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Ford Mustang RTR Drifts the Entire Nurburgring

Ford Mustang RTR Drifts the Entire Nurburgring

Vaughn Gittin Jr. is up to his old tricks again

Vaughn Gittin Jr. completed a full lap of the Nurburgring, doing so while drifting theFord Mustang RTR drift the whole way. The stunt was performed without the objective of setting a lap time. The achievement was no less remarkable, though, because Gittin Jr. became the first driver to drift a car in the 12.8-mile course.

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Focus RS Drift Mode Created By Accident And We're All Better For It

Focus RS Drift Mode Created By Accident And We’re All Better For It

Glorious sideways action for the masses reveals dangerous double standard

Accidents aren’t always bad. In 1928, Alexander Fleming accidently discovered penicillin after a petri dish was left exposed near an open window. And while the new Ford Focus RS probably won’t be wiping out any deadly, civilization-threatening bacteria any time soon, it will be fun as hell to play around with, especially with the ass-out AWD antics of Drift Mode activated – a feature that was apparently just an accident.

In a recent report from Australian publication Motoring, Tyrone Johnson, vehicle and engineering manager at Ford Performance, revealed that the crossed-up handling setting was originally discovered during the development of the RS’ AWD system, and was not part of the hot hatch’s original design plan.

Johnson said that it all started with a test session conducted by two engineers, one behind the wheel, the other in the passenger seat tweaking the AWD with a laptop.

“And they are talking and he says ‘oh let me try this out’ and he tries it and he says ‘oh that’s cool can you give me more of that’ and he gives him more and he says ‘that’s really cool’ and then it starts working,” Johnson said. “I guess it’s just because we are a bunch of crazy guys. We just do things.”

After exhibiting the benefits of Drift Mode to global technical and development chief Raj Nair, the feature was officially slated for production.

Ford says Drift Mode is not for use on public roads, but that hasn’t stopped safety groups from voicing their outrage at its inclusion on the new Focus RS. Some have even demanded that it be outlawed.

Unsurprisingly, we here at TopSpeed think the controversy is simply ridiculous. What’s more, it reveals an equally absurd (and potentially dangerous) double standard.

Read on for our defense of Drift Mode.

Continue reading for our take on Drift Mode.

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Video: Ken Block's Gymkhana 6 GoPro Edition

Video: Ken Block’s Gymkhana 6 GoPro Edition

There’s no doubting that Ken Block shots some of the most bad-ass videos we’ve ever seen. But have you ever wanted to get a first-hand look of the amazing Gymkhana course? We bet that the answer to this question is a resounding "yes" and, with this is mind, Block revealed the 6th installment of his world famous Gymkhana series from a slightly different angle.

Sure, this is the same course that we saw in the earlier Gymkhana 6 video, but this one offers up tons more cut shots, thanks to strategically placed GoPro cameras. And these new angles are enough to make this feel like an all new Gymkhana video, as you get a look at just how precise Block is in his Fiesta.

This dude is simply amazing, and we can’t say much more than that. Enjoy the video, folks.

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Video: Gymkhana 6 Has Finally Arrived

Video: Gymkhana 6 Has Finally Arrived

It goes without saying that Ken Block’s Gymkhana series has taken on a life of its own. It’s already on its sixth installment and every year, it seems that the stunts are getting crazier and crazier.

For "Gymkhana 6: The Ultimate Grid Obstacle Course," we’re treated to Ken Block laying waste to one of the most incredible man-made obstacle courses we’ve ever seen. It also features a pretty randy Ford Fiesta ST RX43 racer — a car that we haven’t seen a whole lot of — take on a slew of items, ranging from excavators, customized trailers, cops riding on Segways and even a pair of Lamborghini Aventadors. The latter two, we surmise, were made possible by Block’s recent tie-up with Need for Speed.

We’re not going to spend a whole time gushing about Gymkhana 6. Instead, we’ll leave it up to Block to show you why the Gymkhana series has become one of the most must-watch spectacles in stunt drifting. So crank up those speakers and enjoy...

Click past the jump to watch the first five Gymkhana videos

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Video: Ken Block and GoPro Blast the Trails in Missouri

Video: Ken Block and GoPro Blast the Trails in Missouri

So, Ken Block’s now a globe-trotter. Surprise, surprise.

