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Brent's MK1 Ford Focus RS

By Mike Seddon - 11-07-2014

Members Rides: Brent Genito's 2003 MKI Ford Focus RS

When you want something to be perfect, you don't settle for anything but the best. Even if you're building on a budget, quality matters. I was pointed in the direction of a little hatchback that had been seen tearing around the streets of Italy and the off-road trails of Southern France. A rather tidy looking - albeit eleven year old - Ford Focus RS that has been lovingly personalised by its driver. These cars weren't cheap back when they were initially released back in 2003, yet as more advanced and powerful models took over (like the 2009 RS and the 2013 ST models), this particular car seemed to fade from our sights or fall in with a collectors hoard. But not this one. I managed to catch up with the driver, one Brent Genito, and he explained how this car had gone from pretty much a scrapyard wreck to the car we see before us.

"I couldn't believe my luck!" Brent chuckles as he recounts the story of his beloved Focus, seemingly for the umpteenth time. "I initially wanted a restoration project so I headed out to the local breaker's yard to see what I could salvage. This car seemed to stand out from the rest. Sure, it had a wheel missing and was still in the Royal Blue paint - which had been heavily damaged - but otherwise seemed in pretty good condition". Brent goes on to tell me that while the engine in the wrecked RS turned over without any problems, the rest of the car needed serious attention. So instead of restoring it back to factory specification, Brent decided to take it upon himself and create something unique to him. While a challenge both mentally and financially, he didn't back down until the car was ready to secure him an invite to the Horizon Festival and compete with other drivers from around the world.

Engine & Transmission:
"The engine didn't need much work, just a clean and some more parts for a bit of extra power". A statement rare in the case of resurrecting a scrapyard find, yet it managed to spare Brent a large chunk of his budget with not having to replace the engine. The pokey two litre engine already gave the RS a respectable 212 horsepower, yet a little more was needed in order to compete. Brent managed to get his hands on a performance air filter and intake, uprated fuel and ignition systems, a custom built exhaust and downpipes which give the car a rasping and challenging tone, better valves to handle more power and an ultra-light flywheel to give increased throttle response. He also had to replace the intercooler and oil cooling systems as these had been damaged when the car was scrapped. The overall horsepower increase Brent attained was from 212 to 291, which shoots the Focus to sixty miles an hour in just over five seconds! Coupled to a new six-speed sequential gearbox, triple plate clutch and two-way differential, the Focus had a new heart and was almost ready to compete.

Chassis & Wheels:

With the increase in power came a need to control and reign in the Focus if it got too out of hand. The first thing to be installed were uprated carbon ceramic brakes all around, with four piston calipers at both front and rear. Adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars were also installed. For additional safety, Brent removed the rear seats of the Focus and installed a complete rollcage to stiffen up the ride and provide him with the safety he needed in competition. "I had a funny feeling that there was going to be more to this Festival than just road racing", expressed Brent when I said his car sits a little higher than what I was expecting of a performance hatchback. "This was the part that ate up most of my budget as it pretty much had to be custom made". Fully adjustable springs and damping units were installed in place of the factory struts, which Brent can individually set to suit the need of an event. "If it's a road race, I can sling the car low to the ground and stiffen up the springs to keep the car planted through the turns. If it's a cross country race or something like that - the scramble events are great fun - I can raise the car clear of any rocks or ditches and soften the springs to give me a lot of travel over rough ground". Brent finished the modifications to the chassis with a set of 18" x 10" HRE C106's front and rear finished in dark grey, wrapped in high performance, low profile competition tyres.

Exterior Styling:

"I already love the way the MKI looks in its factory spec, therefore I saw no reason to change much at all". The only modifications made to the exterior of the car have been the wheels, an addition of a Wings West bonnet vent to allow extra air to the engine, carbon mirrors to shave off a few extra grams of weight and a 3" exhaust tip that just pokes out from the rear bumper. "I see too many blue Ford Focuses in magazines and at car shows, I wanted something different". Brent struggled to find the right colour for his car for quite some time. He kept it Royal Blue for a while, then after an incident in a superstore parking lot concerning a drunk fellow driving a minivan, had to respray the car glossy black. However, this got boring very quickly. So Brent went to a custom colour specialist and had the Focus resprayed in multiple layers of flaked metallic silver. Happy with the fact that his Focus RS looked the part, sounded the part and performed above and beyond his expectations, Brent now finds himself here at the Horizon Festival, competing against other like minded drivers with performance hatchbacks and sharing his story about how his exceptional Ford Focus RS came into being.


'Mike Seddon is an avid follower of the car culture and has been present for both the Colorado and Southern Europe Festivals. He also goes trackside whenever possible and - armed with his trusty camera - strives to capture the best moments and cars from every event he attends'.


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