Posts Tagged Fiesta Movement

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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My Auto Import Center Autocross Review

Saturday marked the first autocross for my new 2011 Ford Fiesta with an event presented by the Furrin Group at My Auto Import Center in Muskegon Michigan. The event is run annually on the third weekend of September, and the course is the same each year. That is a huge help for me, since most Furrin autocrosses end with me spending most of my runs being lost in a sea of cones. There was something that made this event different for me, and that was the wet weather.

I woke to a decent thunderstorm Saturday morning that lasted until around 9:00 am, and light rain that continued off and on thru the morning. I arrived at the course around 10am for car prep and to walk the course. The run order dictated that my group, ST, would be running in the first heat when the track would be the dampest. My first run was very slow as I tried to remember the course and get a feel for how much or little traction was out there. The second run was much faster, but suffered wheel spin at most corners since it was still wet. By my third run, the course had a defined dry line with only a few corners being wet. If I had a shot at a good time, this would be it.

I got the ok to launch from the starter, and brought the engine revs up to where I thought would be a good spot. Sadly, I had the revs too high, and the car suffered horrible wheel hop before the traction control took over and reduced power. I regained traction and shifted quickly into second, which broke traction again causing some slight gearbox noise and the reactivation of the traction control system. Power was again cut going to the front wheels as I entered the slalom. Going around the tight sweeper, which was still very wet, the tires broke loose at exit onto the back straight. Each time the car lost traction, the computer cuts engine power until traction is restored. The actual straight was dry, so the computer let me use the engine to head towards the Chicago Box. The braking zone was wet, and the ABS activated for a split second, which it had earlier going into the back sweeper. After the Chicago Box came the front sweeper and I had decent traction going around that which leads into the small straight against the dealer’s service department. There is a slight bump leading onto the straight, that usually sends my Mustang into a spin, but the Fiesta felt well planted. I then entered the back sweeper again, but from the opposite side as the first run and suffered again from traction loss at exit. One last time on the short back straight before a chicane lead me towards the timing lights. Overall, a clean run, but with a horrible launch. The last run would have to be perfect to make up for the bad launch on my third run.

The Fiesta was a few cars away from launching on the final run when the sky opened up with a rain shower. The course was soaked and the dry line had vanished. Puddles were forming in the braking zones and at the back sweeper. I ran the Fiesta as hard as I could in those conditions, but the traction control would just stop the engine whenever wheel spin was detected. The launch was good, but I was bleeding time around the sweepers due the loss of traction and the activation of the wheel spin nanny. I tried too hard to make up time on the straights by braking as late as possible, but I just about lost control going into the chicane before the timing lights. I was on the brakes too late and too hard going into the chicane, and the rear stepped out. The ESC activated and kept me from taking out the timing lights. Thanks computer, I needed you on that one.

As it turned out, my third run was my fastest, even with the poor launch. The Fiesta handled very well and was easy to drive on course. Being able to turn off the traction control would have probably helped since I would have not suffered the loss of engine power at the corner exit. It is easier to deal with wheel spin using the throttle than having the computer do it. The computer just pulls too much power in hopes of gaining traction, which left me with my foot planted at the exit of a corner and zero response from the engine. I took forth with a Honda Prelude 4-wheel-steering taking first. Second place went to a 1997 Probe GT, and third a Focus ZX3. Only 2.1 seconds separated all 4 cars, and I had the least amount of power by a decent margin. The heavy 17” wheels slowed the Fiesta down and were the reason why I was placed in ST instead of HS. Considering having the least powerful car in the class, and a traction control system that can’t be turned off, I was very happy with how the Fiesta did compared to the other cars in its class. Next season will bring a more powerful Fiesta, along with a return of the CP Mustang. It should be an exciting 2011 season!

