If you haven’t been following the world of rally racing for the past decade, you’re probably surprised that there seems to be a disproportionate level of buzz surrounding Hyundai’s return to the World Rally Championship?
Wait, did they ever leave? That’s one of the questions we’ve received from some folks and the answer, of course, is yes. Back in 2003, in fact.
That’s why when Hyundai opens their exhibit at the 2012 Paris Motor Show with the i20 World Rally Championship Rally Car, nobody should be surprised because it’s a really big deal.
As far as details are concerned, the Korean automaker is keeping that close to their chest, particularly because there could be more than just WRC-prepped model in attendance at Paris. What we’ve been informed, though, is that the car is expected to carry a turbocharged engine that hits all the right notes at 200 horsepower.
Keep it close here because Hyundai’s apparent interest in returning to the World Rally Championship could all be confirmed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. After all, they wouldn’t go through all the trouble of building this rally prototype of the i20 if they weren’t that serious.
Ken Block has accomplished many things in his career, including being a professional rally driver with the Monster World Rally Team, one of the co-founders and recently appointed Chief Brand Officer of DC Shoes, and a major competitor in skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross races. All of those accomplishments aside, the one thing Block is mainly known for is being the man behind Gymkhana.
For those living under a rock, Gymkhana is an automotive sport that requires drivers to skillfully maneuver using their car around obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking, and drifting. The definition on its own sounds cool as hell, but seeing it in action is way better, which is why Gymkhana has become such a viral phenomenon in recent years. As of 06/01/2012, the Gymkhana franchise has raked in 135 million views on YouTube, surpassing even the most watched TV broadcast ever - 2012 SuperBowl - which received 111 million views this year. Gymkhana even took the title of the most shared viral ad of 2011 with over two million shares of Gymkhana 4.
This infographic breaks down Gymkhana to explain why it has become such a phenomenon, including a few details about Ken Block, details behind the Gymkhana car, and an explanation of the Gymkhana livery. Take a look and learn how it took only seven seconds to burnout the tires during the final spin of Gymkhana 4. This will definitely not be a time-waster.
Hit the jump to check out the full Gymkhana infographic and stay tuned for the next installment in our Car Infographics series. Full story
About 10 years ago, Hyundai Accent owners ever walked with their chests puffed out a little bit, as their daily driver econo-hatch was actually being raced in the World Rally Championship. Despite the impressiveness that Hyundai actually got this car into the WRC, it was a widely unsuccessful attempt because it never got a podium appearance and Hyundai cut funding in 2003.
It looks like Hyundai is ready to jump back into the WRC circuit, only this time with a more highly modified vehicle. It will also not be an Accent, but rather a heavily modified i20. However, don’t expect this Hyundai rally ride to look as much as the i20 in your garage as the Accent rally car did, as this model will sit on a chassis that is significantly wider and lower than the factory model.
In addition to the modified chassis, this i20 will ditch the 1.2- and 1.4-liter gasoline engines that it comes standard with and instead have the turbocharged 1.6-liter from the Veloster. There is no way that Hyundai would enter the WRC with a stock 201-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, so we assume that Hyundai will pump this engine to over 300 ponies to keep it competitive.
We definitely expect a much better performance by Hyundai this time around because the company has really come into its own when it comes to technology. Hyundai has also become one of those brands that folks can rally around, as it has really come from often being the butt of automotive jokes to a well-respected company that actually gives the big boys – Honda, Toyota and Nissan – a run for their money. So, don’t be surprised if to see the fancily written “H” on the podium at some point in the 2013 WRC series WRC.
The Lancia Stratos was once one of the most dominant forces in the World Rally Championship, as it took home the championship in three consecutive seasons – 1974, 1975 and 1976. After the 1976 campaign, however, the Stratos was pulled out of the WRC.
In 1979, the Stratos wound up with a private racing firm and dominated the 1979 Monte Carlo Rally. The legend of the Lancia Stratos continues amongst rally enthusiasts. The Stratos was not only a rally machine, as Lancia did manufacture a small number of street versions of its rally champ. Unfortunately, with its popularity in the Rally realm, many of the street-version, known as the “Straddles,” Stratos have been converted into rally cars or modified into replicas of the WRC Champion car.
Thanks to the folks at RM Auctions you may be able to own one of the few near-mint condition 1976 Lancia Stratos ’Straddles’ left in the world. This beautifully restored classic is set to go to auction on May 11th or 12th in Monaco.
You may be wondering how well restored is this classic car or maybe if it is worth its asking price? Maybe you haven’t even heard of this car and would like to know more about it before considering shoving off to Monaco.
Click past the jump to read our full review to get a better feel for this car.
In the shadows of all the auto shows going on around the world, Ford took to the Autosport International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, England to unveil the 2012 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car dressed in its new livery.
Heading into its sophomore season in the WRC, the Fiesta is looking to build on the surprising success it had last year when it won the season-opening and season-ending races as the successor to the Ford Focus WRC.
