- Ford has announced that the 2024 Mustang will get an optional drift brake—basically a hydraulic hand brake for the rear wheels.
- To get one, Mustang buyers will need to choose the Performance Pack with its included Performance Electronic Parking Brake.
- We know that Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr., was involved in this feature’s development; we don’t know yet how much extra it will cost.
As the seventh-generation Ford Mustang inches closer and closer to production, the trickle of information out of Ford has resumed. The Dearborn-based brand has just unveiled a braking feature that will help young would-be drifters hone their skills—in a closed course, of course. Ford calls it a drift brake, but it’s essentially a hydraulic hand brake for the rear wheels. (We know there is a joke about a Mustang losing control in a crowd-pleasing drift; stand by.)
The drift brake comes on Mustangs equipped with the Performance Pack that also includes the Performance Electronic Parking Brake (PEPB, henceforth). The PEPB looks like a normal hand lever for the parking brake, but it is actually an electronic switch. There is no cable connected to the rear brakes like you’d see in most late-model cars. Instead, its normal action activates an electronic parking brake. But when you activate the drift brake, it takes on another role.
When turned on, the drift brake overrides the stability-controlled controller—the device that controls all the brakes when ABS or stability control is activated—to lock the rear brakes with hydraulic line pressure. Pro drift cars have a similar system, but theirs is a mechanical lever.
Why not use the hand brake like you’ve been doing since the 1980s in a Fox-body? Well, you can, but old cable-actuated parking brakes use either shoes in the hat of a disc brake, a totally separate and tiny caliper, or they use a mechanical system on top of the hydraulic rear sliding calipers. None of those are intended to be pulled multiple times at speed.
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Ford released this video of pro drifters Vaughn Gittin, Jr., and Chelsea DeNofa discussing the ins and outs of tuning the drift brake. At one point you can hear “100 bar” mentioned. This is a direct reference to hydraulic line pressure, but we’re guessing that’s far from the maximum available to the drift brake because this isn’t the first time Ford has used the magic of computers to emulate a hydraulic hand brake. Ford Performance formerly sold the Drift Stick for the Focus RS (RIP). Its similar function used a separate lever that bolted into the cabin. The Drift Stick, which is no longer available from Ford, delivered about 180 bar to the rear brake calipers of the Focus.
Kudos to Ford for developing a fun feature targeted at the enthusiast market. We guarantee some will get it super wrong at first, so if you get a 2024 Mustang, just make sure you practice when no one is around before you try to show off for a crowd. There it is.
K.C. Colwell is Car and Driver’s executive editor, who covers new cars and technology with a keen eye for automotive nonsense and with what he considers to be great car sense, which is a humblebrag. On his first day at C/D in 2004, he was given the keys to a Porsche 911 by someone who didn’t even know if he had a driver’s license. He also is one of the drivers who set fast laps at C/D‘s annual Lightning Lap track test.