Sneak Peek: COBB Tuning's 2012 Ford Focus – Part 1
By Steve Rockwood
The new Focus has finally brought Ford the sport compact they had been looking for since the introduction of the Focus over a decade ago. Eager to get a head start on the platform, COBB Tuning partnered with Ford to build up a Focus SE to turn some hot laps as a Modified class time attack car. Take a look with us inside the COBB Tuning Focus.
Founded in 1999 in the State that Invented Dr. Pepper (Texas), COBB Tuning started as a boutique tuning shop for Subaru performance (once a laughable subject here in the States, amazing what can happen in 10 years). Since expanded to include facilities in Oregon and California, as well as two shops in Texas, COBB Tuning has become one of the premier tuning companies in the US, offering solutions for Subaru, BMW, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Mini, and soon Ford owners. COBB tuning is full of the same type of geeks and engineers that sweat every detail in developing a new product before released to the public. Our kind of people.
While COBB was excited to get their hands on a Focus, their primary target in the lineup is the Focus ST due out later this year. Since the direct injection system, basic engine design, and chassis components are very similar to the ST, using this car as a development mule allows COBB to have plenty of time to figure out which parts work best for the ST instead of rushing to get a part out that may not be a complete solution.
The car itself is being built as a showcase for COBB's abilities, and will compete in various time attack and wheel to wheel series.
Before work began in earnest, the car was stripped of the entire interior, the drivetrain removed, and all bolt on exterior panels were removed. The chassis was stitch welded along the bottom perimeter, and stripped of all sound deadening.
Since the core of every racecar is its cagework and chassis, COBB made sure to spend a lot of time on this step. A comprehensive roll cage, built similarly to rally and World Challenge rollcages, was TIG welded together out of 1.75″ x 0.120″ DOM mild steel tubing, thicker than the required 1.75″ x 0.090″ DOM that most sanctioning bodies require for better protection for the driver.