Just like last year, the Fiesta RS Rally Car comes with a 1.6-liter Ford Ecoboost turbo engine and has been designed with the Blue Oval’s acclaimed ’kinetic design’ styling language. The car was prepared for rally-spec use by Ford’s long-time partner M-Sport and as has been the case for years now, Castrol remains the team’s primary sponsor.
The Fiesta RS’ surprising showing at the 2011 WRC season has given the team high hopes for a better showing this year. If for nothing else, the team should give perennial title-holder, Citroen, a serious run for its money.
Over the years, Ken Block has treated us to a wide variety of high-octane racing action, having competed in plenty of racing disciplines that has earned him the title as one of the most versatile racers in the world today.
Having had experience with the WRC, Rallycross, and Gymkhana, Block has likewise driven plenty of race cars, each unique to its own depending on the where he is racing at a particular time.
But all that’s about to change with the introduction of the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC HFHV. If you don’t know, ’HFHV’ stands for ’Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle’, which pretty much explains what the car is all about. It’s a modified Ford Fiesta that has been tweaked and reconfigured in such a way that it fits right in on all three racing items Block competes in.
At the heart of this versatile machine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine that produces 600 horsepower and 665 lb/ft of torque mated to a six-speed sequential manual gearbox. Anytime Block and his team need to change the specs of the car, they only need to add and subtract a few elements of the car.
Read more about this versatile vehicle after the jump. Full story
At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Ken Block was presented with two racing cars: the Gymkhana Three Ford Fiesta and the current Ford Fiesta RS WRC car. Defending the "hooning title" he won in 2010, Block spent the entire weekend sideways or in circles on Goodwood’s hillclimb and rally stages. This video was then released so we could all partake in the mad skills Block illustrated.
The Gymkhana Three Fiesta is powered by a boosted 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive 850 HP (de-tuned to a total of 650 HP in the name of tractability) and 660 pound-feet of torque. With this amount of power under the hood, the Fiesta will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 2 seconds, providing the very reason why Block felt it necessary to have at it during the festival. Enjoy!
A year into driving the Ford Fiesta RS WRC after years spent sitting behind the wheel of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Ken Block is gearing up for the 2011 rally season by unveiling the 2011 Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC armed with a year’s worth of rally experience and, in the case of his refreshed ride, a host of freshly updated livery.
This year, the American rally driver will be competing in a number of rounds of the World Rally Championship as he continues his WRC development while getting his feet wet on racing on a car with a completely different chassis from what he’s used to.
Apart from the WRC rounds Ken Block is scheduled to partake in, he and his new Monster Fiesta RS WRC will also be participating in a number of competitions, including the Summer X Games, the Gymhana GRID, as well as other RallyCar and RallyCross events in the US.
For a lot of us that have gotten used to Ken Block and his rally car wizardry, 2011 promises to be an exciting year for both the esteemed American driver and his legion of fans all over the world.
It also certainly doesn’t hurt to know that he’s going to be sitting behind the wheel of a pretty damn good rally car for the 2011 rally season.
Details after the jump Full story
Back at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, Ford pulled off the sheets on the new Fiesta RS WRC rally carr, which will be competing in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.
Now that the season opening race is only days away - Rally Sweden on February 10-13 - Ford officially unveiled the car decked in all its racing livery.
Set to be driven by the Abu Dhabi World Rally Team and its driver line-up of Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, and Khalid Al Qassimi, the new Fiesta RS WRC rally car was built by M-Sport and loosely based on the S2000 car that recently took the top step of the podium at the Monte Carlo Rally in 2010.
With a recent triumph under its belt, M-Sport is looking into kicking off the new year on a high note with a lighter yet stronger Fiesta RS WRC that is capable of competing with the big boys of the WRC.
Whether that goal becomes a reality remains to be seen. What we do know is that with the season opening race a few days away, we won’t have to wait too long to find the answer.
Details after the jump
Now that Kimi Raikkonen’s rumored return to Formula One in 2011 has gone up in smoke, rally fans of the Iceman can now breathe easy. It looks like your hero is going to stay in the WRC after all.
But as one of the most recognizable faces in the sport, Raikkonen will always be the subject of constant speculation and while the rumor of him returning to the glitzy world of Formula One has been shelved, another rumor is beginning to take shape; only this time, it involves who Raikkonen’s teammate is going to be in 2011.
There has been whispers that the Finnish racer’s name is being mentioned as a potential driver for the Monster Ford World Rally Team where he is going to have no less than Mr. Gymkhana himself, Ken Block, as his teammate.
Take this for what it’s worth because this rumor is trickier to navigate than a field full of land mines. For starters, there’s no telling how much Raikkonen is going to command in the market and given certain financial constraints, accommodating both him and Block on the same team is going to require a lot of ringing cash registers.
Then there’s the issue of endorsements. As we all know, Raikkonen is one of Red Bull’s top endorsers for the brand whereas Block holds the same clout with Monster. Last we checked, those two companies are direct competitors with each other.
So while the Raikkonen-Block tag team looks to be formidable both on the dirt track and up in the WRC suites, there’s a whole lot to be sorted out before it becomes a reality and at this point, we’re not holding our breaths.