Ken Block is joining the Audi team to work on future EV projects, but what does it mean for his relationship with Ford?by Josh Conturo, on LISTEN 02:53
Remember all those gymkhana videos with millions of views on YouTube? Of course you do. For years, Ken Block has been working with Ford, and the only company before that was Subaru. Now, though, the 53-year old rally driver has moved to Audi - did you see this coming?
The first couple of gymkhana films featured Block driving a Subaru Impreza. Then, for the next several years and gymkhana films, the American rally driver has been almost exclusively driving hopped-up Fords.
From American Ford to German Audi
Now though, there is a new chapter in the book of Block. The man who popularized gymkhana is moving away from the blue oval in favor of the four rings.
Yes, Ken Block is officially working with Audi.
It is important to point out that the 53-year old rally driver will be working with Audi on the future of the company’s electric mobility.
Block has not been sitting back and letting the sponsorship dollars just roll in, though. He is still competing in off-road motorsports. Block placed third in the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally driving an electric prototype and won the inaugural race in the Projekt E series in Höljes in Sweden, also in 2020.
The reasoning behind the move
The reasoning behind this partnership with Audi seems to be more sentimental than anything else. Block said,
"Audi is the brand that ignited my passion for motorsport. I am extremely excited to start this new chapter. Together, we will develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.”
During his visit to Audi, Block got the opportunity to drive several historic cars from the company’s back catalog. Including the Audi Sport quattro S1, the Audi V8 quattro from the DTM, and the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo.
Regardless, if this is just a simple indulgence for Block, it only benefits fans and driving enthusiasts. The more insane car builds that end up doing 360s in a cloud of tire smoke, the better.
What this partnership could lead to
Also, the future of the auto industry does indeed seem to be electric. If this pairing can help make that future more exciting, then more power to him.
Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH, said, "With Ken Block, we’ve got exciting things in store that go perfectly with our strategy.”
Perhaps that means we will see a future gymkhana film featuring an electric RS3, or better yet, an electric conversion Quattro. Or maybe something more like the project between Vaughn Gitten Jr. and Ford that resulted in the 1,400 horsepower Mustang Mach-E that we saw last year.