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Ford’s New Drift Stick for Focus RS Steps Up Its E-Brake Game

By: · October 31, 2017

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Ford must really like the word “drift,” as well as the vehicular sliding it describes, a lot. The all-wheel-drive, turbocharged Ford Focus RS hot hatch has a Drift mode, in which more power is sent to the rear axle than typical and apportioned between the left and right rear wheels to enable silly, smoky oversteer. Now, RS owners can add more drifticality in the form of Ford Performance’s all-new “Drift Stick,” introduced during the 2017 SEMA show.

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Essentially an electronically controlled, quick-releasing parking brake, the widget enables Focus RS drivers to pull a lever and lock up the rear wheels to initiate a drift. If you’ve ever seen one of Ken Block’s Gymkhana videos, the concept should be familiar, only Block’s cars utilize a heavier-duty hydraulically actuated rear-axle brake. Since installing a similar setup in a normal car is arduous, Ford came up with a different, easier-to-implement solution.

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Ford Performance Drift Stick 7

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For the most part, the Drift Stick consists of additional code that’s loaded into the RS’s electronic brain via the diagnostic port. The included aluminum lever is installed at the end of the RS’s existing mechanical parking-brake handle, though the two operate independently and act on separate systems. To wit, pulling the Drift Stick not only locks the rear brakes, it decouples the rear axle from the front. Presto, you have the beginnings of a drift, a spin, or simply really unstable straight-line braking with full cooperation from the anti-lock brakes and powertrain. Because the all-wheel-drive system’s clutches that send power to the rear axle when closed are left open during each Drift Stick pull, you can stay on the gas; no need to clutch-kick for the event.

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Before you go running to purchase Ford’s $999 Drift Stick kit, keep in mind that the automaker intends the feature for “track use only.” At the same time, nothing—except  perhaps actual laws—is keeping you from yanking your parking brake when cruising around town, so you could hoon at your discretion, although we didn’t tell you to do so. And Ford will even honor your Focus RS’s warranty with the Drift Stick installed.
-2017 SEMA Show Full Coverage

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Filed under: Ford,News

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