With its clever GKN Twinster all-wheel drive system and an electronic Drift Mode, the Ford Focus RS is already better qualified as a drift car than most hot hatches. That hasn't stopped Ford Performance in the USA from teaming up with Ken Block to create an optional tailor-made for tail-happy hooligans.
The new 'Drift Stick' is a factory option for the Focus RS, and makes it easier to get the car sideways by opening the rear-drive unit clutches and hydraulically locking the rear wheels. Ford says the effect is a clutch-free drift similar to that of a proper rally car.
Unlike a regular handbrake, the 'Drift Stick' engages and releases instantly, and Ford says the force required to use it is significantly lower than usually required by a hydraulic handbrake.
No extra welding or drilling is required to install the unit, which sits between the driver seat and the transmission tunnel, and it connects up to the diagnostics port on the car for proper calibration.
Ford even says owners will be able to download new tunes or maps for the system as they're developed.
"I think it’s really cool that Ford Performance is offering customers a way to create large-angle drifts in the Focus RS. Obviously it’s something that I’m really passionate about having been a part of the development of the production vehicle, so it’s exciting to see it come to life," said Ken Block. "It definitely makes the car even more fun to drive."
Believe it or not, the Drift Stick will be a part of the Ford Performance catalogue in North America, meaning anyone with a spare US$999 ($1300) can have it installed in their Focus RS. Ford stresses the setup is only for use on the track.
As for Australia? "The Ford Performance Drift Stick unlocks another level of the Focus RS’s lauded track capability, and Australian owners looking for this item should visit the Ford Performance web site. We’re proud of the passion for the Focus RS, and the reaction of Ford Performance products including the forthcoming Ranger Raptor," Damion Smy, Ford Australia product communications manager, told CarAdvice.
Watch Ken Block test the Ford Focus RS's new Drift Stick in the video above
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the 'drift stick' below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.