Let’s call him John, because that’s his name. He’s Australian and he defines himself as an ‘auto expert’.
That’s enough to know about him, except that he also has a bee in his bonnet. A massive bee, pretty grumpy, causing considerable consternation within his primly brimmed hat.
His beef is with Ford. Ford has fitted the Focus RS with a Drift mode and he doesn’t like that. All it does is make it a bit more rear-driven, but he says it’s dangerous. In fact, he says, Ford is positively encouraging hooning, and somebody will probably use Drift mode on the road, they’ll be rubbish at drifting and they’ll crash. Somebody will get hurt and Ford, as well as the numpty driving, will be culpable, for encouraging dangerous behaviour.
Ford says – although not in response to John’s rant, directly – that Drift mode is for use only on a circuit. In a video explaining the RS’s various drive modes – there are four – it explicitly shows the most extreme two, Track and Drift (forgive me if I’m indulging in Unnecessary Capitals), enabled only on circuit. When you select the drive modes, the car tells you a track is the only place those should be used.
That’s not good enough for John, although his argument falls short here: he has looked at the Focus RS handbook and it turns out that, on p16, it says the warranty will be invalidated if the car is used for motorsport. If you take it on a track at all, then, he says, the warranty is voided.
Which, of course, is nonsense. For it to be motorsport, there has to be sport – competition – involved. A track day is a track day, it is not motorsport, and using a Focus RS on a track day will not ruin the warranty.
But still, it’s an interesting argument and one that is, I’ll admit, easy to create: Drift mode could be used on the road and be dangerous. Should Ford not have fitted it? Personally, I’m cool with it. Yet there are things I think should be banned because some people are stupid.
Somewhere on a sliding scale of risk is an act that some of us think is okay and others do not. This is where John sits on Drift mode. I think he’s wrong, but as he’d say, with too much swearing: tell it to the mother of a pedestrian lying in a hospital bed after being knocked down by an out-of-control Focus RS.
Hysterical? Probably. I think performance cars should be allowed to be performance cars and that we assume drivers are responsible enough to use them properly. It’s just as easy to crash a car without Drift mode as one with it, after all. But maybe one day John will win. Life gets safer, more restricted.
Today, you can’t close a Word document without being asked if you’re sure you want to. Where next tomorrow?