The last update showed the car looking complete and on show at RS Combe, but a lot has happened since then. The thing is, while it looked nearly finished, in truth there was still quite a bit of work to do before I could go anywhere near a track in the Focus. Some of it was fairly simple stuff like running the new brake lines, while some of it – as it turned out – was a lot more involved…
First up, were a few dramas with the ECU. In the end we changed plans and ordered a Link ECU and new loom from Auto Dynamix. This was promptly wired up, and to my delight, the YB sprang into life! Yay!
But then came a setback with the cams. The plan all along has been to run the same ‘custom’ spec cams as Mark runs in his Escort Cossie track car – the engines have been built to identical specs, so we’re expecting to see the same 580bhp and 560lb.ft in the Focus too. However, when the new cams arrived they were the wrong fitment, so in order to get the car running for Ford Fair Mark said he could chuck the BD14 inlet and standard exhaust cam back in, and we’d just get a safe map in place so I could get on track at Ford Fair. I also called in a huge favour with Pete at Spec-R and persuaded him to burn the midnight oil to get all the tanks made pronto so we could show the car off on the Fast Ford stand at the show. With no time to waste the car was then booked in with Mark Shead at MA Developments for a mapping session on the Saturday before Ford Fair. With the tamer cams still in place and things turned down a little for added safety, the YB still made an impressive 500bhp at 1.7bar of boost.
Then, just as I was getting ready to go on track at Ford Fair we noticed a small leak coming from the power steering, and typically it wasn’t something we could repair on the day. So, as agonisingly close as it was, I made the sensible decision to stay away from the track at Ford Fair and set my sights on a new debut date at Combe a few weeks later. Of course, being able to jump in Mark’s Escort and still rack up some hot laps helped take the sting out of it a little!
With the car back at the workshop everything was thoroughly checked, and the car was then booked in for a full alignment session. Then, both the Fo-Cos and I were ready to take to the track in anger for the first time at Castle Combe a few days later. It was brilliant! The car already feels fast, and we’ve not even started dialling anything in yet – plus there’s still that extra 80bhp and loads more torque to come when we finally fit the new cams too.
I might fit some stiffer springs in the future to firm up the front end as it did feel a little soft when pushing hard, but overall I was ecstatic with how well it went for its maiden track day. Being able to chase Mark around in the Escort was amazing fun, and with a few more track days under my belt and the Focus really dialled in, then we’ll really see who is the fastest between us!