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Old 02-24-2015, 04:03 PM   #1
GronkDaSlayer
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Focus ST @Laguna Seca

Yesterday was my first track day with the Focus.
I have 4000 miles on the car so I figured that I was used to it enough.

Got to the track at about 7:30AM, registered, chit chatted with a couple folks here and there, attended the rider meeting and at 9AM the Advanced group (which I was part of) went on the track. Our group was small and maybe we had a dozen cars.

Most of which were Lotus cars (Track day sponsored by Golden Gate Lotus Club) besides a BMW, a Golf GTI, a Gen 4 Viper, a couple Caymans and the lone Focus

Before going on the track, I chatted with a dude I knew from a couple years back as he owns a Lotus shop (specialized in suspensions) and he told me that some of his customers own the ST and that they told him that the brakes on that car heat up pretty quickly. With that in mind, I thought I'd be even more conservative than I had previously planned on being.

Did the first lap pretty slow since tires were a little cold and because I don't really know how hard I can push them.

Started picking up some speed by lap #2 and was getting a little more comfortable with the tires. Then I started noticing a few things.

I'm used to drive my Turbo Elise on the track so here are the main differences:

- The Elise pulls a lot harder than the Focus (then again, I got some 300RWHP on the Lotus) and it's also 1200lbs lighter :)
- The stock suspension on the Focus is ok but too much roll for track duties
- I shouldn't downshift to 2nd for Turn 11 because I'll spin the front wheels accelerating out of the turn.
- The ESC should be turned off

Last thing was the brakes.
While they do pretty well on the street, they clearly aren't up to snuff on the track. In a 20min session I ended up cooking them completely...

By the 3rd lap, I could feel them fade and it kept on getting worse. Going down the straight (Turn 1 really) I was doing about 110MPH and started my braking initially by the 3 brake marker and as laps when on, I had to brake earlier.

On the last lap, I started braking maybe 50 meters before the '3' marker and my foot was touching the floor... Car did slow down but I came into turn 2 a little hot. I was actually still on the brakes in the middle of it. I usually use trail braking on the Elise but this time, I had to do it because I had no choice.

I exited on that lap and while going through pit lane at idle, I could see smoke coming out of the front (pads).

Went to get some gas (The ST did a little less than 14MPG on the track) and the brakes were really mushy.

I figured that I would wait for them to cool down and try again.
Even cooled, still no pressure at all and the pedal remained super soft (was fun driving back home with almost no brakes).

Pads went from 95% worn to 40% if even that. The discs are toast as well and the brake lines heated up so much that since they are rubber, their diameter is forever changed (even after bleeding them a little, still no pressure can be observed).

I included a few pics of the discs.

Bottom line is that if you're thinking about tracking the Focus you need to do at least the following upgrades:

- SS Brake Lines
- 2 piece front discs
- upgraded rear discs
- Better pads (Hawk HPS Plus or whatever). Sadly the choice for pads is rather limited. I wanted to get some Carbone Lorraine but they don't make those for the ST. I couldn't find any Pagid either but maybe I just failed to find those.

In addition to destroying the brakes, I think I also cooked one or more TPMS. On the way back I got the message that my tire pressure was low so I stopped, check with the tire gauge and since I had my compressor in the back, put some air back in there. Tires went from 32psi to 36psi but the warning never went away. Maybe the TPMS needs to be reset, I don't know but hopefully I haven't destroyed them as well.

I know that it got really hot in there because after the session, picking some gas and chatting for a couple of minutes with some dude, the tires were at almost 45psi (I set them up to 35psi before going on track) excepted for the front left tire, which was a about 50psi. When I let the air out of that one tire, I could feel that the air was pretty hot. Wheel being aluminium basically heated up via the hub.


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Last edited by GronkDaSlayer; 02-24-2015 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention the TPMS
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:41 PM   #2
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Wow. Good to know about the brakes and track work.
One question: Do you have the early smaller brakes?
(from the pics I would guess yes) Or, the larger brakes?
Build date:before 3/31/2014? (smaller brakes)
Build date after 3/31/2014? (larger front brakes)
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:02 PM   #3
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Yes, every review of the ST noted this as it's weak point.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
Wow. Good to know about the brakes and track work.
One question: Do you have the early smaller brakes?
(from the pics I would guess yes) Or, the larger brakes?
Build date:before 3/31/2014? (smaller brakes)
Build date after 3/31/2014? (larger front brakes)
Don't know. I'll have to look tonight. It's written on the door, close to the tire pressure recommendation right?
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focus112 View Post
Yes, every review of the ST noted this as it's weak point.


Can't say I read too many reviews but even if I did, I would still have been surprised they got toast in such a little amount of track time.

I have already ordered new discs and pads plus lines. I'll probably install them this week-end.

I can't put the BBK though since my track wheels are 17". Yesterday I went with the stock wheels because I received my new wheels last week and didn't have time to get tires.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
Don't know. I'll have to look tonight. It's written on the door, close to the tire pressure recommendation right?
Or you can run the vin through etis.ford.com and read the date in the european date format (Day.Month.Year)



1201204235001:

1 - US check digit
2012- Year of production
04- Month (April)
23 - (Day, April 23)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post


Can't say I read too many reviews but even if I did, I would still have been surprised they got toast in such a little amount of track time.

I have already ordered new discs and pads plus lines. I'll probably install them this week-end.

I can't put the BBK though since my track wheels are 17". Yesterday I went with the stock wheels because I received my new wheels last week and didn't have time to get tires.
You can run something similar to the 13.1" rotor upgrade or maybe a bit bigger from the later 2014.5+ Focus ST under 17" wheels, other wise you'll have to come up with some cooling duct solutions that maintain the dust and heat shields to protect the hubs if you're dead set on not running a bigger rotor and caliper that won't clear the 17" wheels.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:26 PM   #7
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Interesting note about the paint :)

Build Date: 20.11.2014
Vehicle Line: Focus (C346N)
Body Style: 5 Door Saloon
Version: ST
Engine: 2.0L EcoBoost (250PS)
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual Transaxle - MMT6
Drive: LHD FWD
Emission: 50 State Emission Requirements
Air Conditioning: Manual Air Conditioning
Paint: Electric Gold 2
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
Interesting note about the paint :)

Build Date: 20.11.2014
Vehicle Line: Focus (C346N)
Body Style: 5 Door Saloon
Version: ST
Engine: 2.0L EcoBoost (250PS)
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual Transaxle - MMT6
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Emission: 50 State Emission Requirements
Air Conditioning: Manual Air Conditioning
Paint: Electric Gold 2
11/20/2014 should have the larger front rotors already (and a 17" spare wheel).

Sounds like you managed to find a way to demonstrate how even the upgrade is insufficient for extreme track use.

Electric Gold 2 is what the color is known as to the Ford Customer Service Division though you and I know it as Tangerine Scream.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:07 PM   #9
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You did better than some Magazine test ST's that had to be Flat Bedded away from the track after testing....

Those front brakes don't get a rest, since the traction control is using them when accelerating as well as the use for braking.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Those front brakes don't get a rest, since the traction control is using them when accelerating as well as the use for braking.
You're right. I forgot to turn off the traction control but even without it, I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't baked those in the 1st session, I would have in the next one.
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