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Old 5th March 2012, 13:09   #1
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Thumbs up Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040111-copy.jpg

Nothing defines motoring Nirvana for an Indian enthusiast as much as the chance to drive on India’s first F1 track - the Buddh International Circuit. As I landed in Delhi to put the Fiesta through its paces, I could only imagine that there could be no better place for it, than this!

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040153.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 6th March 2012 at 09:40.
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Old 5th March 2012, 13:10   #2
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Default Re: Eternal Fiesta at the Buddh circuit : Ford Fiesta HotWheels 2012

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040083.jpg

Coming from the Ford Ikon that I own, and also having put the previous Ford Fiesta (now christened the Fiesta Classic) through its paces, I was looking forward to my drive of the new Ford Fiesta. The very fact that this was at the Buddh circuit, meant this was always going to be a day I would cherish for the rest of my life.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040097.jpg

Team-BHP’s detailed official review of the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Auto can be read at the following link : Link (Ford Fiesta (Automatic) : Test Drive & Review)

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040100.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 6th March 2012 at 09:44.
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Old 5th March 2012, 13:32   #3
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Default Re: Eternal Fiesta at the Buddh circuit : Ford Fiesta HotWheels 2012

Time for a briefing on the safety aspect of the track to prevent any untoward incidents. The Do’s and Don’t’s were explained by none other than Farhan, going by the handle Sideways on Team-BHP.

Farhan, in-charge of safety at the BIC, gives us the safety drill.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040107-copy.jpg

As those familiar with the BIC track would know, the 5.14 kms circuit is characterized by 16 corners with varying levels of difficulty and gradients, along with a long stretch where one can go pedal to the metal.

Ford had earmarked various sections on the track simulating real world driving conditions to test the various features of the DCT box. There were corners where we could experience the handling and dynamics of the car, the straights to test the high speed stability, and a section marked with cones to test the creep function, while meandering through imaginary obstacles we come across on our roads.

There was also a specially designed incline section away from the track to showcase the Hill Assist functions.

Participants were divided into teams; I was a part of the "Yellow Bulls". We were to be given a lap each. To quote the technician from Ford:

Quote:
This is not a test of the ABS! It's to understand the behavior of the dual-clutch autobox
Michael gets ready to flag off the pilot car onto the track.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040115.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 7th March 2012 at 12:52. Reason: DSG = DCT
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Old 5th March 2012, 13:37   #4
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Default Re: Eternal Fiesta at the Buddh circuit : Ford Fiesta HotWheels 2012

As I mulled along till my chance to get behind the wheel of the Fiesta came up, I chatted with Nigel Wark, Executive Director for Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford India.

Nigel poses with the Fiesta DCT

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040108-copy.jpg

So, why does the Fiesta AT not have paddle shifts?

Nigel explained that the paddle shift was considered during the design, but the reasons it did not make it finally were as follows:

Initial novelty factor : After the initial novelty wears off, most users do not use it all that much, and switch to the convenience of the automatic for regular use.

Increased cost addition : Equipping the car with paddle shifts would take the price of the car even higher.

Against the backdrop of the BIC Grandstand

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040099.jpg

Interesting tidbit: In all the presentations which were shown, the illustration for the manual depicted what is unmistakably the Honda City. It didn’t go unnoticed by those in the audience.

Last edited by GTO : 7th March 2012 at 12:52. Reason: DSG = DCT
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Old 5th March 2012, 13:41   #5
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Default Re: Eternal Fiesta at the Buddh circuit : Ford Fiesta HotWheels 2012

The Moment of Truth :

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040146.jpg

Needless to say, this was the moment I had been waiting for.

If the sheer feeling of hearing your name being called out on track wasn’t reason enough, the fact that I am now among the few Indians who have gotten to drive on India’s first F1 circuit is an experience I would never forget. It gave me sleepless nights just thinking of this as a milestone in my life.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040130.jpg

I hop into Car # 3, adjust the seats, wear the helmet, and buckle the seat belt, all this not before I had signed a declaration to adhere to the safety instructions on track.

I pose for the cameras and await my turn – the experience is mind-boggling. I already knew I would be driving in the L mode, as I knew this is what I would enjoy most.

I am flagged off from the pit stands, and I am off.

Pilot car leads the way, followed by the other cars

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040147.jpg

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040148.jpg

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040149.jpg

The DCT box on the Fiesta holds its gear almost to the redline. Corners 1 and 2 are dealt with ease, as we follow the lines indicated by the pilot car.

