Huh? 3-cyl Focus sets 16 speed records

A team of drivers led by works Ford rally driver Jari-Matti Latvala has set no fewer than 16 world speed records in a 48-hour blast at the Ceram test circuit in Mortefontaine, France.

But we're not talking about screaming jet-cars or thundering V8s here; we're talking about bog-standard Ford Focus hatchbacks.

One of the three record-setting Ford Focus hatches at speed on the Ceram oval. Credit: AGENCE S PRESSE CLAUDE SAULNIER

And we do mean standard.

The model in question was the new 92kW version of Ford's 1.0 Ecoboost turbopetrol, which went on sale in February in Europe, and for which Ford quotes 0-100 in 11.3 seconds and a top speed of 192km/h.

First, three cars were selected at random off the Focus production line at the Ford plant in Saarlouis, Germany and taken to Ceram, where they were run in under the supervision of the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile steward.


Then they were handed over to Latvala and his team of eight motoring journalists from France and the United States, who drove them practically non-stop for two days in May around the banked circuit.

In the process they set world records in the sub-one litre four-stroke class for standard production cars at every distance from one kilometre to 4104.7km - which was the distance the quickest team of drivers covered in a 24-hour period.

They posted new benchmarks for the standing and flying mile and kilometre, average speeds over distances from 10km to 1000 miles (1600km) and over times one hour to 24 hours.

The highest average speed recorded was maxed out 191.056km/h over a one-hour period, which meant that one of the drivers (nobody's saying who but our money's on Latvala) had to keep the loud pedal absolutely planted for 64 non-stop laps of the three-kilometre banked circuit.


Standing start one kilometre - 113.522km/h

Standing start one mile (1.6km) - 127.043km/h

Flying start one kilometre - 176.168km/h

Flying start one mile - 173.676km/h

Average speed over 10km - 172.053km/h

Average speed over 100km - 187.579km/h

Average speed over 500km - 186.793km/h

Average speed over 10 miles (16km) - 176.379km/h

Average speed over 100 miles (160km) - 189.459km/h

Average speed over one hour - 191.056km/h

Average speed over 1000km - 164.361km/h

Average speed over 500 miles (800km) - 164.249km/h

Average speed over 1000 miles (1600km) - 165.371km/h

Average speed over six hours - 165.555km/h

Average speed over 12 hours - 166.784km/h

Average speed over 24 hours - 171.029km/h