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. It doesn’t just look cool, because a micro-switch inside talks to the RS’s electronics and lets you do some big e-brake slides, just as if the car was equipped with the kind of hydraulic handbrake system you’d get in a rally car.Let’s back up for a second and talk about the Focus RS’s Drift Mode, a clever bit of programming that tells the AWD and torque vectoring systems to play nice with the stability control, allowing you to swing the RS around in big, smoky drifts. It’s not quite ready for Formula D, but it’s a fairly safe way to have some fun under controlled conditions – and unlike a completely analog drift machine, it’ll attempt to save your butt if you muck it up.
Where the Drift Stick comes in is if you want to do a rally-style handbrake turn, as opposed to a smoky Drift Mode drift. When you pull the Drift Stick, the electronics inside tell the ABS system and rear differential clutches to allow for the rear brakes to lock the wheels, letting the car rotate without having to hold in the clutch pedal. It lets you do very quick, wide-angle turns without the extensive modifications (and expense) of installing a hydraulic system, so it’s perfect for rotating around a lightpole or a guy in a gorilla suit.
If that tips you off that Ken Block was involved, well, of course he was. This is the perfect thing for him to be involved with, and vice versa.
Installation seems easy. Clamp it over the existing handbrake, bolt a rod to your inboard front seat mount, and plug in the cord into the diagnostic port. That’s it. Easily reversible. And here’s a neat bonus: since it talks to the OBD system, there’s a USB port on the Drift Stick. Plug a cable into that and it acts just like Ford’s diagnostic tool. That means you can download diagnostic data, and more interestingly, upload different tunes. Installing the Drift Stick itself won’t void your warranty, either.
The Drift Stick goes on sale Dec. 1, and it’ll set you back $999. If you want one, head to your local Ford Performance distributor or get one online.