It doesn’t take a genius to understand that if you sell a car with tuning potential, tuning enthusiasts will buy it. What’s more, it’s claimed that every tuner who buys a car recommends it to ten times more people than the average owner, making us good ambassadors for the brand.
The company that acts on this information most effectively might be Ford. When the Mustang was launched, they wheeled out a slew of modified examples, providing potential buyers with plenty of inspiration.
So it came as no surprise that when Ford unveiled the 2012 Focus at the 2010 LA Auto Show last December, it was surrounded by a horde of modified cars to set pulses racing.
Not only that, but they had the high-performance Focus ST on display as well. It’s set to launch here in 2012, promising genuine European performance from its 250hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-pot. We had an opportunity to sit down with its creator and to scrutinize what some leading tuners envision for the new car
The Focus ST’s development was undertaken by Team RS in Europe and SVT in the US. Its engineers were responsible for the Focus RS, Shelby GT500 and F-150 SVT Raptor.
As director of Global Performance and responsible for global motorsports strategy, German-born Jost Capito has one of the best jobs in the industry.
His motorsport background began in endurance motorcycle racing and motocross before winning the truck category in the Paris-Dakar Rally in ’85.
He worked at BMW Motorsport for several years, as well as Porsche Motorsport and Red Bull Sauber F1 before arriving at Ford. The Focus ST and Focus touring car programs are his latest projects. We talked to him about the forthcoming ST model and what it meant for US performance enthusiasts.
Our first concern was that the ST would be a watered-down version of the European model, as previous Focus SVT models had been. Everything will be the same, Capito assured us. We will even offer winter tires as an option so customers understand there’s no compromise in its performance, he continued, indicating the car would come with summer tires as standard.
However, the ST isn’t a track car. It’s a street car with full functionality. Most young drivers only have one car, so we need this to be usable every day.
We asked him which ST feature made him proudest: I’m proud of the balance we have, where all the attributes are good.
Car enthusiasts know about cars and the ST has to meet those expectations in braking, handling, power, visual everything. We’ve worked hard to balance the package, and then done what we can to invite people into the car by adding a black headliner, Recaros, a sports steering wheel, etc.
Jost then outlined the shared DNA with other Ford products. There will be a parts program available through Ford Racing, just as we do with the Mustang. You’ll be able to put ST parts on base cars, for example, and Mountune is developing engine tuning parts for the car that we may bring to the US.
I’m a big motorcycle guy and people like to tune them. It’s the same for cars, where people like to improve and change things. We’ll try to help them do that, he continued.
With the 2012 Focus ST set to launch at the end of the year, Ford RS and SVT are still fine-tuning the car, according to their boss. The basic architecture is set and you can find its specification in the News pages at eurotuner.com
We’ve heard rumors that its 250hp 2.0L turbo motor might be changed for the US market, but Capito was adamant that wouldn’t happen. So we pushed him about Focus RS product the ultimate, rally-bred derivative of Ford’s global car. Jost told us: If the RS version happens, I see no reason why it can’t come here
With those words, and the promise of a 250hp Focus ST due later this year, budget-conscious performance fans might want to put the Blue Oval on their shopping list
At the 2010 LA Auto Show, Ford brought several modified versions of the Focus including a global touring car concept. It was built to demonstrate its potential for touring car championships. This concept led to the world’s first racer based on the new Focus platform. Developed by Arena Motorsport, with tech support from Ford, it is the first car to emerge from Ford’s global initiative to support private teams in developing a common racecar to FIA S2000 spec.
Arena Motorsport’s Team Aon has been a long-term competitor in the British Touring Car series. Competing in a previous version of the Focus ST, driver Tom Chilton secured both the 2010 Independent Teams’ and Drivers’ Championship in the hard-fought UK series. This new Team Aon Focus will compete in all 10 rounds of the 2011 BTCCwith a 2.0 turbo motor to meet series regulations.
Our VW tuning friends at Euro Sport Accessories also runs the FSWerks division from its Anaheim, CA facility. Devoted to Focus and Fiesta modifications, it built this 2012 Focus with a Euro-flavor for the 2010 LA Auto Show.
While the color scheme was dictated by Ford designers, the tuner added 19" DPE R16 wheels with Conti DW tires plus H&R coilovers. For performance, the 2.0 16v received an FSWerks exhaust and intake but we understand they’re possibly looking at a turbo conversion for the future.
Better known for its work with Japanese imports, 3dCarbon worked on the Mustang back in ’04 and now has body kits for most Ford models. For the LA Show, the company fitted its own roof wing before wrapping the car in matte black 3M film. Other additions included 20" Series KM650-KMC wheels, H&R springs and an FSWerks cat-back exhaust.
For more details and photos on these Focus concepts and racecars, check out the News and Blog pages at eurotuner.com.