As I approach Corner 3, I am almost caught unawares, despite the warning which was provided at the briefing, as it is a tight right turn, approaching the corner at an incline. The pilot car picks the outside edge, making its way right inside as he takes the curve, and at this point you can hear the wheels squeal, but the car holds its line firmly.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040153.mov_000073633.jpg

I now reach the straight portion of the track, more than a km long stretch, where the engine is given the stick. In L mode, the Fiesta revvs as the speedo climbs furiously. With other participants in front of me, I had to restrain myself, as overtaking was strictly prohibited. However, I create a gap in front, leaving me with some space to play.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040153.mov_000093866.jpg

I realize that the 1.5 petrol mill on the Fiesta is a notch lower on the 1.6L which comes on the Fiesta Classic. The EPS however, holds the flag high, making a statement for itself when compared to the high standards set by the HPS unit on the predecessor.

At Corner 4, the pilot car demonstrates the inner edge coming out wide from the turn, but not before some protests from the tyres.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040152.jpg

We now head to the stretch where Ford had placed cones to mimic real world obstacles to test the creep functionality of the gearbox. Ford’s main intention was to showcase the real life convenience of the dual-clutch, but for the enthusiast, a slalom test here would have been more welcome.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040153.mov_000248333.jpg

I now had the car in D mode:

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040153.mov_000234000.jpg

Gravel stretches placed at the run-offs ensure you do not go piling on into the side markers. However, it was not without incident, and there were cases where participants had beached the cars in the gravel. The recovery Scorpios had to be pulled into action.

The recovery Scorpio

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040154.jpg

A Fiesta which got beached. Notice the dust on the front wheels

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040163.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 7th March 2012 at 12:52. Reason: DSG = DCT
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Old 5th March 2012, 13:49   #6
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Default Re: Eternal Fiesta at the Buddh circuit : Ford Fiesta HotWheels 2012

As we made our way to the pit lane, we took a diversion to the helipad area where Ford had arranged a ramp section to test the Hill Assist function. Cars took turns on this obstacle, with the pilot car leading the way.

Most participants including myself couldn’t get the car to climb the incline without drama, as the plywood didn’t provide the wheels with traction needed to climb up. Wheelspins were common, and I also managed to bottom out the car as it climbed onto the horizontal section.

I like this shade of blue!

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040127-copy.jpg

The descent section was fine, as I activated the Hill Descent control. The car rolled down with engine braking, and the Hill Descent control deactivated itself on touching the brake.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040128.jpg

As I watched, quite a few people managed to bottom out the car as it climbed the ramp onto the level area.

Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit-p1040124.jpg

This completed, we made our way back to the pit stop where the next set of participants were waiting for the cars.

Owing to a huge number of participants, getting additional laps in the cars was a tad difficult. However, I made the most of the opportunity, and took a ride in the pilot car, which was surprisingly a manual! The Ford guy driving it was going flat out, truly putting the vehicle to the limits, but not before ensuring those following were not upto any dangerous antics on the track.

Regarding the Buddh circuit, what do I say? With the seats in the grandstand covered, it didn’t showcase the same livery of the national flag colors as we had seen in the F1 race, and also Rehaan’s visit for the Merc AMG event Link (I drove a C63 AMG at Buddh!! Mercedes AMG Driving Academy Launched) . However, the realization that India is also a part of the F1 calendar with a world class F1 track to boot, is something we can all be proud of.

Last edited by GTO : 6th March 2012 at 10:08.
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Old 6th March 2012, 10:10   #7
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line! Thanks for sharing, Benny
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Old 6th March 2012, 11:48   #8
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Lovely report benbsb29, I can't imagine how you managed to drive, take photos and evaluate the DSG and have a ton of fun at the same time!!

I stared at the first pic for a good 30secs and kept coming back to it, fantastic!!

I have one question though, from the report it seems that you could take the car out for only one lap, please correct me if I am wrong but if that was the case and since this being your first time on the BIC, was it enough to really understand / experience the cars' dynamics with a DSG on an unknown stretch of road, even with a pilot car showing the way ahead??

You definitely must have wanted to throw the car around more out there!!
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Old 6th March 2012, 12:37   #9
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Benny, CONGRATS ! Driving on the BIC's definitely a dream come true.

Lovely pics, too. But how did you manage to take the pics - did you get additional laps riding in the cars - or were the pics taken when you were in the Pilot car ?
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Old 6th March 2012, 12:51   #10
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Smile Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

@Bensb,

You are one hell of a lucky person, driving in BIC and that too with a Fiesta. Thinking about it is giving me a high. How did you manage to get an entry to this event?

