Ken Block Drives A 700-Horsepower Audi Prototype Like It’s Meant To Be Driven
Ken Block recently made the transition, from Ford to Audi. His relationship with the German premium brand took him to Audi Tradition, in Ingolstadt, Germany. The facility, which comprises of some unassuming, at first glance, buildings, houses the most legendary cars from Audi’s rich motorsport history. The cool part is that all of them get driven every now and then and Ken Block had a go in the rarest and ultimate Audi rally car – the Sport Quattro RS 002.
Ken Block and Audi - A Match Made in Heaven?
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?
Can Ken Block’s Hoonicorn Take Down a Ford GT Carbon Series?
When it comes to beefed-up Mustangs, no pony compares to Ken Block’s Hoonicorn. Sure, he uses the heavily modified 1965 Mustang for a lot of drifting, but it’s insanely powerful and, as a result, insanely fast too. How fast? Well, it can put a Ford GT Carbon Edition supercar to shame.
The 862-Horsepower Subaru WRX STI From Gymkhana Was a Masterpiece of Modern Engineering
We can safely say that each and every Gymkhana car used so far in the installment was downright bonkers. No exception. However, as Ken Block traded places with Travis Pastrana for Gymkhana 2020, Subaru responded by dialing up the WRX STI to eleven… thousand.
Gymkhana 2020 Proves Nobody Can Do it Like Ken Block
For 2020, Ken Block is letting Gymkhana in the hands of Travis Pastrana, who took up the challenge in an otherworldly 862-horsepower WRX STI turned up to eleven with active aero and enlarged engine displacement.
Travis Pastrana himself is no stranger to the world of racing of the X-Games, motocross, supercross and rally ilk but Gymkhana is no walk in the park either as you’re about to see from Pastrana’s facial expressions during the run.
2020 Subaru Gymkhana STI
Travis Pastrana will be taking the reins from Ken Block in Gymkhana 11, Subaru sniffed out the opportunity and that’s how the one-off, bare-carbon Gymkhana STI was born.
Subaru and Gymkhana are no strangers to each other, as the first two instalments saw Ken Block smoke the living rubber out of a WRX STI. After a long collabo with Ford, the Gymkhana franchise is back to its roots and we absolutely love what we’re seeing.
BJ Baldwin Proves Trucks Can Fly in Recoil 4
Famed Baja racer BJ Baldwin is back again with is Recoil series, and boy, is it worth the wait! Recoil 4 takes place in Cuba, whose borders were just recently opened to U.S. citizens. It seems Baldwin didn’t care to tread lightly, despite the fledgling relationship between the two governments. Armed with his 850-horsepower Toyota trophy truck, Baldwin tears through the hilly streets of Havana and the vegetation surrounding the historic coastal city.
Think of Recoil as the off-road version of Ken Block’s Gymkhana. Insane stunts followed by high-horsepower rampages down empty streets followed by slow-motion, high-resolution videography showcasing the vehicle’s and driver’s abilities.
Recoil 4 earned some world records in the process. Baldwin’s custom-built truck soared 191 feet through the air, setting the record for the longest residential jump in a trophy truck. Undoubtedly, Cuba has never seen anything like this before.
Those fascinated by slow-motion video of suspension systems in action should find this nine-minute film nearly pornographic. Especially eye-catching is Baldwin’s dance over logs at the 4:45 mark. It’s amazing how that long-arm suspension and those King racing shocks soak up the bumps at blistering speed. It’s also incredible how much capability big tires and huge power give a rear-wheel drive truck. This thing is unstoppable!
Ken Block Prepares for "Climbkhana" at Pikes Peak
Last week, we announced the arrival of the Hoonicorn V2, a flame-throwing, methanol-guzzling, twin-turbo destroyer-of-rubber capable of producing 1,400 horsepower and worldwide face melting. It’s an upgrade over the old naturally aspirated Hoonicorn from Gymkhana Seven, which left us wondering why the hell Mr. Block would need an extra 555 ponies force fed into the already absurdly powerful 6.7-liter Roush Yates V-8. I speculated it had something to do with “spinning all four at 140 mph across some far-flung mountain top.” Turns out I wasn’t far off the mark.
While 140 mph might be pushing it, the rest of my theory is true, as it was recently announced the next installment of the Gymkhana series would take place on America’s Mountain, a.k.a., Pikes Peak, located in Colorado. Suddenly, that new stars-‘n-stripes livery seems more than appropriate.
So does all that turbo power. You see, Pikes Peak is basically at the edge of space, with the tippy top reaching more than 14,000 feet above sea level. At that elevation, the air is thinner than a sheet of paper on a diet, and internal combustion struggles.
I don’t think that’ll be an issue here, though. The Hoonicorn V2 employs two Garrett turbos pumping out a combined 21 psi of boost, which should keep the smoke a’comin all the way to the finish line.
Look for “Climbkhana” to drop next summer. In the meantime, check out the teaser video above.
