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Ford’s Drift Stick offers some manual control in an electronic world

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A new option on the Focus RS allows for drifting

Modern cars are packed with so many electronics that even parking brakes have been affected, to the disappointment of driving enthusiasts who need that a traditional hydraulic brake to drift a car on a track like they’re in a video game.

But Ford says it has a solution with its Drift Stick, a lever connected to the electronic brake on the Focus RS that enables drivers to drift the car – provided they know how to drift a car. It's meant to simulate what an old fashioned hydraulic handbrake would do: lock the rear wheels and allow you to control a slide. To show that, Ford filmed a video where rally driver Ken Block (from the Gymkhana series) takes a car out for a drive with the Stick on a closed track.

Block was consulted on the Drift Stick, which was developed by Ford's Performance division, and the modification integrates with the existing electronic brake, anti-lock system, and the drive modes (including a Drift Mode that is programmed to direct power to all four wheels as necessary) that are already built into the Focus RS.

Ford says it cleanly integrates onto the car’s console and plugs into the diagnostics port, and also requires far less effort to use than a conventional hydraulic brake. For track enthusiasts who are interested in evaluating their driving skills, performance data can be downloaded via a USB port on the stick, maybe in hopes that one day they'll be able to drive more like Block.

The company maintains the Drift Stick should only be used on the track, likely rather than your local abandoned department store’s parking lot. The Drift Stick will be available to order, according to Ford, on December 1 for $999 through authorized Ford Performance dealers.