We’re surely not the only ones who have spotted the mad little Fiesta STs knocking out 300+hp with relative ease of late? Such fireworks in such a tiny car makes for some very exciting road manners indeed, but at AET Motorsport they recently decided to take things one step further and put many valuable years of accrued tuning knowledge into practice as part of the UK Time Attack Championship. For those who don’t know, Time Attack is the perfect showcase for tuners to show off knowledge, skills and products at the very limit of what’s possible thanks to some, erm… relaxed regulations about what’s viable. That’s not a slight on the championship or rules by any means, rather a complement that leads to some of the most extreme tuning, massive horsepower, cutting-edge suspension tech and even active aero additions to extract the very best from any tuned car that takes part. Granted, many of the cars that duel it out aren’t actually road legal, but most of the practices and parts associated with them are just as likely to trickle down to road cars through the march of progress. Winning the championship is also rather good to cast aside any social media scepticism that may exist, not to mention boost pub bragging rights immensely, hey chaps?
That’s why AET decided to enter a brace of Fiesta STs into the championship for the 2019 season. Not only a brilliant way to plug their services and expertise tuning a variety of fast Fords, BMWs and many other marques, but also a brilliant way to raise the profile of the little Fiesta as a simply superb tuning platform with the 1.6-litre ECOBoost engine onboard. Producing 180bhp from the factory the Mk7 ST pocket rocket is already almighty good fun to pilot, but with the obligatory ITG Maxogen intake in place, an ECU remap, a decent intercooler and a mildly uprated exhaust system, which settles in around stage 2 on the current tuning hierarchy, there’s a dependable 240hp on offer with around 280ft/lbs of torque. That might not sound like giant-killing performance in today’s 300+hp uber hatch arms race, but just remember how tiny these things are. Best of all that figure is achievable for around £1500 in most cases
Stretch to the next step, referred to as the VT330R stage 3, as AET has done with both of the cars they campaign in the Time Attack Championship, and you’ll find a hybrid turbo added to the equation that really escalates the claimed horsepower figure. How does 330hp and 300ft/lbs sound in something supermini sized? Now, we know what you’re thinking, that will be insanely undriveable through the front wheels, right? Wrong. By mapping boost against gears and limiting torque output until really pressing on past 4000rpm in first and second AET has made a car that’s incredibly usable and reliable even as a daily driver. Sure, if you’re a bit of a hooligan and you go everywhere at warp factor 10 – which will soon result in a hefty fine and a prison sentence in something this potent – then yes, you could easily unsettle the front wheels out of tight bends and roundabouts. Feed the throttle in progressively though and it’s just immensely fast, civilised and deceptively rapid.
Little wonder then, with a couple of AET team members in the hot seat(s) including Sales Director, Nick Cook, and sponsored driver, Ben Copson, the team managed to scoop outright victory in the pocket rocket class over some seriously competitive machinery during the first ever season of competition.
Nick went on to say in a press release, “Time Attack has been a tremendous achievement for the whole team at AET Motorsport and the championship organisers have made an outstanding platform to showcase our skill set. The support for the team over the championship period shows our audience shares a keen interest in what we have achieved. Finally, I would like to thank our loyal customers, suppliers and sponsors -this would not be possible without them.”
The full tech spec for the feisty little Fiestas includes the all-important ITG crossover pipe and the full cold air intake kit, as well as the VT330R hybrid turbo, Airtec Stage 3 intercooler, KAAZ LSD, Powerflex bushes, Turbosmart recirc valve, VUDU downpipe, Peron VT330R software and also an enlarged Airtec boost pipe kit to account for the reworked turbo.
To find out more about the ITG Air Filters range of Induction kits for all fast Fords head on over to: www.itgairfilters.com
Pics courtesy of: EMP – Eat My Pixels and AET Motorsport