If you watched any of the Ford Performance Geneva Press Conference, the video of which we shared earlier in the day, you may have picked up on a little detail; namely, that the 2016 Ford Focus RS will have a magical “drift button.”
Lovers of tire smoke, rejoice!
While this drift button may sound like scores of maimed teenagers waiting to happen, Road & Track reached out to Ford Performance Chief Dave Pericak for elaboration and clarification. We have good news for the mothers of teenage boys everywhere; their lives are not in any immediate danger.
See, the “drift mode” in the 2016 Ford Focus RS acts in conjunction with the Electronic Stability Control, so that the safety net isn’t entirely removed from underneath the driver. The system, by some means or another, senses the car’s yaw rate, while also collecting data regarding steering and throttle inputs to assess whether the driver is keeping pace with the drifting. Should the driver fall too far behind, that’s when the ESC kicks in, hopefully maintaining some sunlight between your shiny new Ford Focus RS, and that tree over yonder.
Mr. Pericak sums up the system thusly: “The limits we’re going to set give anyone enough room to have fun, there’s no need to turn it off. If you’ve gone as far as we’re going to let you [go], then you probably shouldn’t be going any further.” Read that? You can turn the ESC off completely. Just, please, know your limits.
He continued: “It’s like [being] a trapeze artist—we’re going to put the safety net underneath you, but you’re still going to have to go up there and perform the stunts yourself.”