The 2024 Ford Mustang Brings Back the Drift Stick


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Photo: Ford

Back in 2018, Ford introduced a magic lever that turned you into Ken Block. It was called the Drift Stick, and it was essentially an electronically-controlled hydraulic handbrake for the Focus RS. But the Focus is dead, and the Drift Stick is now merely a faint, warm memory in the heads of snow-drifting enthusiasts. At least, it was — until Ford brought it back for the 2024 Mustang.

The Drift Stick, that baton of electrical sorcery, was a complicated piece. It had to play with the Focus’s ECU, tricking its ABS system into sending thousands of pounds of hydraulic pressure to the rear calipers without letting up when the wheels locked and the tires slid. It also had to disconnect the RS’s center differential, allowing the rear end to freewheel to prevent a stall. But the Mustang is rear-wheel-drive only — its Drift Brake can be a little simpler.

Maybe it’s because I’m not wearing my glasses, but the front end is growing on me a bit

Maybe it’s because I’m not wearing my glasses, but the front end is growing on me a bit
Photo: Ford

The Mustang, like many modern cars, splits its parking brake off to a second, electronically controlled rear brake caliper. But it seems Ford’s performance engineers took a look at that split rear setup and went, “Hang on. Formula Drift cars have dual rear calipers. We can do something here.”

That “something” was to bring Vaughn Gittin Jr. on board, to help develop a drift brake that Ford claims is a “competition-ready system.” That’s a lot to live up to, especially when the dual rear calipers on FD cars are far more powerful than a little single-piston e-brake, but maybe the Blue Oval meant competitions at your local grassroots event.

Flick the car into Track Mode, and that brake handle becomes an unlatched lever tied straight to the secondary rear pistons — one that won’t lock itself in the engaged position mid-slide. You’ll likely still need to hold in the clutch, but the electronic setup means you won’t have to go out and buy a drift button.

Ford’s been invested deep into drifting for years now, but it’s interesting to see that tech finally start to hit the Mustang. Just, be warned — the Drift Brake isn’t meant for street use. Find an empty parking lot before you go full Ken Block.



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