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.


Where are all the naysayers that said a V6 couldn't finish the race? Booyah!!!!!!!!!! The EcoBoost has proven itself and more.

“The Baja 1000 is always a tough race, and many of our customers and enthusiasts saw this event as the ultimate challenge,” said Eric Kuehn, chief engineer of the 2011 Ford F-150. “It was an outstanding opportunity to showcase the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine’s durability. We took an engine that’s stock and essentially 10 years old, and raced on the same course with highly modified competition with up to 800 horsepower.”


I used to finish desert races with my 22r 4-cylinder quite a few times back in the day and drive it back home afterwards, change the oil and filter and race it again and again.

Nice. I recall you said one time that, you were racing down in Baja in the 1990's the Ford Rough Rider teams and in an interview with Dave Ashley he said that a typical Baja 500 or Baja 1,000 would equate to 200-300,000 miles of street testing in 1 race!

Baja is the real proving ground, not a nicely paved road up in the mountains.

Hi Mike, it truly is impressive that you were able to keep the new coming for 48 hours. Get some rest and thank you so much for doing this. Regards, MMP.

@MMP: It's really the Ford Racing staff that deserves the thanks and props. They kept the updates coming from Mexico. We just edited and posted them.

@Mike Levine How much of the Raptor R chassis got overhauled before the race and were there any changes made aside from the obvious of switching from BFG Baja to General Grabbers?

"Where are all the naysayers that said a V6 couldn't finish the race? Booyah!!!!!!!!!! The EcoBoost has proven itself and more."

Are we in highschool still, the last time I heard that saying "boo-yah!" was in highschool.

So, Ford made a v-6 that has lasted thru the baja. I am happy that a motor could last thru a race, great! Now IF I could get myself to buy the 30-40K truck it is wrapped in that would be even better, but I checked out the 2010 and not worth the money, none of the brands are for that matter.

Looks like my 2001 F150 triton 5.4L will continue to truck along and pay me back until this "hero engine" and the truck it's wrapped in comes down the price ladder a bit. Until then, well.......good deal that the motor held up.


I used to finish desert races with my 22r 4-cylinder quite a few times back in the day and drive it back home afterwards, change the oil and filter and race it again and again.

Oxi, at some point sir, you are going to have to give credit where credit is due. Ford is doing great things with their engine, although taking on more of a rice stance IMHO, they are doing good things. That is what this test is about. You have a nice rig, no doubt, but because you are a toyota fan you still have to give credit to Ford for a well engineered engine.

This is a good thing, going to V-6 in a truck and still having capability. I could care less how fast it is (if I want fast, I will ride a speed train or fly in a plane, plenty fast), how long it holds up under racing conditions in baja, whatever. I want to know what the FE is on this masterpiece and whether Ford is optimistic in it's realworld FE vs their "hyped up" numbers. That is where the rubber meets the road. If it gets the same FE as the 5.7L dodge , why buy a TT V6 with all that technology when a pushrod V8 gets near the same FE (I am talking 2-3 mpg)?

The "hero" engine is holding up well. Dyno testing through 150,000 simulated miles with "heat and freeze" cycles is impressive enough. The logging thing was "meh", towing 11,300 for 24 hrs. straight was interesting. The Baja 1000 (this year a real 1,000 + miles) is the most impressive. Guys were questioning reliability of the turbo's . Racing in dust and silt runs some nasty grit through the engine regardless how good your air filtration is. That same dust, silt, mud will plug rads, oil coolers etc. I am impressed that the turbos survived. I don't think the 3.5 EB will turn out to be a dud. The only thing it needs to provide is obviously superior MPG. A few MPG better isn't going to sway me. (after all I did buy a truck with the 5.4 LOL). By the time this engine is done I bet that it will equate to 1/2 million miles.
Kudos to Ford's engineers and baja team.

The 5.4 was a pretty good motor minus a few problems. I agree with oxi. The baja proves you don't need a big v8 motor anymore. They have put more thought and engineering into these new engines than ever before. Bring on small displacement engines.

We should add we're all still waiting on EB fuel economy #'s. And many are also interested in EB fuel economy while towing/working.

Silverado is better.

It's the legend in off-roading. z71. It's the best truck and you can get tough with good locking. You can take it through the woods. It's the total package:

@bobz71 -
yes, we know all about the Z71 with its snow plow low front bumper,
paper thin sheet metal,
and crappy plastic interior.
Oh, I forgot - the superior(sic) limited slip e-locker that requires the truck to go into 4x4 to climb a slippery slope that the F150 and Tundra climbed in 2 wheel drive.
How about the rock grinder low frame?
and of course -ONSTAR.
$24.00 a month feature that my "in my pocket" go anywhere cell phone can duplicate.

@Frank: I think that's about it for changes from Raptor R to EcoBoost Racer. I'll see if I can't get a full list of changes.

@Mike Levine If it's really the same truck I say hats off to Ford, Greg Foutz and Foutz Motorsport for building an awesome truck that has done 2 Baja 1000s and a handful of BITD races.

@ bobz71- I watched that video clip and well I watched the airdam and the bumper push through those cute little mud puddles that my ranger can do with ease. I don't have any issue with anybody having a preferred brand of truck but don't use stock ads from the manufacture. That is silly. Independent test is much better. and yes gm brought there big boy pants to the rumble in the rockies. I know. but give Ford some credit for pushing the edge with their truck engines.

Jason and Lou, I agree.

Small engines are "where it's @" for me. My 5.4LL has been an EXCELLENT powertrain, not fast but that doesn't mean that it is not worthy of competition. Lighter powertrain is better, I agree. That's why I am interested in the 3.7L in an ext cab F150 with 4x4 "if" I decide to go full size again, hell it puts enough power to the ground for me with the numbers provided here. After climbing off my motorcycle, the EB or 6.2L would feel like a dog anyway lol.....no matter how much power they put out, they cannot get to 60 mph in under 4 seconds like my 2400 dollar cruiser can :)

Ok, good job Ford at proving the engine.

How about proving the drivertrain next, the suspension and brakes by running as close to stock!

I can bet you the results would have been different if it was a very close to stock suspension and drivetrain.

That motor would have been pounded even more with a closer to stock suspension and drivetrain. 37" tires gave great ground clearance but really who will put 37" tires on their F-150 to drive over obstacles?

Imagine closer to stock tire size and closer to stock ground clearance and wheel travel, now that would have been the ultimate torture test for the truck and not just the motor.

Ford still did a great job to prove its engines we now see been marketed on the tele.

@ Oxi -
I agree that things would of been a whole lot different with a close to stock truck.
A 3.5 EB in a stock Raptor would of been interesting.

If Ford actually goes to a unibody style configuration for their next F150, they will need to run a near stock chassis in baja to prove durability of that set up.

On Score International's web-site both Eco Boost trucks are now official finishers of the 2010 Baja 1000. Score did extend the finishline closing time for several cars and trucks because of man made obsticals causing severe lose of time for many vehicles. Great job to guys on the crew and in the trucks driving. For Randy Merritt's race report visit www.mongoracing.com in the next few days as we are trying to get it done as soon as possible.

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