Hiding beneath the refined styling of Nick Simpson’s Mk2 Focus ST lies a brutal 770bhp on pump gasoline and an insane 900bhp on E85 race gasoline, making this one stealthy sleeper you don’t need to mess with…
Function from Quick Ford journal. Phrases & Photographs: Dan Sherwood.
Play dumb and nobody will see you coming,” laughs Nick Simpson, the proprietor of the candy but subtly styled Mk2 Focus ST you see earlier than you. “That was an expression my grandad used loads, and it completely sums up the strategy I’ve taken with the Focus.”
You see, Nick’s not somebody who likes to shout his intentions. He’s extra the kind to talk quietly however carry a giant stick, and his 900bhp Mk2 Focus ST has been constructed on this picture.
Nick says, “I’ve at all times been a fan of the less-is-more strategy to styling mods, as I favor to masks the automotive’s true efficiency to maintain it extra of a sleeper.”
And for a person that counts a shouty Mercedes A45 AMG and McLaren MP4-12C in his back-catalogue of automobiles, that appears fairly a wierd assertion.
“There’s no hiding in a supercar or brazen scorching hatch just like the A45, as everybody is aware of how briskly they’re, so that they’re not shocked when it takes off like a scalded cat. However few individuals are ready for the brutal efficiency of the ST. I like to see the look on their faces – they will’t consider it.”
Nick’s journey along with his 900bhp Mk2 Focus ST began when he purchased the automotive as a clear, normal instance again in 2014.
He explains, “Although I’ve at all times been a giant Ford fan, this was solely the second Ford I’d owned. The primary was an Escort 1.3 Ghia that my grandad purchased me as my first automotive after passing my check.
“Sadly, I ended up writing it off in an accident and it took me a very long time to get again into Ford possession.”
Nick’s grandad performed a big half in his life, not solely as a father determine but in addition as a guiding mild within the realm of quick Fords. An enormous Blue Oval fanatic, after he handed away, Nick promised to at some point construct a Ford that his grandad could be pleased with.
Nick says, “It took me a very long time to have the ability to face having a Ford once more, so I targeted on work and making successful of myself, which allowed me to take pleasure in some fairly particular automobiles. However I knew the day would come that I’d be again in a Ford, and I might go to city on it and construct it as a tribute to my grandad.”
With the feisty Focus lastly in his possession, Nick had a transparent imaginative and prescient of what he needed to attain; he simply had no concept of the eventual stage he would take.
“My first modification was to ditch the usual intercooler for an uprated R-Sport model, because the inventory half would quickly develop into a restriction after I began to extend the enhance,” Nick remembers.
Subsequent was a Dreamscience induction package mixed with a free-flowing Anembo consumption manifold to make sure the hungry five-pot motor might gulp as a lot air because the inventory turbocharger might produce when the automotive’s manufacturing unit ECU was brainwashed with a Dreamscience Mod X remap.
Nick says, “The results of the primary spherical of modifications was simply over 300bhp. It was a pleasant hike from the automotive’s inventory 222bhp, however I used to be nonetheless craving extra, so I invested in a set of Focus RS injectors and upgraded the ECU tune to Dreamscience’s Mod XRS specification.” Correctly mixed with a beefier RS clutch to comprise the extra torque now on faucet, the resultant figures on the dyno had been studying simply over 330bhp.
Nick laughs, “The issue with getting a style for energy is that it’s addictive. I discovered myself chasing an more and more violent neck-snapping surge to pin me again into the motive force’s seat. However all too quickly I might get used to the facility and begin trying to take issues to the following stage.”
It was Mark Kent, from Nottingham-based AutoModz, who was solely too glad to oblige, advising Nick that it was time to ditch the inventory blower and improve to a stronger hybrid turbo to maximise the obtainable enhance.
However you’ll be able to’t simply cram an ever-larger amount of air and the required tremendous unleaded into the cylinders and count on the inventory internals to not break a sweat. The stronger combine creates a extra forceful explosion, which left unchecked quickly leads to bent conrods and broken pistons.
The reply for Nick was to put in stronger pistons and rods from a Focus RS. They had been joined by an uprated re-circulating valve, Airtec oil breather system, Focus RS oil cooler and even larger 750cc injectors.
