Some of you noticed an extremely fast Ford Focus chasing the Ferrari 458 Italia in the first installment of /RING TESTED. Here's that car on a hot lap around the Nürburgring showing just how fast FWD can be.
OK, before we get into things on this week's installment let me just say one thing: I KNOW I WASN'T WEARING MY F'ING SEATBELT!
Turns out that I need 5 or 6 takes to get a "one-take" shot done and I was so focused on getting my intro right that I forgot to put on my belt before my drive over to the track. That take was the first time I got it right without screwing it up so when I realized I hadn't put my seatbelt on it was already too late.
With that out of the way this weeks episode of /RING TESTED was covering some familiar territory for me as our subject car also happens to be our shop car, which also happens to be a Mountune-tuned Ford Focus RS.
I've been not so secretly in love with Fords insanely tuned hot hatch ever since they launched it in 2010. It was an unrequited love as Ford so brilliantly decided not to offer the Focus in RS trim here in the good 'ol U.S. of A.
So one of the first things I did when we opened up shop in Germany was run out a buy one. As they aren't in production anymore I had to settle for a lightly abused one (RS's only come in 2 flavors: lightly abused and heavily abused) with about 26k on the clock.
As awesome as the RS is straight out of the box (and with the 2.5L five-cylinder putting out 305-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque with no lag from well below 3000 rpm, it is awesome) there was still something missing. Oh yeah MOAR POWER!
The guys at Mountune Engineering have been adding MOAR POWER to Fords since way back in the day (David Mountain was playing around with Group B rally cars while most of us were still in diapers). In fact, when Ford decided to make an even more insane version of the RS, the RS 500, they rang Mountune up and got them to do the dirty work.
The kit that's on our RS now is basically the exact upgrade that you would get if you were to buy the RS500. (Well except you can't get it because you probably live in the U.S. of-hatchback hating-A that doesn't get the RS or the 500).
As an aside, Mountune also is the company that manages to squeeze well north of 320 hp (380 hp next season) out of a 1.6-liter engine for our World Touring Car Focuses (that we are not competent enough to go fast with according to Mr. Ballaban). So basically, when it comes to tuning fun Fords, these are the guys to call.
What does the Mountune kit do? MOAR POWER (ok I'll stop now) When all the shouting stops the Mountune Focus RS puts out 350PS (345 hp) at 5,750rpm with torque now raised to 460Nm (340 ft/lbs) at 3,500rpm.
Basically the fun knob is turned up to 11.
And this is the car that I get to thrash around the Nürburgring on a daily basis and make all of the first timers (and Jalopnik interns) puke their guts out after a couple of laps.
My life does not suck.
So basically to get the footage for this episode, I simply had to walk out our Rotek Racing shop door, hop in our shop car, and take a quick spin over to the 'ring. Simple except for the fact that I'm a guy who can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time because I apparently forgot TO PUT MY F'ING SEATBELT ON!
I can't wait for all the youtube commenters to unload on me this week. First world problems, I know.
As for the lap itself, it was a pretty solid turn other than my RS's new found ponies made me change my braking points for several of the corners as my approach speed went up noticeably from the stock car.
To be frank, the only real issue with the RS is weight. She is a bit of a porker and as she is our shop car for running errands driving to the airport and the like, we haven't been too aggressive with our set up to help deal with her heft. No massive camber in the front, no toe out in the rear means we get to get more than 2,000 miles out of tires before they are scrap but it also means that we have to deal with the bane of all front wheel drive cars, terminal understeer.
Understeer is a pain to deal with in the best of circumstances but at the 'Ring it makes turning a quick lap time almost impossible. The entry speed in to most of the corners at the 'ring is well over 100mph and the last thing you want to deal with at that speed is a hugely understeering car.
Could we have turned a faster lap with a car that was properly set up? Absolutely. In fact when we did have some time for our race engineers to do some set up on the car (after the race season had ended and long after this video was shot) it was massively faster, with times in the low 8-minute range.
This is the issue with comparing lap times at the 'ring or any track for that matter. There are so many variables (set up, weather, equipment, drivers, etc) that go into turning a quick lap time it is very difficult to get an accurate comparison between cars at the Nürburgring.
So back to the RS. Did I like the changes that Mountune's kit made to our RS? Hell yeah! Like my dog likes sniffing other dogs' butts. The car was massively quick off the line and through all of the gears and with Ford Revo- Knuckle suspension torque steer did not seem to be any worse than normal. It's a great car made faster, which means made better.
There are rumors of a new generation RS. If the current ST is any indication of things to come hot hatch enthusiasts on this side of the pond should be shouting at the top of the lungs in Dearborn's direction to make sure that we don't get passed over this time. And if it comes I'm sure the guys at Mountune will be there to give it MOAR POWER!