Project Sriracha Introduction – From Stock to Stage 3
It’s time we formally introduce Mario’s Fiesta ST (aka Sriracha) and begin take a look at what has been done to the mini ST since it was purchased at the end of May.
To begin, as a quick recap and for anyone who hasn’t read the previous post (Focus STedan – Welcome to the Party) Mario had been driving a Race Red Focus ST (“Ketchup”) for a few years which he, myself, and the rest of our friends in Calgary had spent a fair bit of time building up. The car was his daily driver but would be brought out to shows and meets around the city, and even picked up a few awards along the way as well as a magazine feature.
One evening at the start of May Mario was driving home from work when another car struck him at high speed. The collision severely damaged the ST but it thankfully did what it was designed to do and kept him safe. We had hoped we’d be able to save the car but ultimately it was found that the damage it sustained was far too severe for it to be repairable, so it was deemed a write-off.
Once it was confirmed that the ST wouldn’t be returning to the road, that left Mario in need of a new vehicle so he returned to the Ford website and started comparing some options. In the end he decided to pick up a 2016 Fiesta ST to get something similar to, but smaller and lighter than, the Focus. Originally having come from a long line of small and nimble Hondas, the Fiesta ST was a perfect choice and he has certainly been enjoying it!
Given how heavily modified Ketchup was and with intentions to continue participating in our local car shows, it was no surprise that Sriracha wouldn’t be staying stock for very long – and it certainly didn’t. A lot of work has been carried out on the car already but for today’s post we’re going to focus on the drivetrain in particular. To give you an idea of how fast the work was carried out, Sriracha was at Stage 3 by the time it was 6 weeks old!
One of the first things Mario did with the car was upload a new tune using his existing Cobb Accessport – the same afternoon that he picked it up from the dealership in fact! Not too long after, one of the first orders arrived in the mail with solid bushings for the transmission and shifter brackets.
Next came a few more new parts in the form of a Mountune high-flow air filter, Mountune symposer delete, and a skid plate for the evap canister. It’s quite exposed underneath the car and is not an inexpensive part to replace, so Mario didn’t want to take any chances!
One piece that Mario hadn’t originally intended to fit as soon as he did was a new front mount intercooler but he happened across a deal from another FiST owner that was too good to pass up. While the car was apart for the install he also took the opportunity to drill out his factory airbox for more flow to the aforementioned Mountune filter.
With the drill out he then turned his focus to the front bumper, drilling out the grille for a bit more air flow to the radiator. Sanding down the backside of the grille has become an increasingly common modification for Focus ST and Fiesta ST owners and Mario intends to completely open his grille up later on; on this day we didn’t have a belt sander handy so the drill offered a temporary solution until we can return to the grille later on.
With the intercooler fitted and car back on the ground, Mario then switched over to a Stage 2 tune, with the car only being about a month old at this point.
With all of that work carried out, one thing the car still needed was the ability to exhale more efficiently so Mario picked up a new downpipe and exhaust system from Mountune and FSWERKS respectively. I wasn’t present for the install of it but reportedly the downpipe swap was not the easiest procedure. The exhaust on the other hand went straight on, although some stiffer exhaust hangers are now on Mario’s wishlist to hold the system in place more firmly than the stock pieces can. With those new components fitted the Stage 3 tune was then loaded and the 6-week old Sriracha was definitely sounding meaner and pulling harder.
At the same time that all of these pieces were being bought and installed, the little hatch was also receiving some new exterior components, had some small parts fitted inside, got an altitude adjustment and shoe swap, and even had the stereo upgraded. Between the day it was picked up from the dealership and the first big event it was scheduled to participate in, we had about a 10-week window to get as much fitted to the car as possible. Full updates covering the changes made to the other areas of the car will be coming soon so please keep your eyes peeled for those, along with more on my Focus, Project STedan.
-Bill @ Official Three Twenty