Close Call A Livernois-tuned Focus RS hangs with a stock Shelby GT350 on the drag strip By Steve Turner Photos courtesy of Livernois Motorsports If you own the top dog Shelby GT350 Mustang, you might immediately dismiss that Focus RS staging next to you at the drag strip. Well, you might want to think twice if your Shelby is stock, because a tuned Focus RS recently held its own against a stock Shelby GT350 at a private track rental in Michigan. The proud owner of Ford Performance’s hottest hatch recently brought his car out to a Livernois Motorsports track rental to test out his freshly tuned EcoBoost machine. He invited his pal with a shiny new GT350 to come along and the two lined up for a little friendly competition. While the Shelby was totally stock, the RS sported Livernois’ new E30 calibration in the PCM. Using launch control set at 5,000 rpm, the Focus RS used its all-wheel-drive grip to get the jump and hang with the Voodoo-powered Mustang—12.88 vs.12.64. (On the next pass—not seen here—the RS actually edged the GT350 with a 12.7) You can watch the friendly race right here… [video=youtube;aQ_4XEVqj3Y]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ_4XEVqj3Y[/video] “Well, while I am quite pleased with the results from the RS, there definitely was a driver advantage on that front too, as you see in the video, the GT350 didn't put on its best showing versus the RS, but that’s also a reality most people would face,” Andy explained. “The RS, with its all-wheel-drive setup, and launch control is going to be tough for the average driver on street tires to challenge and come out on top.” The performance calibration is definitely working at the drag strip. To see exactly how well that it works, you can watch it run on the dyno in Livernois’ development RS… [video=youtube;SpEbHq2U800]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpEbHq2U800[/video] “So far the Focus RS has been fantastic for us. We were able to quickly utilize our company-owned development car to aggressively tackle the tuning,” Livernois general manager Andy Ricketts said. “Our Stage 2 tune offered great performance gains, while keeping peak boost levels very similar to stock (1-3 pounds higher) but having a nice, solid boost curve compared to the OEM’s tapered boost. This allows for quite tremendous gains in the mid- to high-rpm range and the car really shines up there now.” Obviously, Livernois is in the early stages of developing its tuning and modifications for this new platform. However, based on the early returns, the potential for owning a really quick, mildly modified Focus RS is definitely in the cards. “Well, my crystal ball's view is a little cloudy right now as we are still trying to test components and ensure they actually make a real difference rather than just being different than stock,” Andy said. “But, based on the EcoBoost Mustang, I think we should be able to see a bottom 12-second, or even a high-11-second pass on these with a stock turbo. Quicker yet with some mineshaft air and a pro-level driver.” We can’t wait to see how far Livernois pushes this platform, so stay tuned for further developments. Livernois Motorsports has been hard at work developing modifications and tuning for the new Focus RS. The dividends of that work have shown up with big gains on the dyno and impressive runs at the drag strip, where a customer car with its calibration was able to keep pace with a Shelby GT350 on the quarter mile. As you can seen in the dyno graph from its shop car—which is running the company’s EvenFlo thermostat and an E30 calibration—the Livernois Focus RS picked up over 55 horsepower and 70 lb-ft of torque on 93 and over 63 horses and 92 lb-ft on E30 versus the stock baseline run.