What Do You Know About Ford Tier 4 Test Drivers?

By: Dave Davis
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
2 - car drift When test drivers "drift" a car, what just happened?
They slowed the vehicle using just the transmission.
They put the car into a powered slide.
A "drift" happens when the driver deliberately oversteers the vehicle, losing traction in the rear wheels going through a corner but is still being in control. It's a tricky maneuver but can tell the driver — who can tell the engineer — more about how the vehicle handles.
They tested it on icy roads.
They released the steering wheel to test tire alignment.

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10 - roll cage When it comes to professional driving, what is the function of a roll cage?
To keep the vehicle upright
To maintain radio communications
To set the boundaries of the course
To protect the driver in the event of a rollover
A roll cage is a frame built within a car's frame that is designed to protect the driver and passenger in the event of a rollover or other accident. The vehicles Tier 4 candidates train in roll cages — in the case of the training truck, the cage is outside of the frame, which is known as an "exo cage."

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16 - surfaces Which of these tests are conducted by Tier 4 drivers?
Trailer-towing limit testing
High center-of-gravity tests
Off-road tests
All the above
To test a vehicle and stress it to its limits, the driver has to know their car and their own abilities to get useful, actionable data and information. The vast majority of ordinary drivers will never put their vehicles into the situations that Tier 4 drivers do, but this type of testing ensures that the car will meet the "everyday" needs of customers.

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6 - talking to engineer Other than stressing vehicles to their limits, what is another task assigned to Tier 4 drivers?
Press interviews
Providing feedback to engineers
The drivers' main goal is to gather information about their experience with the vehicle and then give feedback to the engineers responsible for its design. By offering "real-world" information, rather than data collected in simulations, the drivers provide designers with crucial information to improve the vehicle.
Car show appearances
Racing pit crew training

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4 - sunglasses Which of these are NOT necessary to wear when testing a car at the Tier 4 level?
Helmet
Sunglasses
No matter how trained and prepared a driver may be, when testing vehicles at this level, it's wise to be prepared for anything. Test drivers wear helmets and fire-resistant clothing just in case something goes disastrously wrong so they can do it all again the next day.
Gloves
Firesuit

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20 - training car to limits In Tier 4 testing, what is the reasoning behind making drivers push the training car to its limits again and again?
To be able to make "stunt" commercials
To show off what the car is capable of doing
To make them "forget" they are driving
The goal of making drivers training for Tier 4 certification to push the Mustang PF350S to its limit is to train them to know — automatically — what to do in any situation so they can pay attention to how the vehicle they are testing is performing, rather than worrying about their own reactions. By "forgetting" about their own driving, they can provide better feedback about the automobiles they test.
To find the best of the best

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24 - slalom What does it mean to "slalom" a vehicle in a test drive?
To steer from side to side
Driving a vehicle from side to side, often to avoid hitting cones put out for the exercise, is a great way to test a vehicle's stability when it comes to tight maneuvers. The truck used to test Tier 4 candidates is equipped with outriggers to avoid overturning the vehicle.
To test the vehicle's braking distance
To oversteer intentionally
To perform a tire "burnout"

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13 - surfaces At the Ford proving grounds, Tier 4 drivers test their vehicles on which type of surface?
Smooth, flat asphalt
"Wet pad" roads
High-banked curves
All the above
The Dearborn Development Center offers drivers and engineers the opportunity to test their vehicles on roads and in conditions that consumers may find themselves driving (and some, like high-banked curves, that they may not). Real-world situations give designers information that flat, perfectly smooth roads alone will not.

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15 - 150 mph What is the top speed for drivers who are Tier 3 certified to reach during testing?
150 mph
Tier 3 certified drivers have undergone extra training and are cleared to conduct stability control and braking tests, along with other maneuvers. While they are limited to a top speed of 150 mpg, they are professionals who know how to handle the vehicle in a number of situations safely.
75 mph
200 mph
100 mph

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17 - Ford Explorer Sport Trac One of the vehicles in Tier 4 training is nicknamed the "Buggy O' Fun." What type of vehicle is it?
Ford F-250 Super Duty
Ford Econoline van
Ford Transit Connect
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
The "Buggy O' Fun" is a specially modified Explorer Sport Trac that has had a system of adjustable weights, outriggers and a roll cage added to test drivers on their ability to put a top-heavy vehicle on two wheels and get it back under control safely. It was developed to address rollover concerns in SUVs in the late 1990s.

