Update 20: The Ford F-150 EcoBoost Baja 1000 Kinda Sorta Liveblog

The Ford F-150 EcoBoost Baja 1000 Kinda Sorta Liveblog

Nov. 21, 2010

10:25 p.m. (PST): We've got more news about the tremendous challenges that both trucks overcame during the Baja 1000 coming on Monday, Nov. 22, plus killer race photos from Matt Kartozian of Durka Durka Photo. Here's a preview.

Photo by Matt Kartozian, Durka Durka Photo


Nov. 20, 2010

11:25 a.m. (PST): Unfortunately, Randy Merritt in the No. 898 truck timed out of the Baja 1000 just a few miles short of the finish line. Still, a remarkable showing and effort by both of Ford's EcoBoost F-150s.


Nov. 20, 2010

6:19 a.m.(PST): Mongo Racing's F-150 (No. 898) was freed from deep silt with help from an F-150 Raptor chase truck. Moving well at RM981. The wait should help clear the ocean-side fog. A second chase truck is stationed at pit 19, RM1002, just in case.

6:35 a.m.(PST): No. 898 is stuck again at approximately RM982 in a sand trap.

6:52 a.m. (PST): A non-production steering pump failed in No. 898. A replacement part is being delivered to the truck.


Nov. 20, 2010

3:17 a.m. (PST): Congrats to Ford! McCarthy's 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost race truck (No. 899) with the torture-tested “hero” engine finished one of the most grueling desert endurance races in the world – the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – in 38 hours and 20 minutes, after 1,061 miles.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine used to power the race truck performed spectacularly in the harsh terrain and extreme temperature swings of the Baja California Peninsula. The truck endured hard accelerations – often at full throttle – and stiff decelerations across the mountains at temperatures that swung between freezing and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Though the EcoBoost engine entered the race with the equivalent of 10 years worth of rugged use, its inherent performance advantages – twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection – helped it complete the race.

"I’ve never seen anything like it in a stock engine – especially one that’s been through what this one has,” said driver Mike McCarthy. “This EcoBoost engine didn’t miss a beat. It took a beating and kept right on going. This is one tough engine."

3:26 a.m.(PST): Merritt in No. 898 has stopped to receive fuel at RM951


Nov. 19, 2010

8:51 p.m. (PST): Congrats to Rod Hall Racing for finishing the Baja 1000 in their all-new SCORE Trophy-Truck. They started the race yesterday at 11:39 am PST.

The Halls are the winningest family in the history of this race with 33 class wins between father Rod Hall (race-record 21 class wins) and sons Chad Hall (8) and Josh Hall (4). Rod Hall, who will be 73 on Nov. 22, is the only person who has raced in all 42 previous Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races.


Nov. 19, 2010

8:15 p.m. (PST): Here's video of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 torture test engine being installed in McCarthy's race truck earlier this month.


Nov. 19, 2010

8:05 p.m. (PST): The No. 898 truck just sent word that they are running clean and green at RM770.


7:39 p.m. (PST): It was a rocky afternoon for Mike McCarthy (No. 899). During the tough run down the Baja California Peninsula, towards the finish in La Paz, the EcoBoost race truck was hit with another snag that occured in the mountains crossing back over from the Gulf of California towards the Pacific, around RM825. Luckily, Ford's helicopter support crew was nearby. They flew to him after he appeared to have stopped moving on satellite tracking. McCarthy was in a canyon where he couldn't get radio reception, so the helicopter flew to 7,000 feet and acted as a radio relay for him to let the chase crew know what was going on and what he needed. They replaced the truck's rack and pinion steering and wheel bearing again but he was down for over an hour. McCarthy is moving once again near RM915 and is expected to finish late tonight or early tomorrow morning. A fuel stop is planned at RM951.

Amazing stuff!

Merritt in the No. 898 truck continues to make progress towards La Paz but his tracker has stopped working once again. Ford chase crew No. 2 is stationed at RM840 striving to get some eyes and timing on the Mongo Racing F-150


Nov. 19, 2010

4:14 p.m. (PST): Merritt (No. 898) is moving well at RM645. Greg Foutz deserves special recognition for giving up any chance of being in La Paz to greet McCarthy (No. 899) when he crosses the finish line. Foutz chose to stay and help Merritt get back in the race after he broke a spindle and shock.

