I love performance Fords. Perhaps it’s because my first car was a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1, purchased when muscle cars were still cheap. But even back then, I lusted after the Ford European performance cars like the Sierra RS and RS500 Cosworth.
So, when I heard about the 2013 Ford Focus ST, I quickly joined the official Ford ST Facebook page. And when I got a message from Ford inviting me to join a small group of fellow Ford fans for a special commercial video shoot starring Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy in Key West, I only paused long enough to catch my breath. What was my part in this? It didn’t matter, I was psyched to go.
Tuesday, May 15, we arrived in Key West for a meet and greet with our hosts from Ford, followed by dinner, discussions about the ST, the following day’s events and our own lives.
The next day started early, including a pre-production meeting that gave us insight to the unique vision for the commercial: user generated content augmenting professional filming to produce the final commercial. The subject would an exhilarating nighttime spectacle with Tanner and Greg piloting Focus ST vehicles at speed through obstacles, wet roads, and tight turns.
The town was plastered with posters and cards encouraging onlookers to film the race and upload their footage for a chance to have their footage used in the commercial. Later on Wednesday, we were given a special, private walk-through of the Focus ST by Tanner, where he shared his impressions and insights on the car, answered our questions and got us excited about the car’s abilities and features.
Finally that evening the Tangerine Scream and Race Red ST vehicles were staged for filming as the sun began to set. Things moved very quickly. Lighting and film helicopters hovered above and we scattered along the course at key obstacles to catch the most dynamic moments. One, two, three; they staged and roared away from the start.
Between each of the six full course runs, I waded through crowded sidewalks lined with excited people. I moved from spot to spot grabbing the best footage I could all along until I was at one of the most dynamic locations. The crowd gasped and cheered for the drivers as they came barreling down the street, taking a sudden quick right onto a blocked street and locking up the brakes. Reversing furiously, Tanner ripped a reverse 180 as Greg tore off again in the lead, Tanner in close pursuit. And so it went with them narrowly missing obstacles, sliding through thrilling chicane style corners, and grabbing air on the way to the finish.
The evening could not have been gone better or been more exhilarating. Our group of Ford Insiders was treated to the enviable experience of riding back to the hotel in a Focus ST, and later joined the crew and drivers at the Green Parrot. But as the sun threatened to rise, I returned to the hotel with just enough time to reflect on the day before packing and heading home. All I could think was: This was awesome!
I have been asked about my impressions of the Focus ST, getting to see it in person, sitting in it, riding in it and all that. Well, you remember that 1970 Mustang Mach 1 that I mentioned was my first car? I still have it, and I think my Oxford White 2013 Focus ST will look really great parked right next to it.
Wyatt Fletcher is equal parts composer and gearhead, and as a result spends his life split between generating research-based, algorithmic computer music and doing all things automotive. He also finds time to dote on his supportive wife and two awesome kiddos. He’d like to extend his appreciation to his fellow Ford ST Facebook fans that helped make the trip to Key West so awesome: Greg, Peter, Casey, Matt, Angela, Derek, Ron, and Dave.