Fantastic report, great pics. I loved every bit of your posts. So how did the Dual clutch feel? How did the car handle at turns? What is the overall verdict in comparison with the old Fiesta (now Classic)?
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Old 6th March 2012, 12:56   #11
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

A very envious congrats on the amazing milestone!

I pass by the sign to the BIC everyday on my way home to Greater Noida and wish that I get an opportunity to actually drive there!

So this was an official invite by Ford?

OT: I still don't like the rear wheel wells of the Fiesta, but the front is quite attractive.

Drive safe!
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Old 6th March 2012, 13:01   #12
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Hi Bensb, I am sure you had an awesome experience on the BIC!

Lovely pics and report.

I did a test drive of the car and the drive was fantastic. Liked the auto box more than my Honda city's auto tranny actually.

only wished it had a little more power!!

Thanks for the pics and report.
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Old 6th March 2012, 13:12   #13
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Lovely report, Benny. I am green with envy

Do pen a few lines on the driveability of the automatic Fiesta, in D mode and L mode.

In the absence of paddle-shifts, what does one do to overtake? Wont moving the lever to L mode be a bit cumbersome, and that too, can one do it without dropping speed?
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Old 6th March 2012, 14:32   #14
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
Lovely report benbsb29, I can't imagine how you managed to drive, take photos and evaluate the DSG and have a ton of fun at the same time!!

I stared at the first pic for a good 30secs and kept coming back to it, fantastic!!

I have one question though, from the report it seems that you could take the car out for only one lap, please correct me if I am wrong but if that was the case and since this being your first time on the BIC, was it enough to really understand / experience the cars' dynamics with a DSG on an unknown stretch of road, even with a pilot car showing the way ahead??

You definitely must have wanted to throw the car around more out there!!
Thanks PGNarain.
I took pics at different times, such as when waiting for turn to drive the car, when i had completed my drive, and the track pics when i was riding shotgun on the pilot car.

I would have definitely wanted to have a couple of more laps, but then at any time there would have been a pilot car leading the pack, plus 4 other cars on the track, not too far behind each other. Kinda limits the scope of exploration.

However, these conditions were a fair opportunity to try out the DSG box, as some of the portions of the track were setup accordingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Benny, CONGRATS ! Driving on the BIC's definitely a dream come true.

Lovely pics, too. But how did you manage to take the pics - did you get additional laps riding in the cars - or were the pics taken when you were in the Pilot car ?
Thanks Parwath. I took the track pics off a video which i had created when riding shotgun in the pilot car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
@Bensb,

You are one hell of a lucky person, driving in BIC and that too with a Fiesta. Thinking about it is giving me a high. How did you manage to get an entry to this event?

Fantastic report, great pics. I loved every bit of your posts. So how did the Dual clutch feel? How did the car handle at turns? What is the overall verdict in comparison with the old Fiesta (now Classic)?
From what i observed, the older 1.6L engine had more punch over the current 1.5L engine. In terms of handling, the new Fiesta is as good as the previous version, if not better. Although an EPS unit for the steering, it wasnt as bad as one would think, considering its compared to the hydraulic unit on the previous version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prateekswarup View Post
A very envious congrats on the amazing milestone!

I pass by the sign to the BIC everyday on my way home to Greater Noida and wish that I get an opportunity to actually drive there!

So this was an official invite by Ford?

OT: I still don't like the rear wheel wells of the Fiesta, but the front is quite attractive.

Drive safe!
This was an official invite from Ford for TBHP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by netarchie View Post
Hi Bensb, I am sure you had an awesome experience on the BIC!

Lovely pics and report.

I did a test drive of the car and the drive was fantastic. Liked the auto box more than my Honda city's auto tranny actually.

only wished it had a little more power!!

Thanks for the pics and report.
Thanks netarchie. Had they plonked the auto on the diesel, they would have had a winner. The DSG box is indeed praiseworthy, and i came back impressed with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Lovely report, Benny. I am green with envy

Do pen a few lines on the driveability of the automatic Fiesta, in D mode and L mode.

In the absence of paddle-shifts, what does one do to overtake? Wont moving the lever to L mode be a bit cumbersome, and that too, can one do it without dropping speed?
The TBHP official review on the auto is quite elaborate on how the vehicle behaves based on the D or L mode selected, which is why i didnt write too much on it.

You can move the lever to the L mode at speeds, so i dont think that should be an issue.
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Old 6th March 2012, 14:53   #15
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Default Re: Driving the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch Automatic on the Buddh International Circuit

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
I took the track pics off a video which i had created when riding shotgun in the pilot car.
Ah ! That explains the DoF, or lack of it, though the colors have come out good.
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