McCarthy is at running green at RM797 with about 260 miles left to go.


Nov. 19, 2010

3:09 p.m. (PST): Randy Merritt (No. 898) has same "working" status for the last several hours. Mike McCarthy (No. 899) has stopped at RM795. No indication of cause at this point. Teams are working on each vehicle.

No. 899 had a wheel bearing go a few miles before Pit 15 but was able to get there and get it replaced at RM775.


Nov. 19, 2010

11:14 p.m. (PST): Mike McCarthy (No. 899) is running clean and green at Race Mile 750 of 1,061.1.  Randy Merritt (No. 898) is ready for new parts that are on the way.

11:29 p.m. (PST): McCarthy still clean/green at RM766. Crews are preparing for their scheduled fuel and inspection at RM782, Pit 14.  Merritt's crew is trying to rest, knowing soon their mechanical skills will be tested — then the night drive to La Paz.

12:32 p.m. (PST): Parts for Merritt's crew arrived, and work is in progess. McCarthy and his crew are holding at RM773; wisely taking full advantage of level, hard-packed ground and two support crews at their location, work proceeds to replace an unknown bearing. And lunch is being consumed. Some say the suspect part is the aftermarket driveshaft center bearing.


Nov. 19, 2010

10:10 a.m. (PST): First, the good news: Mike McCarthy (No. 899) is up and running well at RM675. The bad news: At RM605, Randy Merritt (No. 898) clobbered a rock and broke a spindle and shock nine miles out of pit 12. They are in a difficult-to-reach location. Support is striving to get parts to the truck. Challenges compounded due to mountainous region, and lack of access.  John Witchell (No. 555) is down right next to them. Merritt's crew is stripping bent/broken items from the truck, hoping support can get parts to them somehow.

10:36 a.m. (PST): McCarthy is running clean and green at RM700! Support crews are getting parts to Merritt. Merritt's truck is likely stripped of damaged parts by now; Merritt and Witchell are bragging to each other ... now they're new friends. This is endurance racing at its  very best.

11:04 a.m. (PST): McCarthy continues to run clean at RM732. Merritt remains broken down in a remote area; parts are still on the way.


Nov. 19, 2010

8 a.m. (PST): Unofficial results look like Ford will come out as the overall winner of the Baja 1000. First place seems to be held currently by No. 21 Tavo Vildosola in a Ford F-150.

8:11am (PST): As daybreak arises, both EcoBoost trucks continue to head south. Mike McCarthy (No. 899) has a scheduled refueling at RM612 taking about 30 minutes. Randy Merritt (No. 898) is currently traveling clean and green at a rate of 5 8mph just passing RM580.

9:11 a.m. (PST): At RM602 Randy Merritt (898) has caught up and back in the game! Mike McCarthy (899) is some 33 miles ahead of Merritt and blasting through a beautiful mountain beach section at RM635. Both EcoBoost F-150s are running clean and strong. McCarthy continues to come to the rescue, lending assistance to other racers along the Baja 1000 route, proving the EcoBoost’s tough durability.


Nov. 19, 2010 (6:45 a.m. Pacific)
Merritt is running clean at RM 540 and McCarthy the same at RM 610.

Ford has released a new video clip of the EcoBoost "hero engine" that's the very same engine running in McCarthy's truck.

Several weeks ago, the engine was used in a 2011 Ford F-150 to pull a trailer with two NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford Fusions weighing 11,300 pounds at full throttle around the site of NASCAR's Ford 400 season finale, Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. Top speeds of nearly 100 mph were attained, with the 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost pounding out average speeds above 80 mph with the fully loaded trailer.


Nov. 19, 2010 (6:00 a.m. Pacific)
Update from Ford SVT spokesman Henry Platts:

Truck No. 898 (Mongo Racing) holed their radiator after getting stuck in Frog Canyon with twenty-five other Baja competitors. Greg Foutz, who upfitted the Ford Raptor R to compete the Baja 1000 two years ago, got to them and helped patch the truck to get it racing again.