Of course, he’s not actually doing it in real time, but this partnership between Block and GoPro has yielded some impressive results.

First, they went to the frozen woods of Russia to film a Gymkhana-like video that called for Block to smash GoPro cameras along the way. Now, Block and GoPro are back on U.S. soil, specifically in a technical forested rally course in Potosi, Missouri.

As is always the case with a guy like Ken Block, you better expect and prepare for some nutty things to happen in this video. You have to have a new level of appreciation for Block’s navigator who somehow manages to keep his wits together through all those bumps to give out instructions from that notebook of his.

And in case you missed out on Block’s Russian exploits, click past the jump to check it out.

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Video: The Making Of Gymkhana 5

Video: The Making Of Gymkhana 5

Six months after Ken Block released Gymkhana 5, we now have a pretty good idea on how the hooning series was made. It’s a little odd to release a "making-of" video so long after the actual thing was released, but then again, you won’t find any complaints from us.

Besides, there’s always something to learn about extravagant productions like this. If you recall, Gymkhana 5 was set in San Francisco and featured some of the hottest drifts and hooks done on some of the Bay Area’s most famous landmarks.

That video shows off the creativity, the thought process, and Block’s overall talent that went into creating a production like this. All of this work was in the name of giving drift fans something to look forward to every year.

Check out the "Making of Gymkhana 5" and if you’re in the mood, you can hop on over after the jump to watch Gymkhana 5.

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Video: It's not Gymkhana, but it's Ken Block doing yet another drift session

Video: It’s not Gymkhana, but it’s Ken Block doing yet another drift session

Any time Ken Block is on a video doing some hooning magic, it’s bound to get some serious attention from a lot of folks. The master of Gymkhana has earned that distinction and his latest piece of hoonage is no exception to the attention.

Created by ’The Hoonigans,’ Block finds himself in the final round of the Formula DRIFT 2012 season at the Irwindale Speedway in California. Riding his trusty Ford Fiesta HFHV, Block took to the course and did what he always seems to do better than anybody else: smoke the hell out of those tires.

The stunts aren’t as complicated as any of his Gymkhana videos, but that’s more because of the nature of the track than anything else. Nonetheless, it still makes for an insane drift ride, something Block appeared to have no problem doing as evidenced by the smoke coming out of those tires.

Check out Ken Block and his Fiest HFHV leave a mark on the Irwindale Speedway like only he can.

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Video: Gymkhana parody is all sorts of hilarious

Video: Gymkhana parody is all sorts of hilarious

This probably isn’t what Ken Block had in mind when he released his now world-famous Gymkhana video series.

Brought to us by Leaking Duck Productions - the name says it all - this Gymkhana parody stars Etienne Guerra reprising the role of Block and a Ford Fiesta Ghia playing the part of Block’s trusty Fiesta HMHV.

Suffice to say, hilarity ensues.

To be fair to Guerra, he did pull off some pretty sweet drifts given the steed he was driving. But it certainly wasn’t Ken Block and it didn’t have all the kind of theatrics and insane stunts that is normally reserved for Block and his own series of Gymkhana videos.

Nevertheless, it makes for great entertainment. And as if to close it out with a guest appearance, a Travis Pastrana copycat was also present at the end of the video. We’re not sure who it is, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was Guerra too.

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Video: Gymkhana 5 has arrived! (UPDATE)

Video: Gymkhana 5 has arrived! (UPDATE)

The wait took longer than we had hoped, but you know what they say, "to those who wait, there is prosperity."

So we waited...and finally, our patience has paid off. Ladies and gentlemen, Gymkhana 5 has arrived!

As promised, July 9 was the date of reckoning; the day where Ken Block goes back to his roots, away from the Hollywood look of the fourth installment and back to the raw, uncut, thrill ride of a lifetime.

This time around, the stage was set for the urban jungle that is San Francisco. Just as we expected - and hoped - Block absolutely takes the Bay by storm, complete with sick drifts, plenty of burnt rubber, and mind-bending jumps that completely blew us away. Then there’s a Travis Pastrana cameo in there too. We had hoped that he would do a few stunts of his own, but we certainly aren’t complaining on how the finished product ended up looking.

