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Drift Mode Explained!

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Besides the 2.3L Turbo plus AWD, one of the most marketable features on the MK III Focus RS is the standard 'Drift Mode'. EVO Magazine spoke with GKN Engineering looking for answers, just what is a 'Drift Mode'?

First we need to understand one thing about the RS, there is no differential. Ford and GKN have replaced the traditional diff with twin clutch packs.

"There’s no differential, it’s replaced by the twin clutches, that’s why we call it Twinster", explains Ray Kuczera, GKN’s vice president of global product technology. "But the unique thing that Ford wanted us to do for their system was introduce torque vectoring."

Both packs are mounted to the 'rear drive unit', fancy talk for axles and subframes, the first clutch pack manages torque distribution front and rear, 70 percent of which can be sent to the rear axle. The second clutch pack then decides if it will split drive equally or not between the two rear wheels. The second pack can also send 100 percent of available drive to a single rear wheel.

The second clutch pack is responsible for 'Drift Mode'. The software overspeeds the outside rear wheel to induce oversteer, which is monitored by ESC and ABS to make sure you're driving the car and not the other way around.

"[In the Ford] if you’re going into a turn and you really want to have the vehicle’s rear end sliding into oversteer, what the system does is to send more torque and speed to the outside rear wheel to get that effect," explains Kuczera. "And that’s before you press the drift button."

Kuczera went on to add that "the vehicle has many sensors – it detects what your intent is based on steering wheel angle and how hard you push the throttle – and then it’s going to sense what the vehicle is doing – using yaw sensors and measuring wheel speed etc – and from that applies the best amount of torque to create the drift."

"It [Focus RS] allows you to do much more extreme manoeuvres than a standard car, but it’s not going to let you go crazy – you are still not Ken Block!"

"It’s much more like a rear-wheel-drive car, especially when you’ve got drift mode engaged,"

Our only question is what does overspeeding the outside wheels to induce sliding do to fuel economy? Just kidding...
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