No. 899 (McCarthy) took advantage of Ford's mobile support crew and did some maintaince at RM 528. They are more than half way to the finish line, ahead of schedule, even though the team spent some time helping the No. 898 EcoBoost truck. They have also used the F-150 SuperCab to help pull out other racers who became stuck along the course.

Tracking of both trucks has been spotty throughout the night.


Nov. 18, 2010 (9:10 p.m. Pacific)
According to the SCORE Baja 1000 tracking site, both trucks are running near each other approaching RM 325.

Merritt's tracker was reset to fix the earlier GPS reporting problem.


Nov. 18, 2010 (5:09 p.m. Pacific)
We've just received new information from Ford SVT spokesman Henry Platts.

McCarthy's EcoBoost truck with the "hero engine" is doing very well. Mileage is improving. It's averaging approximately 7 1/2 mpg pushing the race-prepped F-150 through the grueling terrain at speeds up to 100 mph. The truck had one low tire at the last pit stop, which was replaced with no signs of damage.

Although Randy Merritt's truck shows that it's stuck, according to online tracking, he's actually about 10 minutes ahead of McCarthy making good progress.

Overall, both EcoBoost trucks are having a good race through race mile 170.


Nov. 18, 2010 (4:51 p.m. Pacific)
Merritt in the No. 898 truck appears to be having trouble way back at race mile 74 while McCarthy is making good progress at RM 150, past pit stop No. 3.

McCarthy is slightly ahead of racer Joe Bacal, who's competing in the Stock Full class in the No. 879 Lexus LX570 SUV.

One of the Oshkosh LCVs is stuck at RM 55.


Nov. 18, 2010 (2:15 p.m. Pacific)
Merritt and McCarthy are both approaching race mile 60.

Ford's EcoBoost engines aren't the only advanced powertrains being tortured in this year's race. Military truck maker Oshkosh has entered two Light Concept Vehicles in the Baja 1000. They feature an advanced ProPulse diesel-electric hybrid powertrain and the company's next-gen TAK-4 independent front and rear suspension. 



Nov. 18, 2010 (1:25 p.m. Pacific)
Both trucks have started the race. This year's Baja 1000 runs 1,061.69 miles, from Ensenada to La Paz. 


Professional desert racers Mike McCarthy and Randy Merritt are each racing a Ford F-150 EcoBoost V-6 truck in the SCORE International Baja 1000, which starts today in Ensenada, Mexico. We've got boots on the ground South of the Border, and we'll be providing updates on both trucks as they compete over the next 24 hours or so.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is the first application of Ford’s gasoline direct-injection twin-turbo technology in a half-ton pickup. It’s Ford’s effort to shrink engine displacement for improved fuel economy while delivering tons of low-end power. In the 2011 F-150, the 3.5 V-6 is rated a strong 365 horsepower (at 5,000 rpm) and 420 pounds-feet of torque (at 2,500 rpm) with a flat, diesel-like torque curve. Ninety-percent of peak torque is available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm.

McCarthy and Merritt's Mongo Racing will be the first teams to introduce a turbo six-cylinder gasoline engine pickup truck to the Baja 1000. In the past, only specially tuned, naturally aspirated V-8s and turbo-diesels competed in the Baja.

Making McCarthy’s Baja run a bit more interesting is the newly installed EcoBoost “hero engine” that’s powering his truck. The same engine first endured the equivalent of 150,000 harsh-user miles on the dynamometer, then was installed into a new 2011 F-150 to work as a log skidder in Oregon, towed a maximum trailer load at a high-speed NASCAR track and beat the competition in a towing exercise at Davis Dam.


Wednesday afternoon, both trucks went through contingency near the starting line, for a safety and technical inspection of the vehicles. We've got exclusive photos from our race photographer, Matt Durka.


Merritt (left) is driving the silver regular cab Ford F-150, under race No. 898. McCarthy (right) is running in a red SuperCab F-150, under race No. 899. Both are competing in the newly created Stock Engine class.


The trucks are expected to start the race around 1 p.m. PST. Stay tuned for more updates over the next day.


I believe u may have made a mistake, you called the "hero engine" truck a supercrew where i believe it is a supercab

@Tucker: Sorry! Fixed. :-)

No problem, excellent write up tho. do you personally think the "hero engine" will finish the race in a top position or let alone finish the race?