This time it was 360bhp that was displaying on the dyno display, which was a tidy enhance, however not fairly the form of leap that Nick hoped for.
“We felt that the manufacturing unit ECU was proscribing the potential for higher energy beneficial properties. It merely didn’t have the scope to push the tune so far as we would have liked, so we needed to look into stand-alone alternate options,” explains Nick.
Syvecs’s S6 Plus is an aftermarket ECU that provides a particularly excessive stage of exact engine administration management that not solely permits a tuner to extract the utmost efficiency from an engine but in addition has a bunch of leading edge security options that continually monitor your engine’s parameters to make sure your extremely tuned motor stays in a single piece. It’s a significantly intelligent piece of package.
Wanting a slice of the Syvecs motion, Nick visited Satan Developments in Littlehampton. Satan is the UK’s distributor for Ford-based Syvecs ECUs and has a variety of expertise putting in and tuning these superior engine management models.
Nick says, “With the Syvecs put in and mapped by Satan, the facility rose to 398bhp. The automotive ran completely faultlessly on this spec for the following 12 months and I took it over to the 2018 Isle of Wight Takeover present, which was a extremely superior occasion.”
However as a lot as Nick was loving his almost-400bhp beast, seeing a bunch of different tuned Focuses with equally massive outputs led him to rethink his personal tuning technique as soon as extra.
“We had reached the restrict of the hybrid turbo and it simply couldn’t produce any extra enhance, so to take issues additional would require a giant turbo improve,” says Nick.
Now, to some, this will sound like a easy case of swapping one blower for one more, considerably bigger, unit. However, the method is a way more sophisticated affair.
Nick explains, “I did a variety of analysis into what could be concerned in getting the automotive to the extent I needed and who could be one of the best individuals to hold out the work. In the long run there was just one firm I felt I might belief to do the job to the usual I anticipated, and that was BD Efficiency.”
Primarily based in Wrexham in North Wales, BD Efficiency is a Ford specialist that’s been accountable for among the nation’s most spectacular builds.
“Ben and Darren at BD have accomplished some really epic engine builds. Once I spoke to them in regards to the form of energy I hoped for, they specified the work that wanted to be performed to attain it reliably,” Nick says.
Sadly, the RS-spec parts that Nick had put in in his earlier engine would not minimize the mustard, though the Anembo plenum and the Syvecs ECU might nonetheless be retained.
Nick says, “BD advisable a Garrett GTX3584RS Gen 2 turbocharger because it’s a compact unit able to between 500 and 1000bhp on engines between 2.0 and 5.5-litres. Packing such a giant punch for its dimension was an vital issue, as I used to be eager to maintain the turbo within the inventory location for a extra manufacturing unit look, reasonably than going to a sidewinder set up, which provides extra clearance for an even bigger turbo.”
Having this a lot enhance obtainable meant going again to the drafting board when it got here to the engine itself, which has had in depth work carried out to make sure it’s sturdy sufficient to resist such excessive pressures.
Nick explains, “The block has aftermarket liners fitted to provide further energy to the cylinders and is supplied with K1 I-beam cast conrods and Mahle cast pistons. The crank has additionally been balanced, and the top ported and polished and fitted with Stage 2 Newman cams, in addition to larger valves to make sure most fuel circulate – a modification that BD has examined and located to attain beneficial properties of round 50bhp by itself.”
The turbo sits on a tubular exhaust manifold with 4in downpipe that flows via to a full customized exhaust system, the previous of which has been Zircotec ceramic coated to maintain warmth throughout the exhaust, rushing up fuel circulate and lowering under-bonnet temperatures.
On the inlet aspect, an Airtec Gobstopper front-mounted intercooler with large-diameter pipework has been fitted to make sure sufficient cooling of the consumption cost with the least strain drop from the turbo’s compressor wheel to the throttle physique.
Clearly, a big enhance in air going into the engine has necessitated an equally giant enhance in gasoline too, and to produce the tsunami of tremendous unleaded that the ST’s engine now guzzles at full throttle, Nick wanted to comprehensively improve the gasoline system.
