And what a day it was!
Every time I get an invitation to attend a Ford event I just know its going to be a corker, and this one did not disappoint.
Getting to PE meant a really early trip to ORT as I had to take off at 7h10. I was even awake before my 6 month old labrador puppy Riddick! The look on his face when I turned on the bedside light was comical indeed. In PE I found a few familiar faces for company! I’ve met Sihle (from Real Magazine), @UrbanEnzo and @denphat ( of JucyAfrica) at previous Ford events and I finally got to meet the fabulous @TanyaKovarsky (of Rattle & Mum fame) after we missed each other at previous tweetups! I also got to meet some new people- @zacarshow, @DjSwitchSA, @kevintaylor6, @JasonVonBerg and @FashionJazz, and hang out with some of the Ford peeps I have met at these events which was really awesome.
We landed early in fabulous overcast, cool weather and were met by the Ford crew, then we had coffee, signed indemnity forms, and checked drivers’ licenses whilst we waited for the Durban people to join us. Once we were all there and chatting and paring up (we drive two-two, with one person navigating and one driving) I asked Tanya if she wanted to be my partner and we got our keys- to a “Tangerine Scream” coloured Ford Focus ST! The other colours are Spirit Blue, Race Red, Panther Black, Frozen White and Moondust Silver.
It is seriously sexy! I love the back end! I must be honest though- I think the older models looked “meaner”, but this one is certainly a hot car! Keyless start is a total winner and I have already said that I love the layout and dashboard in the Ford Focus! And a six-way adjustable driver’s seat!? Yes please! What I wasn’t anticipating was actually sitting in the seats… The new ST is fitted with Recaro seats, and they are SOOO not kind to a big bum! I put it out of my mind as I got to chatting to Tanya and we navigated our way to Aldo Scribante Raceway not far from the airport.
After a presentation on the design, specs and market for the new Ford Focus ST we were split into three groups to discuss Ford’s SYNC system, try to set a record on a racing game, and take the ST for a spin around the Aldo Scribante racetrack! I managed 3:21.774 on the racing game- the slowest in my group- but everyone was beaten by- wait for it- A GIRL! Jolandi finished in with a time of 2:42.465!
After my group had done the racing game and checked out the Ford Focus SYNC system- where you can hook up your phone/ MP3 player/ tablet/ USB to the car using Bluetooth or a jack and listen to text messages, make and answer calls or play your favourite playlist through the car’s sound system.
Then we got fed. And MAN did we get fed! Little crumbed prawns, little spring rolls, a chicken salad, a hot chicken dish with rice, a smoked salmon salad on a hashbrown, beef that just melted in your mouth… And then they came around with these bamboo cones filled with little fish and chips portions! And just when I thought I may have trouble fitting into the ST’s racing seats they started serving fresh baked waffles and ice cream! I had a sugar cone with the most divine vanilla ice cream and decided enough was enough.
Then it was my group’s turn to go on the track. DJ Switch and I were in one car with a professional driver who took us around to show us what the car could do. I was in the back seat and let me tell you- my butt wasn’t on the seat most of the time! I was being flung around like a crash-test dummy! Thank goodness for handholds and a seatbelt! Back into the pits to swop seats and drivers, putting Switch behind the wheel and me in the passenger seat with our instructor in the back seat. Now it was our turn to do three laps each with cones on the track showing the start and end of each corner. It was PHENOMENAL! Do you know what Ford have done? They are relaying some of the engine noise INTO THE CAR!!! And it so adds to the experience of driving this car! I’ve never been on a track before.
Ooh and you know how everyone thinks they’re a good driver? Well I hate to toot my own horn but I did really well on the track! I was stoked!
That was by far the highlight of the day for me- being able to belt around a race track in a performance vehicle!
And now for your visual entertainment, here are some photos from the day and of the ST. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble telling which are the professional shots and which are mine! 😀
And for the petrol heads, here are some of the specs I appreciate:
- 184kW 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine
- 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 248 km/h
- 7.2 ?/100 km
- CO2 emissions of 169 g/km; a 20 percent improvement over the previous Focus ST
- Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT), redesigned intake and exhaust systems, unique calibration
- Strong torque levels in a broad, flat curve peaking at 360 Nm
- Unique twin hexagonal centre exhaust tailpipe
- Sport Steering System variable ratio steering rack reduces steering sensitivity in a straight line and increases sensitivity when cornering
- Torque Vectoring Control applies brake torque to the inner wheel through a corner to reduce under steer