Ford’s Focus RS will be battling the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes A45 AMG for on-road supremacy in the superhatch stakes in 2015. On-track, however, the Ford has a head start thanks to the marque’s secret weapon: rally and drifting legend, Ken Block.
Block is famous for his beautifully shot Gymkhana videos where he can, seemingly, make any car do its best Torvill and Dean impression, but on tarmac instead of ice. His custom-built cars are designed to slide around at ludicrous angles, merrily spinning their tyres into smokey oblivion while leaping around a variety of beautiful locations.
We’ve already seen what the man can do behind the wheel of a stock 2015 Focus RS, but we wondered what his personal RS would look like. Here’s what we came up with:
Styling – Ken Block Ford Focus RS
Immediately standing out as a signature of the drift-god is his outlandish racing livery. A cross between urban camouflage and tribal war paint, the scheme catches the eye and hints at Block’s wild driving style. It’s covered in sponsor decals including Block’s own Hoonigan racing team, Monster energy drinks, his 43 Skull and Crossbones logo and GoPro cameras – an essential part of any edge-of-the-seat Gymkhana video.
At the front, the divisive black element in the grille has been removed to allow more air to reach the enlarged intercooler, and the fog lights have disappeared to help cool the brakes. A front splitter forces the front end into the road and two vents on the lightweight bonnet (complete with bonnet pins) help force air up and out of the car to reduce lift. A roof scoop helps feed cooling air into the cabin.
The biggest change down the side is the conversion to a three-door body style. The extensive redesign means it’s easier to get into the car thanks to the wider front doors – useful when you have to negotiate yourself around a full FIA-spec roll cage. A large NACA duct takes the place of the rear doors to help cool the hard-working differential and rear brakes.
Giant, flared wheelarches have been bolted on to accommodate the wider track and stronger suspension. Lightweight alloy wheel rims in lurid green fill the arches and are fitted with Pirelli high performance off-road racing tyres. Just behind the front wheels are the side exit exhausts – effectively just bits of pipe stuck straight out the back of the exhaust manifold. They’ll probably be spitting flames in Mr Block’s charge.
At the back, a huge rear spoiler echoes the ‘whale-tail‘ spoilers fitted to fast Fords in the 80s while also keeping the rear glued to the road. This is supplemented by an adjustable diffuser that can be set for low drag or high downforce. Much of the boot lid has been replaced with mesh – this saves weight and helps ventilate the car as it inevitably fills with tyre smoke. It also looks awesome…
Driving the Ken Block Ford Focus RS
The car is totally custom-built from the ground up meaning every part of it is race and rally optimised to be as tough as possible. Super-strength suspension with greatly increased wheel-travel has been fitted along with racing carbon-ceramic brakes. The steering rack has ben quickened and lengthened to allow the wheels a greater range of turning, giving rise to the exuberant drifts and smoky doughnuts Mr Block is famous for.
A sequential close-ratio racing gearbox is fitted and feeds power to a heavily uprated all-wheel-drive system. All the driveshafts, differentials, half-shafts and hubs have been swapped out for ultra-high-strength units to take the punishing impacts and forces experienced during a tough rally stage or while being flung around a Gymkhana course.
The interior is completely stripped of all unnecessary weight and the instrument binnacle is replaced by a bespoke racing gauge pack. The high-strength roll cage keeps the occupants safe and kill switches combined with a CO2 fire extinguisher system ensure the risk of fire is kept to a minimum.
Engine – Ken Block Ford Focus RS
Based on the units fitted to his Fiesta gymkhana cars, Block is likely to stick with the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol fitted as standard to the Focus RS. In Block’s car, however, the power will be turned up to borderline-offensive levels. Rally cars are limited to around 300hp but for his Gymkhanas, Block’s team could turn it anywhere up to around 800hp – enough to keep all four tyres spinning all day long.
Ken I have a go?
Well, no – this car, unfortunately, isn’t real. Ken is likely to release another Gymkhana video later this year and, considering his last was in a custom all-wheel drive 60s Ford Mustang, there’s no knowing what he’ll drive this time around. For our money – we’d take this any day.
Check out the other creations to emerge from the fevered imagination of carwow’s car-modifying department – the Jurassic World Mercedes GLE, the Martini Ford GT GT3 car and our Ferrari 488 GTO concept.
Have you spotted it?
There’s one change between the stock 2015 Focus RS and our Ken Block version we’ve not listed here – can you spot what it is? Let us know in the comments below…
All images by carwow and YasidDESIGN