He explains, “It’s now obtained an uprated BD Efficiency brushless gasoline pump, which passes the gasoline onto an exterior swirl pot earlier than it’s fed to the massive injectors. The precise spec of the injectors is a carefully guarded secret, although, as this was discovered to be a crucial a part of the big-power course of.”
And what was the ultimate energy output of all of BD’s underbonnet wizardry? Nicely, 770bhp that’s what. And that determine is on common pump gasoline. Add a dose of ethanol to the tank and that determine can rise to over 900bhp when working E85 gasoline. That could be a frankly ridiculous quantity of energy for any automotive, not to mention a front-wheel-drive hatch.
“It does attempt to kill me each time I drive it,” Nick laughs. “It’s not like a contemporary supercar the place you’ll be able to simply bury the throttle and go; you must be so cautious to feed within the energy gently or it can simply launch you off the street.”
In an try and comprise and management all of this epic energy, BD outfitted the transmission with a Helix six-paddle clutch and an M Manufacturing facility helical limited-slip differential. This helps get the facility to the 8.5in-wide Bola wheels, that are aided of their efforts to switch this to the tarmac by a set of BC Racing coilovers and sticky Yokohama AD08R tyres.
After all, you want to have the ability to cease all of the go, and to provide the ST sufficient braking energy to pop your eyeballs from their sockets is a PB massive brake conversion with EBC Bluestuff brake pads and braided brake strains.
Nick grins, “I can actually say that out of all of the automobiles I personal, or have owned, that is by far essentially the most enjoyable.”
And when you think about he at present parks this up subsequent to an Audi R8 V10 and an 800bhp Audi RS6, that’s spectacular.
“But it surely’s not simply the facility that makes me smile, it’s what this automotive means to me. It was constructed to honour my Ford-loving grandad, and I’d by no means promote it for any amount of cash,” he tells us.
So, whether or not that is the ultimate spec for Nick’s flying Focus or there’s extra to return sooner or later, one factor’s for certain: Nick will nonetheless be having fun with this automotive for a few years to return, secure within the data that with this beautiful sleeper ST he has performed his grandad proud.
Tech Spec: 900bhp Mk2 Focus ST
2522cc five-cylinder Duratec turbo, Garrett GTX3584RS Gen 2 turbocharger, BD Efficiency 4in air consumption, Anembo consumption plenum, BD Efficiency linered block, Mahle cast pistons, K1 I-beam conrods, big-valve head with Stage 2 Newman cams and single valve springs, tubular manifold with Zircotec ceramic coating, BD Efficiency front-mounted oil cooler and oil breather package, enlarged injectors, Airtec Gobstopper intercooler with massive enhance pipe, Turbosmart exterior wastegate, BD Efficiency silicone hoses, Syvecs S6 Plus ECU with Toucan show, customized exhaust with 4in Zircotec coated downpipe and screamer pipe, BD Efficiency brushless gasoline pump with exterior swirl pot
770bhp (on pump gasoline) 900bhp (on E85 race gasoline)
Focus ST M66 six-speed front-wheel-drive gearbox with M Manufacturing facility helical limited-slip differential, Helix six-paddle clutch, brief shifter
Full underbody restoration and powder-coating, BC Racing adjustable coilovers, Whiteline entrance and rear anti-roll bars with adjustable drop hyperlinks, polyurethane bushes all spherical, anti-lift package, Summit entrance strut brace
Entrance: PB Brakes massive brake conversion comprising eight-pot callipers with 356mm discs; rear: hybrid callipers with Mk3 Focus RS discs; EBC Bluestuff brake pads and braided brake strains all spherical
Wheels & Tyres:
8.5x18in Bola B1 black alloy wheels, 5×108 PCD, ET40 offset, with 225/40×18 Yokohama Advan ADO8R semi-slick tyres
Race Crimson Focus ST, RS Design entrance splitter and aspect spats, Loader rear diffuser, gloss black wing mirrors, wind deflectors, rear spoiler extension
Sparco light-weight bucket seats, Private steering wheel with snap-off boss, GDF half roll cage, rear seats eliminated, Android head unit