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Ken Block Turns an Industrial Park into a Playground in Gymkhana NINE
So, Ken Block has just released Gymkhana NINE, the latest installment in a series that has given auto heads a lot of joy over the years. Unlike the seventh and eighth versions of Gymkhana, NINE was filmed in what is essentially a closed-off abandoned industrial estate. It’s not exactly Los Angeles or Dubai, but the more private setting does make a callback to the roots of Gymkhana, right down to the ridiculous stunts and preposterous amount of tire smoke.
I don’t want to be a prisoner-of-the-moment here and call NINE the best Gymkhana episode yet, but there is a visceral joy in watching the CEO of burnouts perform one insane stunt after another, including jumping directly in the face of an incoming train and touching those rear tires on the literal edge of a pier in the middle of performing those patented burnouts.
To be clear, Block wasn’t the only star of Gymkhana NINE. Sharing co-star honors is his all new 600-horsepower Ford Focus RS RX, the same car that he’ll be kicking some dirt in at the World Rallycross Championship. Together, man and machine give us a Gymkhana episode of a lifetime, one that we’re unlikely to forget anytime soon and foolish to even attempt on our own.
Nissan’s April Fools Joke is a Drifting NV3500 Cargo Van
The Nissan NV3500 Cargo Van might not be the first choice when it comes to drifting, but that’s exactly why Nissan chose it to prank pro drifter Chris Forsberg. The action-packed video shows Forsberg preparing to drift a Nissan 370Z, but only to be surprised with a NV Cargo Van.
The NV3500 appears to be stock, save for the large handbrake handle and its nanny systems turned off. The lack of anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control allow the van to behave like a proper rear-wheel drive, V-8–powered vehicle should. Sure, sliding sideways under power might not be the most advisable driving style in the high-centered cargo van, but hey, it’s nice to know the NV can handle the abuse.
For those a little rusty on their work van stats, the Nissan NV is based on the first generation Titan pickup. It shares much of its platform and powertrain with the truck, including its ladder frame and 5.6-liter V-8 engine. The 32-valve, DOHC engine makes 317 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 385 pound-feet of torque at 3,400 rpm. This gives the 6,121-pound van enough power to haul 3,780 pounds of cargo or tow 9,500 pounds worth of trailer. It’s apparently also enough power to melt the tires off while launching the van over ramps and through walls.
Hey, B.A. Baracus of the A-Team might consider replacing his 1983 GMC Vandura cargo van with something more modern. Let’s just hope he keeps the black, grey, and red paint scheme.
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Gymkhana 8 "Ultimate Exotic Playground" Dubai: Video
Ken Block and the Hoonigan team have successfully transformed “gymkhana” from obscure Japanese autocross-style motorsport, to stunt-filled insanity ride for mass indulgence and branding glorification. Not that I mind – I’ll take Block’s version every single time, thank you. The latest evolution is Gymkhana Eight, which sends the oversteer glory to Dubai. Complementing the new locale is a new car from the blue oval – the 650-horsepower Fiesta ST RX43, complete with an ultra-reflective livery on a matte black finish, a roof-mounted stars-n-stripes air scoop, and an enormous gold-plated Hoonigan-branded handbrake.
There’s really not much else to say, and I won’t spoil anything if you haven’t already seen it. All told, it’s nine minutes of sand, speed, super cars, and lots of Toyo tire smoke. Make sure to stick around until the end, which gives a sneak peek at what to expect for Gymkhana Nine (I’ll give you a hint – it comes with the letters R and S and it’s got a button called “Drift Mode,” although on Block’s ride, I’m sure they just taped it down).
2015 is almost upon us, car lovers, and TopSpeed has one last post to close out the year that was 2014! As this little blue green ball we all inhabit completes yet another revolution around that warm spot of fusing hydrogen hanging in the sky, we tend to revert back to the time-honored tradition of summarizing a few of the big events that transpired over the course of the year. It’s a crossroads, a time to bask in the glory of past wins, as well as learn from prior mistakes in a bid to avoid such blunders in the future.
In many ways, 2014 was a time of great change and rebirth, with both exciting successes and catastrophic failures laced throughout. We’ve seen the glorious return of heroes like the Dodge Challenger, plus the emergence of exciting new technology like in the Toyota Mirai. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a glut of niche vehicles stretched thin between a variety of purposes, like the Mercedes GLE Coupe, as well as fatal corporate mistakes in a record-breaking year for automotive recalls.
Usually, we’re a glass-half-full kind of crowd, so we’re tempted to say, overall, this most recent spin around the sun yielded a net gain for the automotive world. Perhaps, but we suppose that’s still open for debate. Regardless, it’s been a mixed bag, no doubt about that. But don’t fret: we’re here to tie it up into one neat package for you.
Click past the jump to read our list of highs and lows from 2014.
‘Tis the season, folks, and while the stress of the holidays can turn just about anyone into a big pile of figgy pudding, it’s the little things that remind us that it’s all going to be just fine. Take this short video from Ford. Playing off the monstrously popular Gymkhana series coming out of Jedi Master Ken Block, also known as Hoon Skywalker, Snowkhana mimics the crazy stunts that attracted millions of YouTube views by miniaturizing them down to stop motion animation with toys. Cheeky, eh?
