Track Day Review
Took Super Blue to Pocono Raceway over this weekend to instruct with the DelVal BMWCCA Club and would like to give my observations about the ST and how it did on a short road course.
A little background on me. I've been driving at HPDE's for nearly 10 years and at least 3 years as an instructor. I take pride in being as smooth as I can with application of power and gear changing. I tend to be conservative as a driver cause I need to drive my cars home. When I begin to trailer my cars I will then drive straight to the edge. However, I am not trailering so 8 tenths is going to have to do. I've driven the following cars over this time frame an Eagle talon TSi, an SRT-4, an 05 STi, an e30 325e and e30 325i Bimmer, an 09 STi, an E36 M3 sedan (with ZERO options including no sunroof) and finally the Focus ST. So, you can see I've got some experience driving all types and I have to say the 05 STi still is the fastest and most precise car to date. On street tires it annihilated nearly all the other cars on the track. I was capable of lapping my group twice in the advanced group. My instructor at that time was a racer and was extremely impressed with the car and I had other instructors come up to me saying how well I was driving the car. However, it wasn't me it really was the car. Nevertheless, I digress.
First thing to note my ST had only 800 and change miles. So, the engine still has a long way to go until it completely loosens up. Still, I was dying to see what all this torque vectoring was all about and how well it would rotate.
1. It's so quite that with a helmet on you can't hear it at all.
2. It could certainly benefit from an additional oil cooler.
3. It handles OUTSTANDING![hihi]
4. The Goodyears are very nice and offer plenty of grip and all I did was lower them to 30psi cold in frt and 32psi cold in the rear. This combo resulted in the backend swinging around like a belly dancer. Which was most gratifying because it allowed me to continue to drive like I had a rwd car.
5. The suspension is soft, but remarkably is stable and allows for very fast right left transitions.
6. The shifter left me a little nervous, because I got lost and was afraid to go for third a couple of times thinking I was going to get 1st which I've done before at speed leaving me to pray as the car did an unknown number of 360's.
7. The pull out of the corners leaves you like this >>>>[80?] cause it tries to pull your ears off. I pulled on M3's, stroker 325's with 3.1 liter engines and a few Porsche's. I had one Porsche own looking in his mirrors as I filled them with the ST's grill which nearly caused him to go off.
8. I ran the car in full track mode, because I wanted the full experience. I will follow that statement up with I will not say that you do the same and I never recommend this for new drivers on the track or street. In fact in the wet I drove it in sport mode so that I would have some form of TC.
9. I have an ST2, and must say the Recaro's are flippin AWESOME! They hold you in the seat beautifully. Well worth the money.
10. Now, the brakes. The brakes are super for the first 20 minutes then they start suffering, but if you don't drag them and squeeze them good and hard at the moment you need them they will certainly last the session. Ford did a great job matching everything, but how cool would it have been to have real brembo's on there. I would probably get a set a real track pads if I used R-Comps because while the OEM pads work well Ford didn't intend them to be a full on track pad.
11. The steering is ridiculously sharp and the car goes exactly where you point it and if you simply breathe off the throttle the car changes its attitude allowing for reapplication of power.
12. The last thing to note and most important is the oil temps. I noted after pushing it the gauge would sit on the 3/4 mark which for me is a little too high.
13. Along with the oil temps is fuel. BRING LOTS OF GAS! The tiny tank drains fast and the fuel sloshes causing a fuel issue when its below 1/2 tank as the gauge bounces down to E making you believe it's out of fuel when it's not.
Overall, the car is spot on and is utterly amazing. Thank you Ford for building such an amazing car that gets nothing but stares when you return back to the pits because people are stunned that a 20 something car kept up or passed their car which is 2 and 3 times the cost of my little water pistol as my nephew calls it.
Thanks for the good review. It's nice to see someone with a bunch of experience really wring the car out, even though you said 8/10's of potential.
Are you sure it was only 8/10's, sounds like you were kicking A$$. LOL Makes me want to take my regular Focus to Blackhawk Farms and Autox it. Haven't been on track in quite a few years, just got too expensive to do the wheel to wheel thing.
What types of speeds where you seeing on that track.
When I ran mine at summit point I was seeing 120mph on the front straight going into 1 which is about a 50 or 60mph right hand turn. I felt like the brakes where pretty frightening when they got. I guess I should not have been surprised I’m also an instructor and fan get around summit fairly quickly I was just expecting a little more out of them.
What kind of times were you getting or were you not keeping track. I raced Summit Point for a while with an 86 Mustang SVO and an 80 Mazda RX-7 Improved touring.
Nice write up, good read. Makes me want to track mine!
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