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Exclusive first drive of the US spec 2014 Ford Fiesta ST

by Bryan Redeker, Fiesta Movement Agent

          Out of everything I did in Brazil for the X Games and the Fiesta Movement, my favorite moment was the one not captured on film or with anyone with me. It wasn’t hanging out with Tanner, Ken, or Brian. It wasn’t talking rally with ESPN. It wasn’t even being the first to repel down the most powerful dam in the world. It was the 20 minutes I spent with a Fiesta ST prototype. Even with the first Fiesta Movement, the program has always been about the car. The car was the star, and not me or Brandon. I never saw the program as a way to get more YouTube views or more friends online. It has always been about the connection between man and machine. I spent a day filming with both Fiesta ST’s at the Iguassu Falls, and almost instantly, I felt connected to the cars. After filming with the Performance Blue Fiesta ST and Molten Orange ST pace car, it was time to get the cars back to the GRC paddocks. The only problem was there were too many cars and not enough drivers who could drive a stick. I offered my services to transport the Performance Blue ST. Doing so would make me the first person outside of Ford Motor Company to drive a US spec Ford Fiesta ST.
 

          The Fiesta ST fires up with the same push-to-start as the regular Fiesta and you get more exhaust note at ignition. A slight blip of the throttle is rewarded with the sound of a spooling turbo. The ESC OFF button is next to the shifter, right where it should have been from day 1. I turned it off because nobody should ever drive a car with a system that limits hooning. The gear lever is shorter than the regular car, but not as short as the Ford Racing shifter. It is also not as tight, but most consumers would want it that way. Leaving the falls under the watchful eyes of security personal, the ST is not much different than your normal car. It gets a ton of stares and you sit more like you would in a fighter plane than a compact car with the highly bolstered Recaro seats. I was now strapped in behind the wheel of a 197hp, 1.6L turbocharged rocket with miles of smooth Brazilian asphalt under me.
 

          Once past the eyes of armed security, I jump on the throttle in 2nd gear and the ST springs to life. There isn’t any torque steer as the trees quickly become blurred. The turbo spools with the sound a jet engine. The intake and exhaust notes create a symphony of mechanical music in the cockpit. Let off of the throttle to shift into 3rd and there is a loud Pffffffffffffffttttttttt from the waste gate. Oh yea, this thing makes real turbo sounds. For the next few miles I left the car in 4th and just revved the engine under load to listen to the turbo spool and waste gate release excess pressure. My face began to hurt from all the smiling and laughing that was going on with all the turbo foolishness. I giggled like a child with each release of air from the blow off valve. The next few miles were spent downshifting, accelerating, and shifting into 4th in order to hear all the glorious sounds coming from the ST.
 

          The area around the falls is full of these small raccoon looking animals called Coatis’. Of course being curious little guys, one ran out in front of the ST while I was listening to all the turbo sounds. I jumped on the brakes and the ST came to a stop with an incredible amount of force. The upgraded pads, larger rotors, and rear rotors have the effect of a brick wall then the middle pedal is pushed down. The pad compound is grabby, but that is normal for brakes that don’t have many miles on them. The pedal feels very firm and it was easy to modulate braking during the panic stop. I let the little guy waddle across the road, which was fine since it gave me an excuse to accelerate from a dead stop and run the car through the gears again. The ST quickly caught back up to the rest of the convoy and the car sure accelerates faster than I would have expected it to. Even with the AC on, the engine just loves to pull.

           I decided to test out the handling by slaloming around the reflectors on the center of the road. I fully expected the ST to have a softer suspension than the Ford Racing suspension I have installed on my Fiesta. Typically, the Ford Racing guys get to have a more enthusiastic suspension than the production guys will allow. Not the case at all! The ST is much stiffer than the Ford Racing suspension, and the rear is vastly stiffer in roll. The steering input is also more precise than the regular Fiesta with summer tires and the FRPP suspension. The ST carves the slalom with the precision of a scalpel and the car wants you to go faster and push harder. It changes direction more like a F1 car or a go-kart instead of a bubbly hatchback. I felt like I could pick a pebble on the road and make the car clip it with the edge of a tire. This car will dominate autocrosses.
 

