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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if any of the FoST experts here have any advice or comments.

I just completed my first track outing last week at Laguna Seca, and have many observations and questions. I did a long write up of my day in the racing forum, but like I said, it is a long post.
Anyway, first an observation. Do not run aggressively with TC enabled, even sport mode. If you have any second and sometimes 3rd gear corners where you might experience inside wheel peel with TC off, you will quite simply overwhelm your brakes and thus shorten your session. Get some kind of brake deflectors on the car…any kind. I had upgraded my brakes to the stock RS Brembo brakes (no deflectors), and I still managed to over stress the brakes in my first session –which is when I was in sport mode. Switching to full TC disable for the remainder of the day helped in a big way. Changing the way I drove also helped further…I suspect that my rear brakes also got quite the workout as well as the rear wheels were equally dirty. I will be changing brake fluid again soon and will inspect all 4 corners as well as putting more track oriented pads up front.
Anyway. Some observations.
Turn 2 (Andretti hairpin) is a very long left that I observed some strange behavior that I am hoping some might have comments… Since the turn is such a long one, you have two ways to take this corner, late Apex, and or you can double apex. Due to the nature of the Focus ST, I cannot say for certain which is the fastest, but when I have been on the track on bikes, I preferred double apex. With the ST, I started to late apex simply so that I could get my car fully turned and straightened out for T3 as early as possible. Reason being that if I double apexed that turn, I found my car acting very odd.
Here is the deal, and I hope it makes sense. After the second apex, you are still hard on the right side tires, and still turning trying to set up for T3. Getting on the gas at this time is where I observed strange behavior. Mind you, the TCS is fully off…and as I am finishing the turn and getting on the gas, the car is not giving full power. As I started to decrease my steering angle, I could physically feel more power being fed to the tires. In fact, it almost felt like a small bump to the back of my car for lack of a better explanation. At this point, I am still not getting full power, as it would happen once more…at which point my steering wheel is basically straight and I am finally getting full power to the wheels. I could reproduce this pretty much any time I wanted. All I had to do was double apex, and stand on the gas on exit. When I would late apex, this did not happen as I found that I did not need all the track width for corner exit, meaning I was not on my right side tires as hard and for as long.
I suspect that it was my brakes, as double apexing, I would experience brake fade earlier into the session (10 minutes) vs late apexing where my brakes felt pretty strong past 15 minutes, and at the end of the session, the pedal felt much firmer.
I am focusing on this one corner because the feeling was pronounced in this corner. Even when I had a passenger, they were able to feel the same thing. It was not noticeable anywhere else on the track, but then this is the second slowest corner on the track, and certainly the longest…and even at the corner exit, you are still needing to get back to the left in order to set up for T3 –which makes T2 even that much longer of a corner.
What I am wondering is if TCS is fully off, what is happening that would cause this behavior? I keep thinking perhaps it is the Torque Vectoring, but honestly, that is just a guess, and I cannot think of anything else. I also wonder, if it is TV, is it acting in response to the lean(roll) of the car somehow? Since the corner is a downhill corner and a long one, you tend to really feel the body roll. If it is TV, then would I need to flatten out my car via swaybars and suspension work (I have YCW coilovers that will be going on the car in the next couple of weeks –hopefully) to help reduce the body roll, and therefore TV intervention?. The coilovers should help, and it does not really matter since they will be going on regardless. But I am wanting to understand what is happening and if anyone has experienced similar and can explain. I would imagine this is the type of scenario where an LSD would not help.
Turn 11 is a prime example of where an LSD would help. If I tried to exit T11 in 2nd gear with TCS fully defeated, I had to back off the gas in order to prevent inside wheel slip. If I took it in 3rd, the wheel slip was a non-issue as drive out of the corner was being sacrificed. 2nd gear really wanted to launch out of T11, but it would spin until I grabbed 3rd gear, at which point I am pointing straight, and 3rd would hook up fine. It was here, and after T6 where the ST power disadvantage could be felt, but for the most part, I was not wanting for power anywhere else. Better tires would also help in this regard as well I suppose. (still on stock F1s with 6000 miles)
I am trying to find a place that can and will install a Limited Slip in the bay area, and having a tough time. I want to go with the M-Factory (YCW) helical LSD per recommendations on this site, but the only install price that I have managed to get a quote from came in at $1200. Which seems a bit pricey considering that I do not need a clutch, nor have any other reason to drop the tranny at this time. But having test driven the GTI PP vs the normal GTI, I found that the LSD makes a big difference, even on the street. I can only imagine that it would help considerably on track, by not only helping get power down on corner exit, but in reducing the load on the brakes. In the case of the GTI, I have read that the electronic limited slip system that they have (not true limited slip, but not braking either) is good for several seconds a lap (same day, same professional driver, etc). The day that I purchased the ST, I knew that I wanted to put in an LSD…simply based on my observations of the GTI test drives that I took. But uncertainty is a funny thing…
 

