With most new cars today being fitted with electronic handbrekes, a lot of enthusiasts are saddened as they claim that the fun of driving is slowly drifting away. And this is exactly what is happening—well, one cannot perform a drift using an electronic parking brake, that is. Or can they?
Ford Performance, the in-house tuning arm of American carmaker Ford Motor Company, says that it may have a solution to this dilemma. Sure, the electronic handbrake makes everyday driving easier as quick engagement of the parking brake is achieved. Yet in cars like the Focus RS, this isn’t much fun , especially when you find out that it has a Drift Mode that you can play with.
The engineers at Ford Performance have developed the Drift Stick—internally known as Project Wicked Stick. It is an aluminum lever placed right next to the driver for easy access. It uses the Focus RS’s all-wheel drive system and the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to apply hydraulic pressure by opening up the rear-drive clutches. This, in turn, locks the rear wheels and induces a clutch-free drift.
While it would have been cool to just use a manual handbrake mechanism, it would have been rather tedious as most of he stuff in the car, such as the said Drift Mode system, are electronic. To simplify matters, Ford Performance folks used existing technology to help provide more fun behind the wheel.
This mix of old and new tech actually has its benefits. For one, the handbrake can be applied and released instantaneously. It can likewise be installed in a flash as no welding or drilling is involved. Plus, it easily connects to the car’s onboard diagnostics.
The icing on this cool cake is that rally and stunt driver Ken Block has given this piece of kit the thumbs up. He even put it through its paces before letting Ford Performance share it with the world.
Ford Performance, however, says that the Drift Stick should only be used for the track. After all, this is the safest place to perform those drifts. It can be ordered thorough authorized Ford Performance dealers beginning December 1, 2017.