Gymkhana 5, you made our day and hopefully, the wait for 6 won’t take as long.

UPDATE 07/13/2012: Ford has unveiled a series of exclusive new images of Ken Block’s Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; in San Francisco. The car featured in this series is a Focus ST developed jointly by Ford’s Team RS in Europe and its Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the United States.

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Video: Gymkhana 5 trailer gives us a hint of what's to come

Video: Gymkhana 5 trailer gives us a hint of what’s to come

Ken Block promised a return to roots for Gymkhana 5 and judging by the first trailer of the highly-anticipated video, the man wasn’t lying.

Not that it needs any more teasing, but Ken Block and his peeps still decided to go that route with Gymkhana 5, providing us with a 37-second appetizer of what we’re all in store for.

Block is already on record saying that Gymkhana 5 will leave the theatrics of Gymkhana 4 behind in order to concentrate on bringing it back to the kind of action-packed, tire-screeching, rubber-burning stunts we’ve become accustomed to.

This time, Block brought his trusty Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V. rally racer to the streets of San Francisco, where it laid waste to a whole load of things, including a barge.

Confused? Check out the video and find out!

Don’t forget, the video debuts on July 9, at which point, we’ll be glued to our monitors waiting in earnest for it to drop.

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Gymkhana 5 set to debut on July 9

Gymkhana 5 set to debut on July 9

A lot of people know Ken Block from his rallying forays with the Monster World Rally Team. But for all of his accomplishments in rally racing, a certain segment of his fan base love him more because of another reason.

Gymkhana.

The fifth installment of the Gymkhana series will debut on July 9, 2012, and the good news is that the video is going back to its roots. The latest version - Gymkhana 4 - veered away from the raw, playground feel and steered towards a more Hollywood-centric approach.

For Gymkhana 5, Block is going old-school. “My idea for Gymkhana FIVE was simple,” Block said. “I wanted to build on the ultimate playground concept from Gymkhana THREE, and bring the franchise back to that raw and fast feel that the earlier videos had."

For Gymkhana 5, Block and his crew trooped to San Francisco to shoot the video.

"I’ve always wanted to film a Gymkhana video in a city and there are few places as unique and iconic with such amazing topography as San Francisco," he said.

Check out the teaser video of Gymkhana 5 and be one with the rest of us in waiting with baited breath for the video to arrive. July 9th can’t arrive soon enough.

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Video: Gymkhana 4 revisited with less Hollywood and more driving

Video: Gymkhana 4 revisited with less Hollywood and more driving

In August 2011, Ken Block and his peeps over at DC Shoes unveiled "Gymkhana 4: The Hollywood Megamercial", the fourth installment of the world famous Gymkhana series.

If you recall, that video was full of everything: drifting, screeching rubber, explosives, and some added special effects mixed into the equation. Fast forward to today and the people behind Gymkhana 4 have decided to release a re-edited version of the video with less of the pyrotechnics and more of Block’s real-life driving.

The result, as you can see with the video, is a "purer" version that doesn’t attempt to enhance the spectacle of Block’s insane drifting talents through explosives and digital effects. This video is more about Block and his trusty Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V plowing through the course in true Gymkhana fashion.

Check out the re-edited version above and the original after the jump. Then tell us which version you like more. On our end, we appreciate the substance of Block’s talents without having to deal with the "infused" style of special effects.

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. Dedicates World Drift Series Win to Carroll Shelby

Vaughn Gittin Jr. Dedicates World Drift Series Win to Carroll Shelby

Recently deceased automotive master and all-around great person, Carroll Shelby, has a history that few can compete with. Not only was he one of the best American road racers, but was also a legendary car designer. But his legend is seemingly endless in the automotive field, as even racers in drift series races are influenced by him.

The most recent evidence was when American driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. took home 1st place in round 1 of the World Drift Series in China while driving his Mustang RTR. Though Mr. Shelby never had a hand in drifting, it is obvious that he had a huge influence on Gittin, as he dedicated this victory to the memory of Mr. Carroll Shelby.

