Ford designs “Drift Stick” rally-inspired electronic handbrake
Just five to six pounds of pressure is required to operate the Ford Performance Drift Stick, significantly less than a hydraulic handbrake.
Ford engineers have been focusing on perfecting the all-new Ford Performance Drift Stick, its first electronically controlled performance handbrake.
The handbrake was developed and designed for Focus RS and approved by rally and stunt star Ken Bock.
The Drift Stick – internally called Project Wicked Stick and led by Ford Performance program manager John Wicks – was born out of the Focus RS industry-first Drift Mode and developed by the same team.
The Drift Stick is an aluminum lever between the driver’s seat and manual transmission, which uses the innovative Ford Performance all-wheel-drive system in conjunction with the antilock braking system, opening up the rear-drive unit clutches and applying hydraulic pressure to lock the rear wheels to induce drift with the simple pull of a lever.
The results are clutch-free drift turns very similar to the experience of a real rally car.
The Focus RS engineering team started developing a rally-inspired handbrake based on the all-wheel drive, drift mode enabled Focus RS they developed.
For final sign-off, professional rally driver Ken Block was consulted on the Ford Performance Drift Stick. He pushed for the electronic handbrake to provide every-day drivers with the quickest possible way to get the Focus RS sideways for large-angle drifts.
“I think it’s really cool that Ford Performance is offering customers a way to create large-angle drifts in the Focus RS,” said Ken Block. “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. It definitely makes the car even more fun to drive.”
Since a hydraulic handbrake would have required substantial modifications to the car that couldn’t be easily reversed, the Ford Performance Drift Stick was developed as an entirely electronic technology.
The Ford Performance Drift Stick is intended for track use only. It is available for customers in the United States and Canada. The kit includes the Drift Stick lever, mounts and circuit board with professional calibration functionality. The car’s warranty is unaffected by its installation.