          We arrived at the GRC paddocks and the fun was over. The Fiesta ST provides a level of joy that I have not felt from a car in a very long time. I have driven all sorts of pricey sports cars and muscle cars and none of them have made such a huge impression on me. I thought for sure that the Focus ST would still be the car for me since it would be impossible for any car to beat it. I was wrong; the Fiesta ST is vastly more fun, more engaging, and full of more sounds than the Focus. The Fiesta ST simply works perfectly. It doesn’t isolate the driver from the mechanical bits and sounds that make a car fun to drive. It doesn’t hide anything; instead, it puts all of those things in tune with your body. The result is a compact car that is an extension of the driver. A shifter kart with a roof. Of everything I did in Brazil, I would have not thought a 20 minute drive would become the icing on a very exciting cake. Yes, the Fiesta ST is that good.

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2011 Ford Fiesta SES Modifications

Since my 2011 Fiesta has been in a constant state of evolution, I thought it would be a good idea to catalog all the changes the car has seen since July 2010.

Exterior;
3dCarbon body kit
Ford of Europe rear spoiler
Removed SES badge and radio antenna
3M DiNoc Carbon Fiber wrap on the rear hatch strip and LED bezels
MorePowerTuning grille insert
Ford Sport Appearance Package black headlamps
Hella H9 High Performance Zenon low beam bulbs with Racetech harness
Phillips HIR high beam bulbs

Suspension and Brakes;
Ford Racing Handling pack (lowering springs, struts, and shocks)
Steeda lower transverse engine mount
Axis 17” Touring Cup wheels painted Oxford White (summer)
Yokohama P215/40 17 Parada tires (summer)
PumaSpeed 300mm brake caliper adapters (summer)
Centric 300mm SVT Focus brake rotors (summer)
ATE Super Blue DOT 4 brake fluid

Engine and Drivetrain;
Boesch Built Cold Air Intake
K&N Conical Filter
Steeda Tri-X Short Throw Shifter

Interior;
Ford Accessories black and metallic shift knob
Ford Accessories metallic pedal covers
Ford Accessories metallic door sill plates
3M DiNoc Carbon Fiber wrapped HVAC and shifter trim

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The Fiesta Movement application video is now live!

The Fiesta Movement application video is now live! Brandon and I have teamed up to give the Fiesta Movement another shot and hopefully with the new 197hp, 2014 Fiesta ST. Maybe we will be lucky enough to get one in Performance Blue or Oxford White. If we are selected, we have a number of exciting things planned for the car over the duration of the program. As mentioned in our application video, we will be taking the ST to a number of autocross events across the region. The two of us would also attend a professional driver’s school and talk to the Ford engineers that created the hot hatch. Since Brandon and I are always modifying cars, we would head over to Ford Racing to see what parts they have in store for the new ST. Since the Fiesta ST will be a hot car for the SEMA show, Brandon and I would like to work with Ford Racing to develop a ST that showcases the car as a tuner platform. Be sure to check out the application video on the BRGT350 YouTube page, or on the Video page of the Racetech0722 website. We have a lot of exciting things planned for the Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix!

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MIAC Autocross Review

 

            Lessons learned; don’t stay out late at a bachelor’s party and expect to do well autocrossing the next day. Saturday morning started out to look like a great day for autocrossing, with sunny skies and warm temps. The four hours of sleep the night before was going to be a problem, so I stopped by Starbucks for some coffee. Empty stomach, warm temps, lack of sleep, and no breakfast is not what I needed for a day spent dodging cones. Over 80 cars had shown up for the event at My Import Auto Center in Muskegon, and the H-Stock class was the largest class with 11 entries. While walking the course, Brandon mentions that it is the same course as last year. That is great for him since he ran last year, but bad for me since I was out of town for that event. The course was very confusing for me while walking thru it and included doubling back thru the same area but requiring the car to be placed slightly different each time. I do very poorly at tracks with this configuration since I struggle to remember which way to go when I get to that point.

            After the driver’s meeting, I go out to walk the course one last time before running since I am going to be in the first heat. I would be driving first, followed by Brandon, and lastly Todd would run in the last heat. While I quickly tried to walk the course again, Brandon brought the Fiesta to the staging area. I jump in the car, put on my helmet and gloves. A few cars later, I am at the starting gate ready to go. Bring the revs to around 2200 rpm and prepare to dump the clutch. I get cleared to take the course and launch the Fiesta onto the track. After the first turn I hear something flying around in the car. Each corner results in this object hitting the sides of the interior and under braking it flies up into the front passenger foot well. Crap, it is my camera. I must have left it on the back seat. The first run is over and I threw it away trying to figure out what was left in the car. Get back to staging and take the camera out of the car. To my amazement, the silly thing still works. The second run would be even worse as I tried to go faster and missed a gate to end up with a DNF. Unsure of where my mistake was, I decided to run very slow on my third run. After figuring out the course, I tried for a faster run on my last attempt. I did go faster, but not nearly fast enough. I was feeling sick while out on course and was happy to be done running. My last event of the year and the last one for the Fiesta would not be a good one.

