in my heart. Ford completely upended the Escort to make this machine, and it looks absolutely bonkers. Maybe this is the vintage equivalent of Toyota’s current GR Yaris, because it takes a relatively staid and boring economy car and turns it into a rally champ. Either way, this has to be one of my favorite Fords of the era, if not of all time.
This one has obviously been modernized beyond anything that would have been available in-period, but that’s how racing goes. Use the biggest and best you can to go as quickly as possible within a ruleset. I’m not in love with paddle shifts, even in racing applications, but clearly this car needs them. Vroom vroom, Escort go fast!