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8 - Mustang FP350S Which of these is one of the vehicles used for Tier 4 certification training and tests?
Chevy Camaro
Ford F-150
Mustang FP350S
The "performance" vehicle used in Tier 4 testing and certification is a Mustang FP350S, a special racing variant of the Shelby GT350R. It was made in 2017, and only 50 units of this model were ever offered for sale. The Mustang used for testing has been further modified.
Ford Focus RS

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29 - manuevers Which of these is a maneuver a Tier 4 driver needs to be an expert at accomplishing?
Drifting
Figure-8 drifting
Initiating near rollovers
All the above
Test driving at this level isn't for the faint of heart, and Tier 4 drivers must be comfortable maneuvering a vehicle in ways that test its design and control features. These skills and more are necessary to give engineers feedback on improving designs.

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9 - tier 2 What does a Tier 2 certification allow you to do on the proving grounds?
Drive up to 200 mph
Perform spin maneuvers
Conduct "every day" road tests
To reach Tier 2, a Tier 1 certified driver undergoes training and testing to ensure they can safely handle the vehicle in situations the average driver could reasonably find themselves in and then provide feedback about their experiences. Ford estimates that about 95% of the consumer's expected experiences with the vehicles fall within Tier 2 testing.
Perform the "Bootlegger 180" challenge

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22 - qualities driver Which of these qualities is more important for a Tier 4 driver to have?
Daring
A love for speed
Consistency
One of the main qualities a test driver must have is the ability not only to perform a maneuver but also to be able to deliver that maneuver again and again with a high level of consistency. This allows the engineers to look at a bigger set of useful data, rather than a "one-off" experience.
Eagle-like eyesight

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23 - lap time Tier 4 Students must compete with their instructors' lap times to complete Tier 4 training. How close must they come to earn their certification?
They must beat their instructor's time.
Within 2.5%
To pass and earn Tier 4 certification, a student must come within 2.5% of their instructor's lap time. To earn the Tier 3 certification, they must be within 4.5%. While it's not a competition, these times set the bar for what is expected from test drivers.
Within 4.5%
Within 10%

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12 - journalist When breaking into professional test driving as a career, which of these careers/activities would be of the most benefit?
Advanced mathematics
BMX riding
Speaking a foreign language
Automotive writing/journalism
The ability to communicate findings to designers is one of the top skills needed in test driving prototype vehicles — it's how the engineers know what is working and what needs more work. Being able to write and communicate clearly about an automobile goes a long way into becoming an effective partner for the designers.

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33 - mechanical engineer One of these degrees would be most valuable to a Tier 4 driver — can you name it?
Mechanical engineering
While it's not a requirement to have a college degree to become a test driver, a solid understanding of mechanical engineering, and especially automotive engineering, goes a long way in effectively communicating findings and experiences to those professionals who are designing the automobile.
Statistical analysis
Aerospace engineering
Physics education

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14 - 2001 Ford When was the four-tier driving certification system put into place at Ford?
1957
2001
To get the best data from its staff of test drivers, Ford put into place the four-tier system in 2001. This allowed the bulk of the data to come from those who were qualified but not trained to elite status while offering those with the talent and skills to push vehicles to their limit to give feedback only they could offer.
1987
2011

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18 - waiting 5 years How long must a driver hold a Tier 3 certification before being considered for the next level?
Five years
Earning Tier 4 certification is the top honor in the Ford test-driving program and only open to those who have shown talent, determination and persistence. Also, before Tier 4 training begins, the student must be nominated by their manager.
One year
Six months
90 days

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3 - Ford proving grounds Where are the Ford proving grounds located?
Albany, New York
Detroit, Michigan
Los Santos, California
Dearborn, Michigan
Ford Motor Company's proving grounds, where Tier 4 drivers are certified, are a part of the Dearborn Development Center, a 365-acre facility with 70 miles of test track made to be able to duplicate any road or weather conditions the company's vehicles might encounter.

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30 - scope of projects Besides the difficulty of moves Tier 4 drivers can perform, what's another significant difference between this level and duties of Tier 3 drivers?
Press appearances
Design consultations
The scope of the projects they are assigned
Tier 4 drivers are usually tapped to test vehicles from multiple programs, while Tier 3 drivers are often assigned to particular projects and stay with those vehicles during development and testing.
Training other drivers

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27 - how many drivers Approximately how many drivers does Ford have in its test driving program?
1,000
5,000
11,000
Ford produces a lot of vehicles on the global stage, and each of them has to be tested on several different levels, from "everyday" usage to stressed operations to ensure that the vehicle is more-than-reasonably safe for consumers. Ford has 11,000 drivers around the world who are key components to achieving this goal.
20,000

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25 - HS degree What type of degree does a candidate for Tier 4 certification need to hold?
Master's degree
Bachelor's degree
Post-graduate degree
High school degree
Becoming a test driver doesn't require a college degree. To be successful, a candidate must be able to communicate clearly above all — their main job is to provide feedback to designers about how the vehicle handles and what their experience was like. An understanding of the mechanics of the machines involved is also fundamental.

