Well, I finally managed to get some track time in the FiST! Autocross, rallycross, road trips, and now the open race track. How did it fare? Who at automobile magazine is losing their job? What smells like a pastry shop?!?!?!? Read on and find out!
So I did the track night at Grattan yesterday and with only about 20 people, 12 of whom were in the novice class with me, I definitely got my 150$ worth. I was the ONLY ST there. Let me reiterate that I found a motorsports venue in Michigan where two dozen Focus STs didn’t crawl out of the woodwork. Two BRZs(not FR-Ses), two mustangs, three vettes, an M235i. an E46 M3, an RSX type-S. a brand new WRX, a lotus elise, Automobile Magazine’s long term jaguar F-type S, and a few others.
Let’s get one thing straight out of the box - The Fiesta ST easily punches above its weight class. The lotus elise was the only one to dice me up in the turns. And even then he was an “advanced” driver who showed up late and picked on us rookies for a session. But in the turns, I could easily dictate the pace of people behind me. In the esses and hairpins, I had no trouble going toe to toe with anyone. On the straight?.........Okay that was where I stumbled, but still, I easily dusted the BRZ in my group on the uphill onto the straight. The cobb tuning motor mount and tune put all that power to the tires and the MSW lightweight wheels and sticky BFGoodrich rubber was an amazing combo.
Here is the video from my final session. About the 11 minute mark is where I start really giving chase to the F-type after the RSX and jag almost had an “incident”.
I gotta say, it was a TON of fun not only to be out on the course in anger but to really be able to push the little hatchback. Autocross and rallycross are amazing and all, but that open road and g-forces are something else. My brakes were definitely toasty after the second session. Smelled like burnt toast. In both the first and second sessions, I took a short break about halfway through to make sure the car was cool. But no problems to report otherwise. And I got to play around a bit with tire pressures. At first, I cranked them all decently high. But I soon saw that was not helping me grip as on the pace laps I had no issues squealing the tires and seeing some odd understeer. I dropped the pressures but by the second session, I saw blisteing on the right side. So I pumped them up for the off-camber turn 3 and the infamous “toilet bowl” turn 6. Session 3 was easily my fastest. The car’s turn-in was impeccable and it once again felt like there was some room for me to grow into it.
I can’t recommend track night in America enough. Or the Fiesta ST. Or Grattan Raceway. The staff were friendly, the event was well organized, and the people were awesome. I should point out that the paddock is open to spectators and friends the whole time so if you want to see some cool cars, you can head down and hang out for free on these events. Whatever you decide to do, I implore all of you to support these efforts however you can and help spread the love of car culture.