The Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST have created plenty of excitement in the sport compact segment, and Ford is looking to make sure that owners are driving and enjoying their cars to the best of their abilities. As an added bonus for buying one of these sporty hatchbacks, Ford will provide a complimentary ST Octane Academy session to be held at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Attendees will be responsible for travel and lodging, but Ford will provide the driving school free of charge. Included in this two-day trip, ST owners will get class instruction and driving instruction in prepped Focus ST and Fiesta ST models on the track and autocross course. Some karting action will also be involved as will a tour of Ken Block's Hoonigan Racing headquarters located nearby. If this doesn't sound like enough fun, there is also an optional day of activities that includes some more track time in a Mustang GT and off-road instruction in an F-150 SVT Raptor.

Ford told us that those who have already purchased a Focus ST or Fiesta ST will still be able to attend the performance driving school, but the press release, which is posted below, makes it sound like it applies to original owners only. Ford has yet to announce its schedule for the ST Octane Academy or prices for additional activities or guests.
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Ford to Offer Complimentary ST Octane Academy Driving Experience for Ford Fiesta ST, Focus ST Owners

Ford to offer Fiesta ST and Focus ST owners exclusive complimentary driving instruction at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah
Classroom, karting and autocross courses will include precision driving instruction
Owners interested should visit www.stoctaneacademy.com for details


Above the sound of screeching tires and racing engines, the school bell is being rung for acolytes of Ford's Fiesta ST and Focus ST high-performance small cars.

At the heart of this complimentary program provided by Ford and Ford Racing instructors at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, initial owners of 2013 and 2014 Focus ST and the 2014 Fiesta ST are being offered the chance to learn firsthand the capabilities of their cars – and themselves. The schedule will be announced later this summer.

"We gave the all-new Fiesta ST the highest possible fun-to-drive factor," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development. "It's fast, it handles brilliantly, but it won't beat you up in daily driving. Add to that its affordability, and we think enthusiasts have reason to rejoice. It's really that good."

Ford's ST Octane Academy provides Focus ST and Fiesta ST owners with a full immersion into the Ford ST experience, with driving instruction and extensive course time with professional instructors. The intent is to demonstrate the performance capabilities of the owners' cars and to improve their driving skills – all while having fun.

The program is inspired by Octane Academy, the competition TV series founded by Ford and featuring motorsports superstars Ken Block, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin Jr. On the show, amateur drivers compete for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jump-start their racing careers. The four professional drivers put the competitors through a variety of driving and action sports challenges to determine the winner of Octane Academy.

Miller Motorsports Park will provide Focus ST and Fiesta ST cars – modified with full safety equipment – for participants' use in all exercises. All participants will need to do is arrange travel to Salt Lake City to take advantage of the experience. An optional day of instruction will include Ford Mustang GT on the track and off-road driving in a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

Following afternoon arrival in Salt Lake City, drivers will visit the headquarters of Hoonigan Racing – Ken Block's race shop in nearby Park City – for a tour of the facilities, a deep dive into ongoing projects, and dinner and a reception.

The next day at Miller Motorsports Park, owners will start with a dynamic classroom session with school instructors, and then spend the rest of the morning learning car control, cornering, braking and vehicle dynamic techniques. Lunch will be provided.

The afternoon session features more on-track driving including lead and follow exercises, instructor ride-alongs and hot laps with professional drivers. It also includes high-spirited precision driving exercises and challenges featuring a custom circuit. The day will end with participating owners receiving a special graduation pack from the team followed by the ST karting challenge.

While owners will be responsible for their travel and hotel costs, Ford will cover costs of the driving school in its entirety. The optional-day Mustang GT and Raptor events would be paid for by the participants. Options for owners to bring guests will also be available. All interested in learning more about this program should visit www.stoctaneacademy.com for complete details.

Ford ST global DNA
All Ford Motor Company performance vehicles are developed using Ford's global performance DNA. This blueprint outlines the characteristics of Ford's ST, RS, SVT and GT models, ensuring Ford customers around the world benefit from a common strategy for performance vehicle tuning and the same optimized driving dynamics – regardless of market.

Ford recently won two awards for vehicle dynamics at the 2013 Vehicle Dynamics International Awards – Dynamics Team of the Year and Dynamicist of the Year. The Ford vehicle dynamics department won for development of Ford vehicles including the new Ford B-MAX, all-new Ford Kuga, Ford Focus ST and all-new Ford Fiesta ST. Ford Team RS vehicle dynamics specialist David Put – star of the Ford Fiesta ST versus legendary Lommel Track 7 video – won for his work on Focus ST and Fiesta ST.

Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with high levels of ride quality that are also fun and rewarding to drive as part of its global DNA. Ford is the first manufacturer to win each award twice since the awards were launched in 2008.

"At Ford, we place driving dynamics at the heart of our vehicle development programs," said Nair. "Awards like these are proof that these efforts have been worthwhile, and Ford really does go further to deliver the very best performance feel for our customers. We are very proud of our products and the team for all they have delivered."

The new Ford Fiesta ST will be available in North America later this summer. Interested buyers can place an order at their local dealer or through Build Your Fiesta ST online. The hot hatch will feature a new high-output variant of the award-winning 1.6-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine, delivering an estimated 197 horsepower and 202 lb.-ft. of torque – making Fiesta ST a true standout among its competition.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 177,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford and its products worldwide please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

About Miller Motorsports Park

Miller Motorsports Park is a state-of-the-art racing facility located just 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City in Tooele, Utah. It is considered the finest and most diverse facility of its type in North America and was named "Motorsports Facility of the Year" by the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany, in 2006. The 511-acre campus includes a 4.5-mile road racing circuit, a 0.9-mile kart racing track, an eight-acre rock-crawling course, a 22-acre high-speed Off Road Short Course and a 1.1-mile, National-level motocross course. An adjacent 900 acres contains a 2.5-mile Off-Road Desert Course. Miller Motorsports Park is home to the Ford Racing School and the Yamaha Champions Riding School, two of America's top high-performance training programs, as well as the Larry H. Miller Total Performance Museum, which houses some of the world's most significant sports and racing cars associated with Ford Motor Company and the legendary Carroll Shelby.