Final Results

1T ST 94 Zac M 94 Honda Prelude SI 4WS 56.472+DNF 50.509 49.898+DNF 50.637 50.509 -
2T ST 85 Thomas F 97 Ford Probe GT 56.555 51.060 48.867+1 50.884 50.867 0.358
3 ST 26 Brett R 03 Ford Focus 51.016 50.959+1 49.481+1 49.931+1 51.016 0.149
4 ST 07 Bryan R 11 Ford Fiesta 59.638 53.200 52.636 52.817 52.636 1.620
5 ST 47 William G Saab 900s 62.724+DNF 58.551 56.604 56.267 56.267 3.631

2011 Ford Fiesta Gallery

My Auto Import Center Autocross Gallery

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XPEL Headlight Film Installation

           

            One of the many downfalls of living in Michigan is putting up with the damage to your car caused by winter and terrible roads. A trip down the highway blasts your car with salt, sand, brine, ice, rocks, and the occasional rusted part falling off a truck. All of this abuse leaves the front of your car looking pretty rough. One part that is very susceptible to damage is the headlights. They are on the front lines of battle, and after a few winters, they deserve a purple heart and a desk job. Sadly, that doesn’t happen. To help protect the lenses from sand/rock abrasion and chips, I installed headlight protection film from XPEL on my 2011 Ford Fiesta.

            The XPEL Headlamp Protection Film is a multi-layered clear film that is composed of a scratch resistant top coat, 27mil polyurethane film, and a special adhesive. The film is much thicker than the body protection films, which helps dissipate energy from an impact. The film has exceptional levels of gloss, which is nice since most headlights turn dull and yellow over time. The film can be ordered in either clear, smoke, yellow, or blue. I picked the clear since I want to be sure to have the most amount of light placed on the road when driving in the winter. Since the Fiesta lacks fog lamps, I didn’t want to dim the only lights I have.

            The kit arrived with 2 precut sheets for the headlamps, and 2 for the LED parking lamps. Also included is a squeegee and instructions for the installation. I started by cleaning the headlamp to make sure it was free of dirt, wax, oils, or dead bugs. Before peeling off the backing, I double checked the fitment of each sheet to be sure they were going to fit. Sure enough, everything looks to be cut right to size. I then mixed a solution of 10% rubbing alcohol with water and used a spray bottle to soak the headlamp. I also sprayed down my hands to make sure I did not leave any fingerprints on the film. The next step is to remove the backing from the adhesive, and spray the backside of the film with the solution. With everything coated with solution, its time to place the film on the headlamp.

            With the film resting on the headlight lens, I used the squeegee to start displacing the solution from the center of the headlamp to the edges. The film slowly starts to adhere to the lens at this point, but a heat gun helps to get the film to conform to the very complex headlamp. Using the lowest heat setting, I gently heated the film until it began to flex. At that point, the squeegee comes back into action to displace more solution. Continually working from the center out, pushing away the bubbles, the film begins to adhere to the headlamp. The film looks cloudy once installed, and a few pesky bubbles existed in a few spots. This is normal, and after a few days in the sun, the film is clear the bubbles are gone. I did end up with a few fingerprints on the backside of the film as the solution dried on my hands and I went to reposition the film. They are slight, and I doubt anyone can find them.

            I was very happy with the quality of the XPEL film and the ease of installation. I had some help from my dad, and he was so impressed with the film that he ordered a set for his Fusion. For any climate, protecting your headlamps is a must. Every winter when I vacation in Florida, I am amazed at how many new cars have yellow headlamps. They may not get the rock and sand abrasion we get in Michigan, but they could surely use something like the XPEL film to keep the lamps from yellowing. The installation was easy, and it is a must for anyone who wants to protect their car and keep it looking great!

Gallery of installation pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brgt350/sets/72157624638294413/

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Fiesta #707 has arrived!

10 years and 4 months to the day of taking delivery of my 1st new Ford, I took delivery of my second. I will have a more extensive write up coming soon, along with a complete comparison between the US and EU Fiesta’s. The modification process has begun with the addition of the Axis Touring Cup Wheels and Yokohama Tires. Next up is the Metallic package, spoiler, body kit, and wrapping the chrome trim. Expect lots of stuff in the next few weeks!

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Fiesta #707 Update 6/25/10

On Thursday morning, my Fiesta arrived in Flat Rock Michigan where it was unloaded from the rail car. Later the same day, it was picked up by a transport to be shipped to Grand Haven Michigan. Right now, my car is somewhere between Flat Rock and her new home! The pedal pads and rear spoiler have both arrived, and so has the wrap for the chrome trim. I am working with 3D Carbon on the body kit, and that should be coming soon. The canvas for my next masterpiece is almost here.

