This $1,000 toy does a lot more than add a fancy leaver to the handbrake.
As if the rear wing, body kit, available Nitrous Blue body paint, and Brembo brake calipers painted to match weren't enough to signal a Ford Focus RS' intentions, the Blue Oval has used the SEMA auto show as the platform upon which to debut another accessory for its rally-inspired performance machine. This is one we're sure Ken Block is going to like. In fact, Ford even sought his stamp of approval before releasing it to the public.
So what is this magic Focus RS accessory? None other than a simple piece of aluminum that slides over the RS' handbrake. Ford dubs it the "Drift Stick," and true to its name the device is designed to mimic the leaver of the hydraulic handbrakes used in rally cars. It can be pulled whenever the driver wants to let off some steam via the rear tires (in case the Focus RS' inbuilt Drift Mode couldn't supply enough), but the Drift Stick is quite a bit more than just a fancy add-on that makes the parking brake look more dramatic. To back up its hardcore nature with serious performance, the engineers added a micro switch that uses the RS' electronics to mimic the actual operation of a hydraulic handbrake.
When the Drift Stick is pulled, the device's electronics tell the ABS system and rear differential allow the rear tires to lock, the former doing so by looking the other way when the rear tires lock up and the latter by disengaging the clutches in the differential. That allows for rally-style handbrake turns, the type that are tough to pull off using Drift Mode alone and done sloppily with the stock handbrake. Installation can be done by any amateur mechanic, and the added bonus of having the Drift Stick communicate with the RS' electronics is that it can be used to make OBD access easier. Using the built-in USB port, owners can download driving data, upload new drivetrain tunes, and use the port to diagnose performance-killing problems.
Ford cleverly announced that the Drift Stick will be going on sale just before Christmas, on December 1st, so set aside $999 for that special Focus RS owner in your life that you want to impress. Check out how Ford got Ken Block to approve the Drift Stick with this hoon-friendly video.