Keep the excellent reports coming!

Can you verify if the "hero engine" has kept the original twin turbos through the torture tests?

Watch the starting line live.


@ Tucker

It really doesn't matter what position they finish in as the class only has two trucks in it and they're both Ecoboost trucks.

I really think they're just hoping to finish at all, that is quite a feat in itself. The baja is very unforgiving no matter what youre driving.

Both trucks looked and sounded good off the start and if you didn't know it was a V6 you would think it was a V8. They didn't sound like those compact turner cars, thank god!!! Good job Ford and looking foward to see them finish.

wy people so crazy about this engine nothing is new the technology existed in Europe. they call turbo....

wow if they build the same turbo like the diesel,,,,they already have problem..volvo use the same turbo gtdi.and ford in 2007 they use a order name call twin force...ford have 2 variable cam timings ti-vct...nothing is new for technology..they change some stuff..

@Mike: The last sentence of the second paragraph should read "90 percent of peak torque" not "90 percent of peak power".

That said, I'd be interested to see what kinds of routine maintenance were performed on the Hero engine. How often they changed the oil, spark plugs, coolant, etc is probably vital to how the engine holds up.

@Al: Good catch! Fixed. :-)

I thought the distance was in kilometers and varied from race to race?
Good luck to the participants.

I had the pleasure of watching the Oshkosh LCV's being built next door from the ground up.

They are one sweet, though heavy at 13,000 lbs. ride!

I work for Oshkosh Defense and it is sweet to see them out on the course right now. This is a great research effort not only for our company but the military likewise.

What we learn from this will be installed into future medium and heavy tactical wheeled trucks for the military.

Is the current plan to integrate the suspension with a current MRAP design? This could be beneficial in Afghanistan were the lack of infrastructure makes travel difficult for the heavy truck suspensions currently used. It seems like the design would be too light to use with the hulls but since the Taliban aren't keen on using IEDs like in Iraq so it could be a good trade off.

Hey maith, if you want to troll and whine learn english!

In response to your attempt at trolling, not all this technology has been used all at once on a v6 in a full size american pickup.
Who cares what crappy little eurotrash car it's used on, this is pickuptrucks.com.

Don't like it? Stop reading about it.

@Mike Levine,

I really apprecited you posting updates on this article.

Awesome! Thanks for the update.

oxy could you please explain to me how oshkosh's TAK-4 susp. system is different than the classic LT double wishbone setup?


Only if we were in Mexico or any other Country but the U.S.

Why is it that the U.S. has to screw everything up? I'm cool ordering a Royal w/cheese @ McDonalds.

Jajajajajjaja! LMFAO.

Someone needs to put a 10k trailer behind it and drive through the Rockies a few times, then we'll see how well it holds up.


Here is a pic. that should explain it all...



The TAK-4 is currently on M-ATV's and being fitting onto legacy MRAP's like Cougar's in the field.

The TAK-4 is also on the Marines MTVR and heavy LVSR platforms and now being put on the front 2 axles of the Army's PLS-A1.

This new suspension being tested is not only the future for light vehicles like the LCV or M-ATV but medium like the MTVR, next HEMTT and the heavies the LVSR and PLS-A1 platforms.

Like I have argued before the U.S. military wants speed and mobility on top of heavy payloads and independent suspensions can meet this mission profile and not straight axles like older trucks of yester-year.

Frank & Lou:

GM has entered the Baja. The drivers are Max & Al.

This picture should explain it all...


@Tom - they'll be in the next Star Trek movie. William Shatner will rescue them from Uranus.

@ Mike Levine

What are Ford's plans for the Hero engine after Baja? Is Ford planning any more tests for this engine? Are they going to tear it down and inspect the internals? Are they going to release detailed maintenance history? This is all stuff that I would find interesting, I'd definitely read an article on it if you post one.

@AL: There are tentative plans to tear the engine down and show it to the media. I say absolutely. We'd love to do an in-depth story on the post-race and torture tests examination.

hey mike, not to pick on you or anything, but is the race running on groundhogs day? (nov. 18 two days in a row)

@ Mike or anyone else who might know:
Do drivers usually help each other out like McCarthy does? To me he seems like a true champion, helping others in times of trouble. It seems like most drivers would be more concerned with 1st place than helping stranded drivers. Do other drivers stop and help or just drive by? Regardless of what place he and Merritt take, they are both winners. Especially if both trucks finish with respectable times, it will make their accomplishments even better. Good luck to the both of them.

