Ah, the Ford Focus RS… the (hotter-than) hot hatch with the stock 305 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that enthusiasts could never buy here in the US of A. Well, that’s the vehicle, with some tunes, that Robb Holland took out on the famed Nürburgring track in the following installment of /RING TESTED.
The RS was equipped with essentially the same upgrades seen on the scorching-hot RS500, with the car driven by Robb putting out 345 horsepower (350 PS) at 5,750 RPM and 340 lb.-ft. of torque (460 Nm) at 3,500 RPM.
But enough talking. Just watch the run. Also, Robb knows he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt before getting on the track. And man is the Porsche that passes him in the first two minutes of the run fast!
The lap was a “solid run” according to Robb, with the added power allowing him to change his braking points in several of the corners thanks to a noticeably-higher approach speed compared to the stock Focus RS. Weight, according to Robb, is a problem in the RS, and the car wasn’t set up to be all that aggressive (no massive camber in the front or toe out in the rear) to help deal with the heft. At the least, this allows drivers to get 2,000 miles from the RS’ tires, which makes sense given that the Focus serves as the Rotek Racing shop’s errand car.
Robb also noted that the RS “was massively quick off the line and through all of the gears and with Ford RevoKnuckle suspension”, and “torque steer did not seem to be any worse than normal”. But a lack of an aggressive setup also means dealing with understeer. Plaguing pretty much all front-wheel drive cars, understeer is not very fun in any driving situation, but it’s especially unwieldy at the ‘Ring, where it makes running a quick lap rather challenging and not all that confidence-inspiring, especially as the car enters most corners at tripple-digit speeds. All that is to say that a quicker lap time could have been achieved with a car that had a more aggressive setup. In fact, that kind of an arrangement saw the car run in the low 8-minute range long after the video you see here was shot.
And all that brings us to the issues that lie in comparing lap times at various tracks around the world, including the Nürburgring. With so many variables (such as the weather, equipment, drivers, and the way in which a vehicle is set up), that it’s a bit silly, since it’s seldom an apples-to-apples comparison.
And here’s something that very few people know: Mountune is the firm that did much of the behind-the-scenes tuning for the Focus RS500. It’s the same official Ford tuner that will make its goods available for North American customers (a big yay for that!), and is also the same company that manages to squeeze 320 horses (380 for next season) from Ford’s 1.6 liter EcoBoost found in the World Touring Car Focus.
But if the new global Focus ST taught us anything, it’s to hope for the next-gen global C-platform-based Focus RS to make its way to the States, and to other markets around the world.