Drag Racing the Focus ST

Drag racing is something a lot of the ST community enjoys so here are some of our findings in drag racing the ST.

We didn’t take the car drag racing when it was stock or close to stock. At our local track a stock ST runs in the 14s on street tires. You can take a stock ST and drag race it all day long without worrying about breaking things or being overly hard on the car. Seat time will improve times more than anything. At the same time keep in mind that the low profile tires on the ST are made for cornering and not drag racing. You will get lots of wheel hop and 60 foot times will be high. This doesn’t result in the best overall quarter mile times.

As you increase the power, you will see incremental improvements especially when coupled with seat time and traction! Keeping the stock K03, a car with E85 or WMI and all bolt ons and a good tune is capable of low 13s at around 105-107mph with the right tires. For tires you can either get a drag radial like the Hoosier Drag Radial DOT tire or something even more aggressive like a Quick Time Pro.

The Drag Radials are sized the same as normal street tires. A common size is the P245/45R17 (https://www.hoosiertire.com/specdrag.htm#DOT Drag Radial). These need to be fitted to a set of 17″ rims. I recommend getting the smallest diameter wheel possible (on the later ’14s and ’15s that’s a 17 rim to fit the brakes) Remember that in drag racing the most important part of your run is the launch and 60 foot. This is why people talk about it so much. Whatever you save on your 60 foot will double by the end of the quarter mile. For example if your 60 foot is 2.2 seconds and your quarter mile is 14.0; if you cut that 60 foot to 2.0 seconds your quarter mile time will drop to 13.6.

This is why drag tires are so important. If you have lots of power and can’t put it down, you won’t have an ET that is representative of that power level. Most people on street tires will have a 60 foot of 2.4-2.2 seconds. On drag radials you can consistently be in the 2.0-1.9 range. Your trap speed (if you don’t miss shifts) is representative of your power level.

Name: Drag Radials.jpg Views: 36 Size: 26.7 KB

Jeremy, one of the guys that works for us from Memphis uses drag radials and here is one of his runs. He has a lot of track experience and consistent times. He is running a GTX2867 and 2 gallons of E85 in this run.

For my car, I went with a more aggressive tire – a Hoosier QTP slick (https://www.hoosiertire.com/specdrag.htm#QUICK TIME PRO). The size is 26 x 9.5 x 16. It is a little tall even for 400whp. It hooks up very well and I run 12-14psi of pressure in the tire. Since it is on a 16″ rim there is a lot of sidewall flex meaning it can absorb the impact of a launch quite well and not slip. This tire should be able to get well into the 1.8-1.6 60 foot range depending on how aggressive you launch.

Name: Focus ST Hoosier QTP.png Views: 35 Size: 607.4 KB

When we took the car to the track the first time, it was already on the big turbo (ATP GTX2867), Stratified aux fuel, etc. It was making around 380 ft lbs and 400whp but flat foot shifting was not working as it should have been. With a launch around 4000 RPM, managed a 12.6 second run.

Knowing there is more in it, sorted out some of the FFS issues, increased torque and went back. While the car was making a solid 400 ft lbs+ of torque the clutch was still stock with 23000 miles on it.

Name: 417whp.jpg Views: 34 Size: 152.6 KB

On the first pass at this power level, the clutch finally couldn’t hold the torque.

The shock delivered by the 5000 RPM launch overwhelmed the OEM clutch which is not surprising. Later that day once the car cooled off, the clutch would again hold fine on street tires. So on slicks, at 400+ ft lbs of torque launching can overwhelm the clutch. Otherwise and so far everything has been holding together great. We have an upgraded COBB rear motor mount as well as Bilstein B14 coilovers installed which help keep the car and engine planted while still being very civil in daily driving.

What’s next? A Spec Stg3+ clutch (sticking with the OEM dual mass flywheel) and a Quaife LSD (this is more so for auto-x). The engine has been very reliable so far even with the abuse of R&D as well as daily driving the car which is great to see. While the ST is better suited for going around turns, you can certainly have a lot of fun with it at the drag strip. So get out there and race your ST, you won’t regret it!