From 1984 to 1986, Ford produced one of their most memorable vehicles, the Ford RS200. This car was extremely rare. In fact, today you’d probably be more likely to see Big Foot than an RS200; there were only 200 road legal versions ever built!
The RS200’s were composed of a plastic/fiberglass composite body (produced by Ghia), a mid-mounted engine, and 4 wheel drive. Even though it was a rarity on the road, the RS200 was featured in a number of races during the mid-80s and will be remembered for two things.
1. The RS200 was a part of one of the worst accidents in the history of racing at the Rally de Portugal. The crash ended up killing 3 spectators and injuring many more (Check out the video below).
2. The RS200 holds the record for horse power efficiency for a street legal, forced induction piston engine. It produced a whopping 246.6 horsepower per liter. And it did this all with a 1.8 Liter engine!
The Ford RS200 has held this prestigious record for nearly 30 years, an unbelievable accomplishment in today’s technological world. However, this record could be crumbling down.
This week, Nissan and its motorsport partner NISMO announced a new engine that gives the classic Ford a run for its money. The motor is a turbo charged 1.5 liter three-cylinder that puts out a mind melting 400 horsepower. More impressively, though, is the fact that it only weighs 88 pounds! As of now, there is no information regarding whether or not this will be available in any street legal car, but if it was, it would take the efficiency title away from the RS200.
The new motor, however, will be featured in the 2014 ZEOD RC electrified race care and will be a participant in the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans race (June 14th). While there, the engine will make history. Because it is an electric-gasoline power hybrid, the car will run one lap on electric power alone, becoming the first car to ever complete a lap in a sanctioned motor race with zero emissions!
Overall, Nissan is extremely excited about this latest development. Nissan Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox, says, “Our engine has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine. We knew the electric component of the Nissan ZEOD RC was certainly going to turn heads at Le Mans, but our combined zero emission on demand electric/petrol powerplant is quite a stunning piece of engineering. Nissan will become the first major manufacturer to use a three-cylinder engine in major international motorsport. We’re aiming to maintain our position as industry leaders in focusing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future.”