The Citizen Journalists that we invited out to the Chicago Auto Show sure know their way around rally cars. In fact, all three of them are in the automotive engineering field and race their own builds on the weekends. So it’s no surprise that Brandon Anderson, Ethan Sanborn and Josh Mason jumped at the chance to learn all they could about the Ford Focus TrackSTer build that was unveiled at the show.
As guests of Ford Social, we gave them the opportunity to see it firsthand before the show opened to the public.
The TrackSTer is a custom Ford Focus ST, designed by the LA-based automotive tuner fifteen52 and built for Ken Block. Brandon got the opportunity to talk to Ken Block about the TrackSTer and why it was built, but these gearheads were thirsty for more. They had some heavy duty questions and wanted to soak up as much technical knowledge as they could.
We couldn’t think of anyone better suited to bring them up to speed on this high-performance rally car than those who designed and built it.
So, who are these guys? Brad Beardow and Matt Crooke are co-owners of fifteen52. Fifteen52 has been around since the mid-1990s doing custom work for all manner of cool performance cars. Eventually, they got plugged in with Ken Block on his legendary Gymkhana projects.
Ken took a liking to fifteen52 and tapped them to build a series of three project cars from the Ford Focus ST. The TrackSTer is the first of these builds and the boys were kind enough to sit down and chat with our Citizen Journalists to give them the lowdown on it.
Fifteen52 originally caught Ken’s attention thanks to their slick-looking custom wheels. So it was no surprise Brad was in that neighborhood when asked what his favorite TrackSTer feature was.
“I like how wide it is. I love that part, seeing our wheels out to the very edge.”
The wheels, while custom, are available to anyone looking to trick out their own car. It’s one of the things that makes this particular build so special.
“That’s the exact same wheel that Ken Block uses on his Fiesta,” boasts fifteen52 co-owner Matt Crooke They bolt right up. All you have to do is get in touch with us.”
There’s much more to the TrackSTer than custom wheels, though. It’s a deceptively simple design that doesn’t appear too outlandish to the naked eye. But as our Citizen Journalists found out, there are all sorts of exclusive touches all around the vehicle.
Take the rear end for example, where the car’s wing attempts to fuse the styling of the Focus ST with the Focus RS, its hot hatch counterpart from across the pond.
“It looks like it’s really easy to fit,” admits Matt. “It’s actually quite difficult. The wing is actually about 160 pieces of plastic put together.”
It’s the kind of craftsmanship that only a diehard auto tuner and rally cross fan could appreciate.
Make sure to check out the exclusive Ford Social video above to get a complete 360° look at all of the subtle yet bold customizations that the team from fifteen52 made to create the TrackSTer.
Speaking of ST, you won’t want to miss our Citizen Journalist interview with Tanner Foust and Andreas Eriksson as they explain what it’s like to design and drive the Fiesta ST Global RallyCross car.