A NEW CHAPTER IN THE FORD PERFORMANCE ANOLOGUES
Following in the footsteps of past sporting vehicles from Ford is a challenging task. After all, there is no denying Ford’s unparalleled heritage in this area, which means so much to so many generations of car enthusiasts and motorsport fans.
Previously Ford’s performance models were identifiable by the XR nomenclature and later the RS logo but more recently the ST badge has come to the fore. ST stands for Sports Technologies and is a product of Ford’s TeamRS organization.
Ford TeamRS was formed early in 2003 when Ford Motor Company’s competition and performance road car engineers were pulled together for the first time to create performance road cars and new competition models.
The current Ford ST line-up now consists of two models; the Ford Fiesta ST and the Ford Focus ST. Both models can be identified by the newly designed ST badge. The new logo uses a central red stripe design inspired by Ford’s classic RS ‘racing stripes’ logo. The badge will hence forth be adopted by all new Ford ST models.
“The new style ST is more than just a badge, it is a whole new performance and design concept devised by TeamRS as an ongoing part of its road car programme,” explains Jost Capito, TeamRS Director.
“ST should be synonymous with affordable, dependable performance and an ST model should reflect the character of the car from which it is derived,” continues Capito. “We feel we have created something quite unique, and opened up a new chapter in the history of Ford’s performance-orientated cars.”
Engineers aimed to meet very specific goals when designing the current generation ST models. Both the Fiesta ST and the Focus ST were designed to be competitive all-rounders in their respective segments.
“Ford is committed to delivering exciting performance derivatives in our core product portfolio through Ford TeamRS, but we have to deliver what customers expect from these cars, and we have to be sure we can do it at an affordable price.”
Throughout the development phases the engineers and test drivers strived to achieve the most complete hot hatch possible. A primary focus for the team was on reaching optimal balance among various facets of the vehicle.
For example the team needed to pursue the ultimate equilibrium between understeer and oversteer. Similarly the team concentrated on ensuring the right balance between suspension travel and grip from the tyres.
Another important aspect of consideration for engineers was to instill the right amount of confidence in the driver. Both vehicles aim to reward the expert and flatter the novice.
The Fiesta ST was the first road car to be delivered by Ford TeamRS. Powered by a specially modified version of Ford’s 2.0 litre Duratec 16-valve engine the Fiesta ST delivers 110kW and offers a wide spread of torque, creating flexibility and pulling power. The Fiesta ST gets from 0 to 100km/h in just 7.9 sec with a maximum speed of 208km/h.
The Fiesta demonstrates the latest design thinking for the ST brand, as defined by TeamRS. The look is more overtly performance orientated and the cabin benefits from the sporty detailing that is expected in this class.
To date the Fiesta ST has been well received on the local market. Priced affordably, it’s a performance car accessible to the masses. It offers adrenalin pumping levels of acceleration and can maintain momentum through the most demanding series of corners – and all this without sacrificing convenience and practicality.
The Fiesta ST is now joined on the local scene by its big brother the Focus ST. In keeping with the ST design ethos the Focus ST offers mouth watering performance and handling with its fair share of refinement and sophistication.
“Focus ST joins our model range as a big brother to the Fiesta ST. It is further evidence of how our new ST – for ‘Sports Technologies’ – philosophy is being redefined. Ford’s newest ST models are more expressive, yet still fun and rewarding. They offer everything the enthusiast needs to enjoy driving, but they are still practical and affordable for everyday use,” explains Capito
Manufactured at Ford’s Saarlouis Plant in Germany the Focus ST embodies the rebirth of Ford’s Sport Technology models. ST stands for a series of Ford performance vehicles where all attributes match each other to offer a perfectly balanced car
Powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged power plant the Focus ST impresses with its 166kW and 320Nm. It clocks the 0-100km/h sprint in a mere 6.8 seconds and accelerates freely to reach its 240km/h top speed.
Similarly the Focus ST’s handling characteristics are tailor made to reward the enthusiast. Most impressive is the fact that excellent levels of grip and road holding have not impacted on the ride-quality of the vehicle which maintains its composure amicably.
With the introduction of the Fiesta ST in 2005, Ford TeamRS began to refine the spirit of Ford’s volume performance models. The exciting new Focus ST is a significant evolution of Ford’s ST, or Sports Technologies, brand, delivering an addictive personality combined with high performance.
Ford’s longstanding performance heritage is the stuff that legends are made of. The Focus ST looks set to build on the success of its predecessors. January marked the start of the 2006 WRC season and already the Ford TeamRS are making a statement.
The 2006-specification Focus RS WRC, based on the successful Focus ST road car, was conceived, designed and built in a staggeringly short space of time. On its first full competitive appearance, with Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen behind the wheel for the first time, it triumphed over the treacherously icy and snowy roads of the French Alps to beat the world’s best by 61.8sec. Grönholm and Rautiainen followed suit with a second win on the Swedish Rally to make it two out of two for Ford.