DEARBORN – Ford recently rounded up NASCAR superstars to race the new Fusion EcoBoost®. The twist: They were asked to hit the top miles per gallon, not miles per hour, with the winner nearly reaching the half-century mark.
It was a hot day in August, with each driver hoping to beat the others and Fusion’s projected 37 mpg highway rating.
New racing sensation and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne fought off his Ford Racing teammates to win the race, called the Ford Fusion EcoBoost NASCAR Miles Per Gallon Challenge. Bayne achieved 46.9 mpg as he and all of the drivers used the car’s advanced fuel-saving technology to easily top its projected highway rating.
Despite the best efforts of Sprint Cup Chase contender Greg Biffle, former champ Matt Kenseth and 2011 Chase runner-up Carl Edwards, Bayne “coasted” to victory in the new 2013 Ford Fusion with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine despite being dubbed the underdog.
“The guys were telling me this may be the only trophy I’ll ever get for driving slow,” said Bayne. “But I’m not going to take it that way; I think this shows Fusion is a powerful and fuel-efficient car and if handled with care and finesse, it can accomplish some amazing things.”
Each driver was challenged to go around the 2.5-mile Ford Dearborn test track three times in 15 minutes and use the in-car calculator to compete for best gas mileage.
Click here to see a full video of the challenge. Click here to read more about the day of the event and the antics that took place between the drivers.
Kenseth started the race by setting the bar high. He achieved 46.2 mpg. The playful yet competitive spirit kicked into high gear when Biffle showed up. He had to stop Kenseth from sabotaging his results by letting the air out of the tires, ultimately managing to achieve 46.0 mpg.
“Kenseth is surprisingly tricky,” Biffle said. “But I think the real problem was that I accelerated too quickly at the start, and good fuel efficiency depends on steady increases of speed.
“Luckily,” he continued, “I think both Edwards and Bayne will have major trouble not accelerating when they see the green flag wave, so I think I’m looking at a second-place finish.”
Edwards, the driver known for post-win backflips off of his race car, fell victim to the heat by turning on the car’s air conditioning, yet still posted 42.2 mpg.
Finally, it was Bayne’s turn. Bayne drew on the lessons of a recent real-life incident in which he almost ran out of gas in his truck. Using drafting techniques honed in racing, he nursed that truck to the gas station. Mirroring that gas-saving performance in his truck, Bayne was successful again, coasting to the finish line to post the top rating of 46.9 mpg, winning the Ford Fusion EcoBoost NASCAR Miles Per Gallon Challenge.
Ford posted a teaser video and asked fans to guess the winner of the Ford Fusion EcoBoost NASCAR Miles Per Gallon Challenge at facebook.com/ford or facebook.com/fordfusion.
Thousands of people responded, posting guesses and comments about who they thought would take home the honor of most fuel-efficient driver. Comments ranged from those with low expectations, like one particular Facebook user who commented, “Biffle, 15.329 mpg,” to the highly optimistic, where another Facebook user predicted Kenseth on top with 62.1 mpg.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost Ford Fusion is designed to achieve up to 37 mpg highway.
Cutting wind, trips to the pump
The new 2013 Fusion will save customers money at the pump with leading efficiency and aerodynamics, a key reason NASCAR stars keep putting the Ford Racing Fusion in the winner’s circle.
To improve fuel efficiency, the new production Fusion features impressive aerodynamics refined by the technology used in designing the race car Fusion for NASCAR. Click here to see a brief video discussing how an aerodynamic body shape enhances fuel efficiency and reduces wind noise.
While race car drivers generally are more interested in miles per hour than miles per gallon, many races come down to which driver best balances speed with efficiency. A refuel at a pit stop can cost a racer multiple laps, so while a NASCAR driver’s goal is speed, he needs to manage the fuel he uses in order to prevent unnecessary stoppage time.
After all, no one likes spending time at the pump.
Another option in the new 1.6-liter EcoBoost Fusion is Auto Start-Stop, which switches off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped in congested traffic, at stop signs and traffic signals. Seamlessly restarting when the driver releases the brake pedal, the system helps to save fuel and preserve the environment. The $295 cost of the new technology is expected to pay for itself in less than 18 months through real-world fuel savings.