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Fiesta #707 Update 06/21/10

Someplace between Chicago and Flat Rock, is a railcar containing my Fiesta. :) Actually, by this time, the car should be at the intermodal in Flat Rock being unloaded. From there, it will go on a transport and be shipped to the dealership. Wheels and tires are mounted and balanced, so those are ready for next week. No word yet on the spoiler and body kit, so I am not sure if those will be ready for installation when the car arrives. ETA is still set for 06/29.

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Fiesta #707 Update 6/15/10

Fiesta #707 passed thru Laredo Texas over the weekend, and is heading north via train to the mixing station. ETA is set for anytime between 6/28 and 6/30. Modifications will start as soon as the car arrives, and will include a 3D Carbon body kit, Axis Touring Cup wheels, Ford of Europe rear spoiler, Ford alloy pedal pads, and removal of all the chrome bits. Should be a great looking car by July 4th!

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Fiesta #707 Update for 6/09/10

She’s Alive!

According to my reservation agent, my Fiesta has been produced and is ready to be shipped! The next step is to order the Ford Accessories so they are here when the car arrives. Next update will be when the car is released to the rail company for shipping.

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Getting Ready to say Goodbye

               How quickly a year goes by! It is hard to fathom that a year ago I was arriving in Chicago to take delivery of a 2010 Ford Fiesta. The amount of work, tears, and joy that lead to that event was something most people will never experience. Some know the struggle that took place behind the scenes, and others may not. In the end, a team came together, and I ended up in Chicago to help introduce a car I have been dreaming about since the Verve concept was shown in Geneva.

            The first night in Chicago was spent meeting the other agents, many of which I have become friends with online and we continue to talk about cars and life. The next morning was the technical briefing, which had me jotting down notes and asking questions at every opportunity. After all, I had been planning on buying one before the program was ever dreamed of. We were loaded onto buses and driven to Shed’s Aquarium and the planetarium. Rows upon rows of European spec Ford Fiesta’s sat glowing in the dark overcast day. Each of us had our key fobs, and were dispatched to find our Fiesta. After a few tries, I found a Hot Magenta 5 door Fiesta with leather sitting with two other cars. Instantly I fell in love, and after going for the sign-off drive, I was ready to head home. I now understand what it must be like to be a father.

            It is strange to think that day was a year ago, and now I must prepare to say goodbye to a car I have loved so much. Being a part of the Fiesta Movement has been a wonderful experience that took me many places and introduced me to some great people. There was stress involved trying to balance family, work, and school. In the end, it was all worth it. I can’t thank Ford Motor Company enough for the opportunity they gave me. I am forever in the debt of those who worked hard to get me my Fiesta. I am thankful for the great people at Mission Control who where there to help me along the way. I am honored to have such great friends that I have met thru this program.

            Some people may have signed up for the Fiesta Movement in search of fame, some just wanted a free car, others looked at it as a door opener for future endeavors, but for me, it was for the Fiesta. There was no interest in gaining fame or exposure for myself. The reason I wanted to be part of the Fiesta Movement was to accomplish a life time goal. I wanted to drive a pure European Ford. After realizing how great the car was, my mission changed to doing whatever it took to preserve the dynamics and feel of the European model for our market. I may have stepped on some toes and turned people off, but I was always honest and direct with my thoughts. I decided to make sure I would have a say in my next car, and for every other Ford enthusiast who has begged for a model from Europe. As reports start flowing in for the US model, I can start to relax and think I may have helped preserve the soul of the European model for the US Fiesta.

            As I celebrate my one year anniversary with my Fiesta, I know that it is with great sadness since I need to return her in the very near future. I had worried that I was saying goodbye to the car I always wanted, but now it seems that Ford is making one for me. My attention now shifts to the future, where soon a white 5-door hatch will roll off the production line. My new baby will be built soon, and she is coming home. I will never forget the time I spent with the Hot Magenta Fiesta, and I hope she finds a safe place to live. She was the star of my videos, the center of my blogs, the subject of many of my tweets, and the focus of so many of my pictures. She has been driven hard on tarmac, gravel, and on ice. She raced thru narrow snow covered paths in the woods on the way to catch a glimpse of rally cars. She dodged cones (and hit a few) on autocross circuits. She lapped GingerMan Raceway and seemed to beg for more. The Fiesta did everything I asked of her, and she will be greatly missed.

