Ford has rather ingeniously made an eight-part documentary of the inside story in the making of the Focus RS with the help of Ford Rally and Hoonigan Racing division superstar Ken Block. The company has done a fair bit of hyping on the all-new RS model, especially with the new EcoBoost engine.
Having said that, what other cars have had the privilege of bearing the RS badge ? It all started in 1970 with the Ford Escort RS1600 and the sexier Capri RS2600. These two legends started the craze of hot British coupes and sedans. The culmination of this was the Escort RS Turbo and the insane RS200 model with the mud-slingers kicking out in excess of 500 hp from their four bangers. Legends in their own right is to say the least.
The 2015 Focus RS is more of a throwback to the all-wheel drive fire spitters such as the Sierra Cosworth 4×4 and the Escort RS2000 4×4 which needed the quad-drivers to channel the power down onto the black top for better, more responsive and immediate feel that made them excellent track warriors. Back in the day, be it on the streets or on the track, utter the words “Ford-RS” and most would tremble with trepidation. Such was the reputation the moniker carried.
It really is fascinating to watch the engineers and the factory’s tech guys get down and dirty with the development project of the Focus RS. Like all other global models, it undergoes rigorous testing on all sorts of weather and conditions – from the desert of Arizona to the bone chilling Arctic.
The eight-part weekly episodes starts today:
- Episode 1: Project kick-off – Ken Block and Raj Nair debate what the car should deliver, from behind the wheel of an early prototype
- Episode 2: Design and development – Crunching crashes put the new design to the toughest of tests
- Episode 3: Hitting the road – A 1,600-kilometre (1,000-mile) drive through epic terrain takes prototypes from high in the Rocky Mountains to the Arizona desert
- Episode 4: Test-track trials – Block heads for Ford’s top-secret test facility, and indulges in some “hooning”
- Episode 5: Arctic extremes – Winter testing in Sweden, and the team is under pressure to improve performance
- Episode 6: Power struggle – It’s all about performance, as the Ford manufacturing plant in Saarlouis, Germany, gears up for production
- Episode 7: Close scrutiny – The day of the critical sign-off drive follows Block’s headline appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
- Episode 8: Final chapter – It’s time for the nail-biting management review
Be sure to subscribe to the Ford Performance page on Youtube to catch all eight episodes.