Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track?
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Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track?

This is a discussion on Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track? within the News forums, part of the Site News category; by Sam Sheehan, 2 January 2017 If you've seen a video of a Ford Focus RS in Drift Mode, you'll know just how sideways it ...

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Thread: Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track?

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    Super Moderator Hoonigan's Avatar
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    Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track?

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    by Sam Sheehan, 2 January 2017

    If you've seen a video of a Ford Focus RS in Drift Mode, you'll know just how sideways it can get.

    Drift Mode is unquestionably effective at creating big yaw angles, but Iíve been wondering for some time now - can it also be used more delicately to make the RS extra agile on track?

    The question first came to my mind way back in the spring, when I took an RS to Spa-Francorchamps for a track session the day after the World Endurance Championship (WEC) round. I asked Fordís racing drivers for advice on tackling Spa, and all recommended using the drift setting for a quick lap.

    ďIíd use Drift Mode all the time,Ē was the advice of Ford GT racer Billy Johnson. ďItís more fun and agile that way.Ē

    Inspired as I was, the following day I never managed to test Drift Mode at Spa, firstly, because I didnít fancy the prospect of swapping ends halfway up Eau Rouge, and secondly because I didnít want to embarrass myself in front of the pros. I decided to leave the car in the less lively Race Mode, albeit with the electronic stability programme (ESP) off, and that proved to be highly effective.

    Watch the video below to see for yourself.

    Spa onboard

    But that was then. Iíve grown a few more hairs on my chest since (I count two or three), so holding the keys to our long-termer RS and faced with a chilly winter morning at Bedford Autodrome, I finally feel ready to put Johnson's advice into practice.

    Bedford is a familiar setting to me, and the lack of obstacles around the track make it much easier to switch off ESP and engage Drift Mode. Yet even in its slipperiest mode, the RS doesnít immediately feel massively more agile when sticking to racing lines.

    Itís happier to wag its tail on corner exits, but go into a corner at pace, hold the steering lock tight and power hard, and youíre met with understeer ó the sort youíd expect in something like an Audi S3. Go in slower and hold the wheel tight before powering hard and again, the agility isnít immediately there, but rather too much oversteer, which you naturally correct. But then Drift Modeís unconventional torque split means you almost always over-correct and end up looking like a bit of a ****.

    It takes several attempts to learn that the RS in Drift Mode doesnít oversteer as easily as a rear-wheel drive car, like I thought it might, and that it also doesnít so predictably understeer like many all-wheel drive ones often do. Instead, it requires a heavy right foot but also precise steering inputs. Basically, it needs aggression but also some delicacy.

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    If you donít figure that out you might spend the whole day oversteering too much on one corner and then pushing wide on the next. But gel with it, as I thankfully did, and you suddenly find yourself holding lovely powerslides towards corner exits while still enjoying satisfying traction. You find yourself deliberately braking late and letting the car run out wide into hairpins so you can pin the throttle and dance the car onto the apex and then towards the outside kerb. Once unusual responses from the carís all-wheel drive system become predictable and the Drift Modeís ability to shove all of the back axleís torque to the outside wheel becomes a silly but giggle-inducing trait.

    By the end of the day, the only thing that stopped me from lapping well past dusk was the chequered flag. That, and an inside front right tyre that looked to be fast approaching three-point territory.

    Iím not sure if Drift Mode makes the car any quicker on circuit ó in fact Iím almost certain it does the opposite ó but my answer to that opening question is simple. Drift Mode can be used sensibly on track and those of us not chasing laptimes should make it their default choice. Johnson was right.

    Bedford onboard

    Does Drift Mode make the Ford Focus RS more agile on track? | Autocar
    Last edited by Hoonigan; 01-02-2017 at 11:04 AM.
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    RS Pro focus pilot's Avatar
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    the question is, can a moron who can barely drive write an article and post some videos? yes, yes he can
    greg0187 and DeltaT like this.
    Keeping it pinned down while all cylinders are -6 is not good practice

    Money comes and goes, RS don't.
    Dude your life is also ticking away.
    Buy th damn car and mod away.

    The ST is an ST that's all it will ever be.

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    And I thought this forum was different level...Wow...rude just to be rude...
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    Agreed I only see one moron here
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    @focus pilot may not have been the most tactful at his phrasing, but if the video at the end was supposed to show the excellent track manners, the writer failed. Seriously, I don't know who Sam is, but if I was his instructor, we would go back to the fundamentals. He was a mess in almost every corner.
    focus pilot likes this.
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