In one of many firsts for the Focus RS the mark 3 has seen the extensive involvement of a world renowned rally driver within its development; and their choice of driver? Well that would be the one and only Ken Block, and here we take a look at just why Ford made this choice, as well as weighing up just how much Block has brought to the RS table.
Ken Block: A brief history
Ken Block has been on the racing scene since 2005 and quickly became known for his solid set of skills and unrelenting car control – both of which would see him achieve the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title within the Rally America Championship. From this impressive beginning has been continued success, securing numerous outright wins, as well as more than a fair share of podium placements.
He’s equally known for his Gymkhana series of videos which continued his fan reach as his content went viral.
As of 2010 Block put together the Monster world Rally team (later renamed Hoonigan Racing Division) and signed with Ford, going on to compete in the Global Rally Cross Championship, various Rally America rounds, international rallies and the Gymkhana GRID finals in Europe as of 2015.
Block’s input into the development of the Focus RS
The RS’s much heralded drift mode and launch control have been pivotal to Block and co.’s input into the development of the RS; as an industry first the Hoonigan team seemed the perfect pick for really putting the RS’s drifting performance to the test. And if any one’s the guy for taking on the donut ring and feeding back to the respected development engineers of Ford, it’s Block.
Ken Block on the Focus RS: In his own words
Ken Block isn’t merely a signed and sealed rally driver for Ford, he’s a genuinely passionate admirer of all that they deliver within the hot hatch realm. He personally owns a Ford ST, as well as a Ford F 150 SVT Raptor, and unsurprisingly is now looking forward to becoming the proud owner of the RS. Here’s what this rally pro, and true Ford fan, has had today about the new RS and his involvement within its development.
“This car is really nice. The Focus ST is already quite nice to drive, but this is just another level. It’s a fun package. There needs to be the horsepower to go along with that, too, they’re really hit the mark with it, the fit and finish is really nice.”
What’s more it’s pretty apparent from Block’s further comments that his and the Ford team’s vision for the RS was one that would take a fresh approach to this beloved model (something that has been seen within features such as the drift mode, launch control and four wheel drive.
“It would have been the easiest thing in the world to add 60bhp, put bigger wheels and tyres on and bolt a wing to the back – but all of us at Ford were clear that we weren’t interested in that. We’ve been there and done that with RS; this time we wanted a different kind of RS.”
Ken Block Special Limited Edition Focus RS?
Amongst the many rumours that have swirled around the upcoming launch of the Focus RS has been talk of there being (potentially) a special limited Ken Block edition; this was perhaps fuelled by there being a Ford raffle giveaway of a special edition Focus RS, with Block making the announcement.
“This happens to be the first modified Ford Focus RS in the world right now, and now you have the chance to own it! Its sits on ST suspensions coilovers, fifteen52 Tarmac wheels, Pirelli tires, and even has custom-embroidered Block Skull stitching on its Recaro seats.”
Sadly there’s been no official word from Ford as to whether there will be a special Ken Block RS edition, although we did write about the recent ‘industry insider’ knowledge as to a hard-core version of the RS (although once more this is far from being the official word).
We can live in hope, however!