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I've tracked my car a few times and you're correct with regards to the TVS (Torque Vectoring System). It remains active even when you have ESP completely off. What you're feeling accelerating out of T2 is the TVS using your front brakes. You are also correct about using an LSD and stiffer suspension. After installing the M-Factory LSD, stiffer shocks/springs, and a larger rear sway bar, the difference was night and day. Everything improved: lap times, brake wear and fade, and more importantly, the "feel". One other factor which made a huge difference was tires. On my last few track outings, I swapped my street PSS tires to the SC2 and just wow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is a good to know that I'm not imagining things.
I'm guessing that you did the LSD on your own? If not, is the $1200 quote in the ballpark?
You did a rear swaybar in addition to suspension? Which one? Do you hear clunks and noise from it? It seems many installing the RSB have had to chase down suspension rattles and such... Some never appearing to resolve the noises.

CrashMW
 

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It is a good to know that I'm not imagining things.
I'm guessing that you did the LSD on your own? If not, is the $1200 quote in the ballpark?
You did a rear swaybar in addition to suspension? Which one? Do you hear clunks and noise from it? It seems many installing the RSB have had to chase down suspension rattles and such... Some never appearing to resolve the noises.

CrashMW
1200 for the install?
 

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That interesting.. I'm surprised the TVS is still engaging with TC turned off. But, at the same time, I don't know why I'm surprised! Manufacturers don't like the liability of such a thing
 

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FYI, I think any willing transmission shop can do an LSD install, one just a mile away from my home did. It was $1000 in labor and a free clutch/flywheel install if I brought them to him during the install. I did an ACT clutch, and he just refinished the factory flywheel for $100. I didn't want to drop even more on a lightened flywheel, and my factory one had blueing and no pitting, so it was just reground only.

Just go to any transmission shop with LSD in hand, and the LSD install kit (i got mine from mountune) and shop for a few quotes. You're in CA, they are a dime a dozen I'm sure.
 

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It is a good to know that I'm not imagining things.
I'm guessing that you did the LSD on your own? If not, is the $1200 quote in the ballpark?
You did a rear swaybar in addition to suspension? Which one? Do you hear clunks and noise from it? It seems many installing the RSB have had to chase down suspension rattles and such... Some never appearing to resolve the noises.

CrashMW
Yup, did the install myself. I run a speed shop here in Taiwan and $1200 is not unreasonable but a little on the high side. As for the rear sway bar, I'm using the Eibach rear bar with stock links. Never had any issues with noise. One step I always recommend is to take off and reinstall the links with the car's weight on the suspension.
 

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That interesting.. I'm surprised the TVS is still engaging with TC turned off. But, at the same time, I don't know why I'm surprised! Manufacturers don't like the liability of such a thing
According to ford, TVS cannot be turned off as they believe it doesn’t hinder performance. Only way is to control wheel spin with an LSD.
 

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Seems like TVS would get in the way of an LSD doing it's job.

I was wondering how the TVS would affect being out on the track, that original poster sure did a great job explaining what was going on and for sure that has to be caused by this "feature"


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TVS, if I'd wager a guess, has to work based on some level of slip/loss of traction. It cannot be some blanket set of static values that say throttle position + RPM + gear = TVS enabled. There are too many variables like the type of tire and and road conditions, that the only way to engage such a system, is to enable it based on slip; and to continuously monitor and engage as slip is detected, and amplify/ramp down the level of effort in pulsing the brakes to improve traction.

So if an LSD is installed, there would be a mechnical system, giving you more traction, thus, reducing the level of input from TVS. I can tell you right now, that an LSD has improved turn in, and exiting dramatically than without.
 

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That makes perfect sense... I'm sold on an LSD before I get into tracking this car..


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is what I hope to find out? It would have been so much easier to disable everything... And I am just a little disappointed that Ford did not provide the option to do so. (maybe via special handshake or something)
Either way, I expect that I will make it back to Laguna Seca, but with the LSD to be able to provide useful feedback.
Unfortunately, I will most certainly have other mods to help get around the track installed as well (coilovers mainly, better brake pads, and possibly tires). I will hold off on an RSB until after tracking with the coilovers.

CrashMW
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
One thing I do want to be clear on... The focus is a great track car for the unpretentious.
I mean, if you are getting passed, it is too be expected as it is just a Ford Focus... But... The car will do respectfully out on the track, and it's easy to drive quickly. It just has some weaknesses to address, and the best part is you can address those weaknesses under the radar. Meaning the car can still look pretty stock.

CrashMW
 

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I'm just an HPDE guy, been doing it years with my Supercharged Integra GSR (methanol injection, LSD, roll bar, front brake cooling ducts, fixed seats, harnesses, suspension, etc), I'm very much looking forward to seeing what a difference this car would be. The low end torque will be great coming out of corners but oy, the ST falls on it's face at the higher RPM's (and that's where something like my Acura shines).

It'll be a whole new learning experience! :big smile:


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, the only time you will even get close to redline is if you are holding off shifting because of another corner... I was definitely shifting way early on the straights in order to make time. My ass told me when it was time to shift, not the tach.

CrashMW
 
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