            Brandon and Todd ran much better, and Todd placed very well considering 3 of his 4 runs were DNF’s. Brandon took out a few cones which cost him some time, but still did much better than I did. There is no doubt that the Fiesta will be a very good competitor in HS in the hands of a skilled driver. Sadly, I was not able to truly show what the Fiesta can do in competition. Even with my terrible driving, the Fiesta handled outstanding! Some of the issues were not being able to hear the engine with my helmet on and some understeer from coming in too fast at corner entry. The traction control can really hinder a launch and bogs the engine down. A switch is needed to turn it off, and same goes for the stability control. Steering feel and brake modulation was excellent! The stock Pirelli’s seem to handle the abuse of autocrossing better than most tires I have used. I would have liked a wider tire, but these seem to work just fine.

            Overall, I am glad I went to the autocross and had a chance to run the Fiesta again. I feel bad that I threw it all away, but thankfully Brandon and Todd were able to run better. Thanks again to the Furrin Group and My Auto Import Center for putting on this great event!

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Fiesta-Fiesta!

 

I started the process of planning the Fiesta welcoming party this week, and met with a few local businesses about using their facilities. Currently, we are leaning towards having the event at the local go-kart track. I will be meeting with Craig’s Cruisers next week to see if we can have the party at their facility. People will have a chance to see the new Fiesta, and also spend time with their friends and family. Craig’s Cruisers has an arcade, go-kart track, mini-golf, batting cages, and a place to eat. The facility was determined to be a better fit for this event, compared to a city park or public parking lot. I have also been in contact with the local media about possibly covering the event, or doing a story on Brandon and myself along with the Fiesta Movement. There is still a lot of planning to get done in the next few weeks, but I am confident the event will be a success.

 

Brandon and I have also started to compile a list of possible events we will have the Fiesta at during the summer. So far we have the large Ford car show in Indiana in May, the Grand Rapids Mustang and Ford show in early June, Grand Haven car show, SVTOA at GingerMan Raceway, and Furrin Autocross at GVSU in July, Coast Guard Festival and a trip to Traverse City in August, and the autocross at the local import dealer in September. Phew, that is a lot of events!

 

Work on the Mustang will continue on Saturday, and the focus will be on tightening fasteners and setting the bumpsteer. There are a few loose ends that we need to work on before we start autocrossing.

 

It is going to be a very busy summer!

-Bryan

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Test Drive: 2009 Shelby GT500KR

Today, after working on the Mustang, we had to move a Shelby due to cleaning. The car is waiting for the customer to pick it up. After having to jump start the car, because the battery was dead from sitting so long. We realize that it had no gas, the computer said it had 2 miles to empty. So I took it to get gas and it wasn’t running good due to just sitting for so long. After pulling out of the shop it said only 0 miles to empty. I did make it to the gas station. After putting gas in it, went to restart, so too dead. Good thing I brought the battery jump pack. After I got it started, I drove it a little. It is a customers car and it is brand new, I will not drive it hard.

In town, the car is very easy to drive, clutch is easy to operate, the suspension is not too stiff, exhaust is not too loud. It does sound better than the standard GT500, it is closer to the sound of a Shelby GT. The turn in is really nice, the tyres have a lot to do with that, they pickup everything as you drive. The Shelby GT has the stock mud and snow tyres from the factory and that just doesn’t cut it. The brakes feel really nice, but it does have 14″ Brembo’s on it, so it should. You can tell that the car is heavy, and it needs that much power to get it to move and that size brakes to make it stop. I do wonder how it goes around corners. It has a lot of torque coming from that 5.4L Supercharged V8. At very low RPM’s you could just feel that it wanted to go fast. Boost builds really fast, at about 10 to 20% throttle around 2000 RPM’s in 2nd gear, the boost gauge was reading around 5 psi. The gauge goes to 15 psi, don’t know what the stock supercharger will turn out. The car is a black coup with flat black strips, it looks mean. Over all it is a sweet car, and from what I can tell, its fun to drive.

-Brandon

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New Server

I just upgraded to a new Server and I am working on building the new site.

Keep checking back, it should be done soon!

Brandon Redeker

Racetech Performance

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