LEGEND HAS it owners of Ford’s high-performance RS cars are an obsessive bunch. Some have tattoos to prove their loyalty; others prefer the old-fashioned route of branded T-shirts and anoraks emblazoned with logos. Their motto is even said to be “You can sleep in your car but you can’t race your house”.
Perhaps with this in mind, Ford has decided to treat RS fans to something a little more engaging than an online pop-up banner advertising campaign. It has commissioned an eight-part documentary, to be shown online, which it claims will be a “warts-and-all” experience that charts every stage of the development of the new Focus RS.
Rebirth of an Icon kicks off on 30 September, with a new episode released each week subsequently. A teaser clip shows what petrolhead viewers can expect from the documentary series.
At the heart of the films are the rally and stunt driver Ken Block and Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice-president for global product development and chief technical officer.
“The Focus RS is a unique performance vehicle with an incredible heritage,” Nair says. “This creates enormous expectation and intense pressure that demands teamwork, sheer determination and a single-minded focus on delivering the ultimate Focus. This access-all-areas documentary perfectly captures what is at times a bumpy ride.”
Once Ford had pulled the covers off its third-generation Focus RS, more than 500 fans slapped down a deposit without even knowing what the car would cost. They’re unlikely to be disappointed by the four-wheel-drive car’s performance: with 345bhp on tap it’ll dismiss the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds and can charge on to a top speed of 165mph. And all for just £28,940. Such performance in a mainstream family car is no small achievement.
Follow the series on YouTube. The documentary schedule in full:
1 Project kick-off – Ken Block and Raj Nair thrash out what the car should deliver, from behind the wheel of an early prototype
2 Design and development – crunching crashes put the new design to the toughest of tests
3 Hitting the road – a 1,000-mile drive through epic terrain takes prototypes from high in the Rocky Mountains to the Arizona desert
4 Test-track trials – Ken Block heads for Ford’s top-secret test facility and indulges in some “hooning”
5 Arctic extremes – winter testing in Sweden, and the team is under pressure to improve performance
6 Power struggle – it’s all about performance, as the Ford manufacturing plant in Saarlouis, Germany, gears up for production
7 Close scrutiny – the day of the critical sign-off drive follows Block’s headline appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
8 Final chapter – it’s time for the nail-biting management review