A stock engine averaging 58 mph sounds pretty good. I used to follow Baja but only the dirt bike classes.

I hope that you guys plan of following the Dakar Rally team F150.

Hey Mike can you see if they will let you test drive the baja truck with a production truck to see the difference with a vehicle with no miles and a vehicle with some hard earned miles......

@Tom & @Lou

Shoot man, that was funny as hell.

I think old Mike Levine is going to need a long nap after this is all through! These engines continue to impress me in how well they are holding up!

@Gabe Logan: You are so right. I need a nap that lasts about 48 hours. ;-)

@Dave: Yes. One of the awesome things about desert racing is that competitors in different classes will often stop to help other racers out if they have a need.

That is one sick video, 100 mph towing and averaging 80 mph fully loaded is insane. WOW!

Agreed. After watching the dyno stress and nascar track videos I am very impressed. This test is absolutely insane. I would fully expect any engine to have problems after all this. I hope they are being honest with this test not hiding any problems they might have had with that engine. Like the "unknown" bearing.

The log towing thing was kind of dumb. You could do that with a lot of different trucks.

This is the most interesting story I've read here in a while. I'm excited to see the videos on the baja race and the teardown of the engine. Would have been soo much better though to have chevy, dodge, toyota, and nissan all in on this test done by an independent company to compare results. THAT would really be an awesome article if it was done right.

I agree that the NASCAR towing test was way more impressive than the "logging" test. The 'logging" test might impress a city slicker, but that is about it. Averaging 80+ MPH with 11,300 lb. in tow is much more impressive.
The Baja story is interesting. If these trucks fail to finish - it looks like it will be due to something other than an engine or transmission problem.


Yes drivers from other teams help one another out. I recall a Parker 400 Whiplash event where the weatherman (of the Whiplash race series) had a Truck broke down on the course with no chase to support it and they needed some fluid and a few wrenches to fix it up.

We happened to be on the course near a check point before their location, they stopped us at the checkpoint and asked to deliver the fluid and wrenches for them down the course and we did.

That team was relieved to see us come down the course with what they needed. Never saw them again that day or into the night as we continued on the course.

So we do help one another out there on the course.


Strongly agree. So far so good.

@Mike Levine,

11:14 p.m. (PST): Mike McCarthy (No. 899) is running clean and green at Race Mile 750 of 1,061.1. Randy Merritt (No. 898) is ready for new parts that are on the way.

11:29 p.m. (PST): McCarthy still clean/green at RM 766. Crews are preparing for their scheduled fuel and inspection at RM 782, Pit 14. Merritt's crew is trying to rest, knowing soon their mechanical skills will be tested — then the night drive to La Paz.

Is this a typo?

"So we do help one another out there on the course."

I would too as much as I would want help.

@Frank: Sorry, is which part a typo?

You can also track them live.


@Mike Levine,

At 10:10 am, McCarthy is at RM675, then at 11:14 pm He is at RM750.

Am I missing something?


Thanks for the link.

Looks like McCarthy is doing well cruising at 40mph, Merrit 27mph.

It looks like McCarthy is 150 miles away.

@Frank: Got it. We're getting updates sporadically from Baja. It depends on e-mail and cell phone connectivity, which is unreliable down there. Sometimes the e-mails get batched, making the progress look like fits and starts. We're keeping y'all updated as soon as we receive the info!

@Frank- Merrit has been at 27 mph in the same spot for awhile? McCarthy's ride is more important and just waiting for him to finish. Watching the start live and seeing those two take off was great! Wish them both the best.

Well update 13 comfirms why Merrit has been in the same spot going 27mph

@Mike Levine,

Thanks for keeping us posted on Baja. Your doing a stellar job.

Thanks again!

Looks like they both will complete the course. Awesome job to Ford!

I doubt Ford will let anyone touch those engines, they'll be put under the microscope for future engine design and development.

@ Mike Levine, Was the unknown bearing the wheel bearing later mentioned?

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