The Ford Focus RS is famous for its Drift Mode. Now, getting the all-wheel-drive hot hatch into wild slides is made even easier with the new Ford Performance Drift Stick. The contraption you see below is a rally-inspired electronic handbrake, developed and designed for the Focus RS and approved by none other than Ken Block.

The Drift Stick – internally called Project Wicked Stick and led by Ford Performance program manager John Wicks – was born out of the Focus RS Drift Mode and developed by the same team.

The stick itself is an aluminium lever between the driver’s seat and the gear stick. It uses the AWD in conjunction with the ABS, opening up the rear-drive unit clutches and applying hydraulic pressure to lock the rear wheels to induce drift with the simple pull of a lever. The results are clutch-free drift turns very similar to the experience of a real rally car.

For the final sign-off, rally and stunt driver Ken Block was consulted. Noted for his gymkhana videos, Block is one of the most prolific users of the hydraulic handbrake in rally cars. He pushed for the electronic handbrake to provide regular drivers with the quickest possible way to get the Focus RS sideways for big drifts.

“I think it’s really cool that Ford Performance is offering customers a way to create large-angle drifts in the Focus RS. Obviously it’s something that I’m really passionate about having been a part of the development of the production vehicle, so it’s exciting to see it come to life. It definitely makes the car even more fun to drive,” said the man himself.

Since a hydraulic handbrake would have required substantial mods to the car that aren’t easily reversed, the Drift Stick was developed as an entirely electronic technology.

The digital design enables a number of benefits, chief of which is instantaneous engagement and release. Just five to six pounds of pressure is required to operate the Drift Stick, significantly less than a hydraulic handbrake.

Installation and removal is also easy, as there is no welding, hole drilling or calipers as needed in a hydraulic kit. It also connects to the onboard diagnostics port on the car, allowing it to function as a professional calibration tool.

Intended for track use only (let’s hope so), the Ford Performance Drift Stick is available in the US and Canada for $999. The kit includes the Drift Stick lever, mounts and circuit board with professional calibration functionality. The car’s warranty is unaffected by its installation. Watch the video above to see Ken Block playing with the stick.

GALLERY: Ford Focus RS