Ford Focus RS Drift Stick provides on-demand sideways action

As if the Ford Focus RS’s famed “Drift Mode” isn’t enough, Ford Performance used the 2017 SEMA show to reveal its next supplement to on-demand sideways action: the Drift Stick, a Ken Block-approved electronically controlled performance handbrake you can retrofit to the Focus RS.

Rally cars utilize hydraulic handbrakes to initiate quick drifts, though a hydraulic unit would require substantial modifications. Ford Performance instead worked out an electronic solution that taps into the antilock braking system, opens up the rear-drive unit clutches, and applies hydraulic pressure to lock the rear wheels. Boom, instant clutch-free drifts.

The development team began work on the Drift Stick shortly after they finalized the Focus RS’s all-wheel-drive Drift Mode, with a desire to further integrate Ford’s rally-racing roots into the production car. Ironically, Ford has since ended its World Rallycross Championship program. However, the team brought in brand ambassador and rally champion Block to validify the electronic handbrake, and he pushed for an easy-to-use system to only heighten the fun factor.

Ford Performance Drift Stick for the Ford Focus RS

Ford Performance Drift Stick for the Ford Focus RS

“I think it’s really cool that Ford Performance is offering customers a way to create large-angle drifts in the Focus RS,” Block said. “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.”

Since the Drift Stick works electronically, Ford Performance also baked in its professional calibration tool. Drivers can plug a USB cable into the handbrake and pull select diagnostic data and upload powertrain calibrations to the RS.

Of course, Ford Performance designed the Drift Stick for track use only—don’t be an amateur Block on the streets. The handbrake will sell for $999 and comes with the lever itself, mounts, and a circuit board for calibration. For more from SEMA, head to our dedicated hub.

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