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MONSTER WORLD RALLY TEAM

CONTACT: Brian Scotto Marketing Director Monster World Rally Team brian@monsterworldrallyteam.com

KEN BLOCK AND ALEX GELSOMINO IMPRESS ON THEIR WRC DEBUT AT RALLY MEXICO

March 24th, 2010, Brooklyn, NY- When Ken Block threw his flat-brimmed hat into the World Rally Championship ring earlier this year, expectations were mixed. But three weeks ago, at Rally Mexico-Monster World Rally Teamʼs inaugural WRC race-Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino proved that they have what it takes to become a competitive force on the world stage.

“We even surprised ourselves, when, after the first few stages, we were not only not dead last, but we were keeping pace with a few veteran WRC drivers, and even ahead of F1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen,” says Ken Block.

By the end of the first leg, on Friday, Block and Gelsomino had secured a position on the leaderboard for the American flag to fly. Unfortunately, an off on the first stage of Day 2, left the Monster Energy Ford Focus RS WRC unable to continue. “It was a rookie mistake,” says Block. “We should have noted the change in surface, the section went from a grippy dirt road to very loose gravel and there was just no traction at all, especially for the speed we were trying to carry into the next turn.”

Thanks to SuperRally rules, which allow competitors to return to the stages the following day along with some heavy time penalties, Block and Gelsomino were at it again on Sunday morning. The two put on a repeat performance of Day 1, finishing stage 19, eighth fastest, with a 13.7 second gap between them and ninth place. Then, on stage 21, the Monster World Rally Team shocked naysayers once more, being second fastest on the road after the first split. But, a puncture caused by an unfortunate meeting of rim and rock later on this stage, robbed Block and Gelsomino of over a minute.

“In the WRC, we had heard of Ken Block, but more for his stunts than his driving, but after his performance in Mexico, I think it is very clear to everyone that he has the potential to become a competitive WRC driver,” says M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson. “For his first WRC event, he did extremely well.”

“Ken is shining a bright light on what we at Ford have always known…that Ford makes the best fun-to-drive small cars in the world,” says Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison. “Ken’s rally efforts globally with Fiesta and Focus help us to tell that story to a new generation of car enthusiasts and it’s great to see Ken, as the lone American, competing at the highest level in WRC and showcasing his great rally talent. All of which will help expand the appeal of the sport in the U.S.”

The next WRC round for MWRT will be Rally Turkey, on April 16-18. Until then, follow the team at monsterworldrallyteam.com

For official television coverage of the 2010 World Rally Championship in the U.S. tune into HD Theater (Check local listings for repeat broadcasts of the Rally Mexico Event Highlights this week).

About Ken Block

Ken Blockʼs rally career began in 2005. His skill and car control became quickly apparent and Block aptly nabbed Rookie of the Year in the Rally America Championship. Since then, Block has continued to race in the series, boasting a healthy number of podium appearances, as well as X Games medals. In addition to his performance in the car, Block has been a driving force in shedding light on the sport within the United States. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand. His keen branding and marketing acumen not only elevated DC to their current eminent status, but has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a national rally driver through his wildly successful viral video campaigns. Ad Age named his “Gymkhana TWO” the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009. In January 2010, Block signed with Ford Motor Company to campaign both the Rally America series and the World Rally Championship, being the first American to do so.

About Monster World Rally Team: Created and assembled by Ken Block, the object of the Monster World Rally Team is to redefine the race-team archetype. The team is driven not only to win, but to also market motorsport through innovative, creative and interactive ways. The goal: To become the best- known team in the WRC and bring rally to the masses along the way. The team is supported by Monster Energy, Ford Motor Company, DC Shoes, Castrol Edge, Pirelli Tires and the Dirt2 videogame. monsterworldrallyteam.com

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