A sensor based on a mid-IR pulsed quantum cascade laser (QCL) and off-axis cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OA-CEAS) has been developed for highly sensitive concentration measurements of carbon monoxide (CO) in a rapid compression machine. The duty cycle and the pulse repetition rate of the laser were optimized for increased tuning range, high chirp rate, and small line width to achieve effective laser-cavity coupling. This enabled spectrally resolved CO line-shape measurements at high pressures (P ~10 bar). A gain factor of 133 and a time resolution of 10 μs were demonstrated. CO concentration-time profiles during the oxidation of highly dilute n-octane/air mixtures were recorded, illustrating new opportunities in RCM experiments for chemical kinetics.