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32 - car engineer tier 2 Ford engineers are most likely to hold which certification in the company's test-driving system?
Tier 1
Tier 3
Tier 2
Engineers don't have to have elite training to test out the vehicles they are designing, but they do require some practice to test out their ideas in the real world safely. Those who hold Tier 2 certification can put their projects to the test — up to a degree — and get first-hand knowledge and information about their vehicles.
Tier 4

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35 - car engineer moving True or false: Ford prevents engineers from moving between performance and consumer product lines.
True — the staff are always kept separate.
Mostly true — there are only a few who travel between.
False — the company doesn't actually have separate lines.
False
Ford engineers often work on more than one product line, and that includes "performance" machines. This crossover helps move technology that was once considered "racing" tech into the consumer market. Test drivers are key in providing feedback that helps this transition between product lines, as well.

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28 - instructor directs True or false: The instructor directs the test driver from a control booth.
True
False
The vehicles used in the testing and training of test drivers are equipped with two seats, with the instructor being able to observe the candidate's performance first hand.
It depends on the type of test being administered.
The instructors can decide where they'd rather be during the test.

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34 - 500 HP Which of the following is true about the car used to train Ford test drivers at the Tier 4 level?
It can generate more than 500 horsepower.
The Ford Performance Shelby FP350S is a monster of a vehicle, with a 5.2-liter V8 that can generate more than 500 horsepower. This specially designed version of the Shelby GT350R also has modified suspensions and a six-point roll cage. It takes a special kind of driver to tame this beast.
It's an unmodified 2017 Mustang.
It's got two steering wheels (driver/trainer).
All the above

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21 - wash out rate What is the "wash out" rate for drivers going for Tier 3 status?
About 35%
Before they can even consider Tier 4 training, drivers must achieve Tier 3 status, which isn't an easy level to attain — about 35% of those taking the tests fail the test. Ford wants to make sure only qualified drivers are put behind the wheel when it comes time to stress a vehicle on the track.
About 60%
About 10%
About 90%

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26 - test factors How many factors are being tested during a Tier 4 driving test?
Up to 50
The vehicle used in training and testing Tier 4 candidates is equipped with a data acquisition system that measures up to 50 different elements during the ride, including information about the student's braking, steering and other handling metrics.
Up to 100
Up to 25
Up to 75

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31 - Electronic Driver Certification Tracking System The name of Ford's driver certification program is ... ?
Ford Future Driver Program
Driver Certification and Training System
Vehicle Skills and Handling Training Internship
Electronic Driver Certification Tracking System
The Electronic Driver Certification Tracking System (EDCERTS) is the training and testing system set up by Ford that awards Tier 1 through Tier 4 status to its drivers.

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5 - drive on the proving grounds In Ford's Tier system, what does Tier 1 certification allow drivers to do?
Attempt roll-over correction
Driver faster than 100 mph
Drive a vehicle on the proving grounds
You've got to start somewhere, and anyone who wants to be a Ford test driver starts at Tier 1. The main qualification for this level is a valid driver's license. This is your ticket to the track — where you go from here is up to your determination, skills and willingness to learn.
Give feedback to engineers

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1 - Ford's test driving program About how many in Ford's test-driving program qualify for Tier 4 status?
10
20
Tier 4 status is the elite level of Ford's test-driving program and is only open to the best of the best. These drivers put vehicles through maneuvers that ordinary drivers will never face to test the limits of the vehicle. Only .18% of drivers in the program reach this highest level.
50
500

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7 - Tier 1 is not a test driver True or false: Tier 1 drivers are considered test drivers.
True
It depends on a number of factors.
They are classified as "testing drivers."
False
To be considered a "test driver," you must achieve at least a Tier 2 level of certification. Those with only Tier 1 certification are not considered part of the group of 11,000 men and women in the Ford test-driving program.

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11 - how many certified drivers How many Tier 3 certified drivers are in the Ford program?
47
315
While it's a notch below the elite Tier 4, Tier 3 drivers are still some of the best in the world, with only 315 drivers out of the 11,000 — or 2.8% — qualifying for this level. This is also the pool that Tier 4 drivers are selected from.
512
2,518

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19 - 80 hours training How many hours of training does it take to reach Tier 4 certification?
80
Drivers wanting Tier 4 certification must successfully complete 80 hours of training and testing before achieving this status. This training is done over the course of several weeks and pushes the driver to their limits as they push their vehicles to the limit.
20
160
370

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