Science

Ford Focus RS grabs world-first electronically controlled performance handbrake

Ford Focus RS grabs world-first electronically controlled performance handbrake”

The Focus RS is already a phenomenal auto in terms of performance, seats and drive modes, namely "Drift mode", but adding a real handbrake will turn your suped-up grocery-getter into a serious rallycross vehicle.

The all-wheel-drive vehicle already features a "Drift Mode" that directs power to the rear and loses up the stability and traction control to let it spin the tires and do powerslides and donuts when you slam the throttle, but now there's an easy way to get sideways by using the brakes, instead.

Ford Performance just pulled the wraps off of a little SEMA surprise for Focus RS owners: the Drift Stick, a rally-style aluminum handbrake that slips over the existing handbrake. Developed, designed, approved by Ken Block, this world's first electronically controlled performance handbrake, means you can really try your hand and pulling off those handbrake turns, drifts and everything Gymkhana (on the track of course).

For the final sign-off, Ken Block provided his feedback to Ford Performance, pushing for the electronic handbrake to be offered as it offers basically the quickest possible way to get the Focus RS sideways without a clutch for large-angle drifts. The system is entirely electronic and doesn't require an extra set of rear calipers like you'd find on an aftermarket hydraulic setup for drift or rally cars.

The Drift Stick was developed by a group of Ford Performance engineers led by a petrolhead named John Wicks - hence the internal code-name Project Wicked Stick - who were originally responsible for the drift mode on the new all-wheel drive Focus RS.

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"The passionate engineers at Ford Performance are also enthusiasts", said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance.

Modern cars are packed with so many electronics that even parking brakes have been affected, to the disappointment of driving enthusiasts who need that a traditional hydraulic brake to drift a auto on a track like they're in a video game.

Intended for track use only, it takes just five to six pounds of pressure to operate the Drift Stick, which is significantly less than a hydraulic brake and with no excess effort, according to details at the Ford Performance Parts website.

The drift stick also features a USB port that doubles as a diagnostic tool, and installing the drift stick won't void your warranty in the U.S. on Canada.

Customers will be able to order the "Drift Stick" starting in December, and it will cost $999. The car's warranty is unaffected by its installation.



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