After being declared the winner, Gittin was quoted saying “I would like to dedicate this to win to a very special man that we lost recently, someone I had the opportunity to meet just a few times, and someone that was a true inspiration to me personally and to the automotive world as a whole. That man is Carroll Shelby. He is someone that always did what he wanted to do no matter what anyone thought and I know he would be proud to know we are drifting Mustangs in Olympic stadiums here in China and bringing home a huge first place trophy back to the USA!”

Our congratulations have to go out to Gittin for his victory, but the victory pales in comparison to his heartfelt dedication to the man that helped make the Mustang that won the race what it is today. To say that Gittin has our support throughout the rest of the WDS is an understatement.

Somewhere, Mr. Shelby was smiling as this Ford Mustang slid its way around imports and into first place…

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

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Ken Block's Ford Fiesta does Gymkhana Hot Wheels-style

Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta does Gymkhana Hot Wheels-style

We all love Ken Block and his series of high-action Gymkhana videos, but that’s on a real-life scale. On a more micro scale, we can enjoy piloting our very own Ford Fiesta - actually, it’s Block’s Fiesta - to do Gymkhana our way.

The only caveat is we have to do it with a Hot Wheels model. Recently, Hot Wheels released a pint-sized, RC replica of Ken Block’s world-famous Gymkhana Fiesta. Clearly, they think highly enough of their new toy that they even made a video of it running roughshod in Venice Beach, California.

More than just the video, the toy itself is pretty cool and it gives all of us frustrated drifters to live our drifting dreams vicariously through a toy. The only downside to this R/C is the non-existence of smoke that’s being generated by the tires.

In its place? A center-mounted wheel under the car that effectively does the drifting for us. Despite that, though, we’d still buy this toy for all the reasons we just said. And if you need further convincing, look no further than the video and you shall too be tempted to make the purchase.

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Video: Mustang Club of Brazil Shows off their Rides

Video: Mustang Club of Brazil Shows off their Rides

A little while ago, we informed you that the Mustang will likely be heading overseas officially. That’s not to say that the Mustang hasn’t made it anywhere outside of the U.S., as savvy importers have always found ways to get these muscle cars into their countries.

Last year, The Mustang Club of Poland made a sweet video about their collection of `Stangs, proving that these muscle cars do make it to other countries and thrive. Now Brazil has gotten into the video fun by releasing a video of its own, commemorating the 11th anniversary of The Mustang Club of Paranà’s founding. Kind of a strange anniversary to celebrate, but so be it.

The video is pretty awesome, featuring Mustangs from multiple eras. The most shocking of the bunch was to see two, yes TWO, Mustang IIs in the film. It’s funny though, as all of the other `Stangs are burning up pavement, doing donuts, and burning the rear tires to a molten pile of rubber, the Mustang Pintos, err, `Stang IIs sit on the sidelines or drive leisurely down the road. We’ve gotta give them some credit for not being afraid to include the deuces in the film.

In all honesty this video was cool, but the Polish video was far more kick ass. Yeah, the Polish club’s video started off slowly, but severe tire roasting commenced about three minutes in and never stopped. Add in the fact that the Polish video was better edited and had cooler shots, it beats out the Brazilians.

Enough with the comparisons, you can judge for yourself. The Brazilian club’s video is above and you can see the Polish club’s video here.

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2013 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Falken Tire by Vaughn Gittin

2013 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Falken Tire by Vaughn Gittin

It’s not hard to come to grips with the fact that we’re all envious of Vaughn Gittin Jr. Not only is the man considered one of the best race car drivers in the world, but he’s also a master drifter of the highest order.

But if there’s one thing that really makes us jealous of Gittin Jr., it’s that he gets to drive a pretty sick, custom-tuned Ford Mustang during the Formula Drift season.

For 2012, Gittin Jr. will be fielding a sick-as-they-come Mustang that comes with a fully modded 6.7-liter V8 engine that produces a sick 800 horsepower. Built by Ford Racing and Roush Yates, the 410-cubic-inch powertrain gives Gittin Jr. plenty of ammo as he tries to conquer the 2012 Formula Drift season, especially after a disappointing 2011 year that saw the man finish 11th in the standings.

Gittin Jr is looking at the 2012 season as the perfect bounce-back year, where he is expected to challenge for the championship only two years removed from his last title reign.

With an 800-horsepower Ford Mustang RTR by his side, we don’t expect anything less from the man that has made his name in the world of auto drifting.

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