(Los Angeles, CA) - The 2013 Ford Focus ST Performance Academy is being held at special locations around the country, and we had the opportunity to hit up the LA event at Dodger Stadium. This was a one-of-a-kind experience to push the driving limits of the all new 2013 Ford Focus ST before the car hits the dealerships later in the year.
The Focus ST Performance Academy had a fleet of brand-new 2013 Ford Focus STs on hand that feature the new Ford 252-horsepower, 2.0L EcoBoost® powerplant, unique sport suspension tuning, RECARO® seats and a host of other high-performance goodies.
We started the day with a quick bit of knowledge about the Focus from the performance team before we jumped in the car for basic training. One fun fact was learning about the mechanical device that brings in a little bit of engine noise into the cabin, versus some of the European cars bringing the noise via the speakers. Queue the text... "The More You Know" with star and rainbow fading across the screen. We were told to keep the car in 2nd gear for the course as the Focus ST could run about 60mph on the top range of that gear. I was determined to test that theory.
After two test laps I had to switch seats and then sit shot gun for two laps, my first impression was those Recaro seats, they were pretty comfy while providing a decent amount of support. The cluster gauges on the dash also had a nice fresh look to it. With the basics out of the way, I worked my way to the time attack course. For my first two laps I found myself over driving the car and getting bogged down in the corners, the loose gravel didn't help matters much either.
It was nice to get a couple pointers from the pros before venturing out for the next two laps. On the second go-round I was able to control my nerves and actually connect some corners and get on the brakes way early so the EcoBoost acceleration could power me out of the corners quickly. It wasn't until my 5th lap that I put a really fast time on the board. I was clocked at 31.5 seconds which was (UPDATED: 2nd fastest lap) of the day, at least that we know of.
Ford put on a good show and there was a good amount of enthusiast drivers sprinkled in with some people that actually pre-orderd the 2013 Focus. To make things even more interactive Ford had a tent where you could star in your own Ford commercial. The Focus ST commercial pitted two drivers tearing across Key West from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Fans were given props and set behind a green screen as if they were in the cars driving around Key West. I thought it was a cool idea and people were a bunch of fun with it. The short film looks like it was shot by some Hollywood director. I took a funny video with a Batman mask, when Ford sends over the link, I'll be sure to post for all to see.