The next-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost will utilize a dual fuel system that pairs direct injection with port injection, and looking over the new Ford GT racecar on display at the SEMA Show prompted a discussion with Ford officials to learn more about that strategy.
“It’s all about resolution,” explains Paul Seredynski, manager of global performance and powertrain communications at Ford. “If you’re just DI and you increase the size of the injector to get the volume you need, ultimately you lose resolution. Your ability for fine control diminishes.”
The new EcoBoost that will power not only the racecar but also the production model will need extra fuel, as the twin-turbo V6 is expected to exceed 600 horsepower.
“With dual injection, volume is at higher loads,” continues Seredynski. “You get the PFI as an additive and you don’t lose any of the resolution.”
The new 3.5-liter will share only name and displacement with the current engine. The clean-sheet design has a new block, cylinder head and bigger turbos in addition to the new intake system. The 3.5-liter was the first of the EcoBoost lineup when it was introduced in 2009. Other engines bearing the name have already been “turned over,” such as the 2.0-liter becoming the 2.0-liter twin-scroll and the 1.6-liter became the 1.5-liter. There’s also been a new 2.7-liter, and recently Ford announced the coming of a 3.0-liter version. But the 3.5-liter model has hung in there since the start.
“It’s the oldest EcoBoost engine in the lineup, and we’ve learned a lot since 2009,” says Seredynski. “We needed a version that reliably makes over 600 horsepower.”
The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost will actually be revealed before the racecar goes to Le Mans next year or the production GT hits the showroom. The new Raptor is already slated to get a slightly detuned version of the 3.5-liter with estimates of close to 450 horsepower and more than 430 lb-ft of torque for the legendary off-road beast.
“Then, of course, it will be available for other applications,” says Seredynski.
The new 3.5-liter was first seen in 2014 as the powerplant in Ford’s Daytona Prototype cars that run in the IMSA series. EngineLabs showcased the early work by RoushYates and followed up last year during a race at Long Beach. We also looked at the innovative use of 3D printing to fabricate new intake manifold designs.
“[IMSA racing] was a major and most visible component of the development process,” says Seredynski. “We ran it for two seasons, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.”
The Ford GT racecar was first revealed at Le Mans last June and will make its European racing debut next April at Silverstone in England for the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The car will then make a historic return to the Le Sarthe circuit in France where 50 years ago the GT40 won the first of four straight Le Mans races. Besides running in the WEC in the GTE Pro class, the GT racecar will also compete in the IMSA WeatherTech sports car series in the US where its first race will be the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.