Christopher Neumayr’s raucous MkII Escort Cosworth is a great example of why these little devils are still regularly seen at track days and hillclimbs. Incredibly light—weighing in at just 1,732 pounds—and pumping out an obscene 302 horsepower from its 2.0-liter Cosworth, the little Escort has a better power-to-weight than a lower-level formula car, and it clearly shows.
Neumayr’s petite beast hops from corner to corner as its Cosworth engine sings all the way to 10,000 rpm, and show remarkable traction despite the age of the vehicle. Major aerodynamic grip helps there, but it’s that weight that allows for tossability and great mid-corner speeds. Whenever he depresses the loud pedal, the car surges forward with some urgency, but it’s progression is just as dependent on the ludicrous amount of speed he can carry into and through the corner. The 16-valve motor might have a respectable 302 horsepower, but it’s a momentum car that thrives on what pros like to refer as “rolling speed,” or entry speed.
That means he’s always rifling through the gearbox, as we can see and hear in the onboard footage:
Going by what’s visible above, the car still looks somewhat nervous at slower speeds, since the peaky motor can still spin up the rear slicks quite easily. However, Neumayr can keep his foot on the throttle the whole time; just riding out the oversteer and still generating momentum. Where this little monster looks most appealing, though, is in the fast corners. Observe the way it’s scalpel-sharp on the way into the blind right at 1:09—that’s fearsome commitment, since a few inches off-line means a trip to the hospital! It still slides around quite a lot at speed, but that’s due to weight transfer and a short wheelbase; not power. The whole experience looks physically demanding and mentally draining, and also seems to reward a delicate touch. Perhaps the photo of his girlfriend on the dash reminds him to use one.