Featuring the antics of a little white Fiesta rally car driven by none other than “Mental Block," this third installment of the series is an epic tale that leads the viewer through paper and cardboard towns filled with plastic figurines from yesteryear. Keep your eyes peeled for an all-Ford drift-off, a storm trooper rocking a low rider on hydraulics, jingle bell soccer, a self-conscious Santa Claus, and Buzz Lightyear Van Damme. Oh yeah, and plenty of cotton ball smoke from all four corners.
Just like the Gymkhana series, each new installment of Snowkhana gets more and more detailed. The settings, the plot, the emotion - it’s all just a bit more complex. We also like the fact that Ford is paying someone to make these videos. Hey Pixar, eat your heart out!
If you’re feeling a little run down, take a few minutes to relax and hit play.
Check out the latest Gymkhana video after the jump.
If you haven’t already watched Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7 video — stop, watch it here. For those who’ve seen the ridiculous awesomeness that is the all-wheel-drive, 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn, here is another video that dives deep into the inner workings of this tire-shredding beast as Chris Harris takes us on a grand tour of the car.
Christened the Hoonicorn RTR, the tube-frame Mustang is powered by a naturally aspirated, 6.7-liter V-8 from Roush Yates making a ridiculous 845 horsepower. It is mated to a six-speed gearbox that then powers an all-wheel-drive setup. A hydraulically operated handbrake gives Block his drifting abilities while the 295/30R-18 Pirelli Trofeo R tires do the “gripping.” Those are similar to the tires found on the Camaro Z/28, but these are specially formulated for the Hoonicorn. Harder rubber means a touch less grip for all the sideways action, plus they come from Pirelli with Ken Block’s name stamped on them.
The engine is mounted behind the front axle, giving it a front mid-engine design that translates into a wonderfully balanced machine. The suspension is comprised of fully independent control arms at each corner. The tough bits are machined from billet aluminum to give the car added lightness and strength.
Things inside the Hoonicorn are purpose-built. It has a hand-made carbon-fiber dashboard with Hoonigan-branded gauges, a large display screen that shows gear selection, and of course that massive handbrake lever.
All told, Block’s ridiculous Mustang is a work of modern motoring art that showcases just how wild horsepower and AWD can be.
Block is back, baby, and he’s crazier than ever, so prepare your eyeballs and your ear holes for the best energy drink advertisement you’ve ever witnessed. Earlier this month, we got a taste of the madness in store when the Ford rally driver brought his “Hoonicorn” 1965 Mustang all-wheel-drive smoke maker to SEMA. Our minds were instantly scrambled, and now we’re in full-tilt brain soufflé as we watch the beast lay rubber on the streets of Los Angeles in Block’s seventh gymkhana video.
The video is masterfully choreographed and edited, with a real sense of drama beyond what one would normally expect from a set of wild stunts. All the major Southland hotspots receive a cameo, like the LA River, Randy’s Donuts, and the Hollywood sign, plus there are copious rips up and down the spaghetti-like freeway system. When it comes to the right city for a video like this, it doesn’t get much righter than Los Angeles.
Regarding the Hoonicorn: underneath foot-tall velocity stacks, you’ll find an 845-horsepower Roush Yates V-8 that makes all four 10.5-inch-wide Pirelli Trofeo R tires burn via a Sadev 6-speed sequential transmission. There’s also the requisite hydraulic handbrake for instant rear wheel lock-up. The crazy-wide bodywork and aero are carbon fiber, and underneath, the suspension has seen a custom geometry redesign to maximize controllability whist mid-hoon.
Plug in your headphones, and set the video to HD. Please remain seated, as the cabin may experience some turbulence in flight. Oh boy, this gunn’ be good.
We love Ken Block’s Gymkhana series like everybody else, but we have to admit, this new video may have topped them all. Yup. All six of them. This new video, which we assume is being prepared as its own series, is called Boobkhana. The name pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
In it, Block finds himself in Nagoya, Japan to perform a unique take of his famous Gymkhana stunts. But there is something different about this particular tire-screeching, smoke-creating run. Actually, there are two things different about it, or maybe even four depending on what you’re actually counting.
A lot of elements of Gymkhana are there, but as an added treat, Block invited a pair of, shall we say, "well-endowed" Japanese models to join him on his run. The two beautiful ladies are Rui Kiriyama and Yukie Kawamura and yes, they’re the obvious reasons why this video was coined “Boobkhana!”
The video pretty much shows you what it’s all about. Block performs his trademark stunts, spinning and screeching his Ford Fiesta through the course. But you can’t help but be a little distracted by his beautiful passengers and their "assets." Trust us when we tell you: it gets really, really distracting.
In the end, everybody got what they came for. Block stoked his adrenaline juices. Kiriyama and Kawamura were shrieking and screaming as they should. And we got what was offered to us, and then some.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and apparently the driver in these two videos has love for bread and milk on a whole other level. Or perhaps he just needed an excuse to go drifting around town on what is normally a mundane grocery run.
The two videos include some pretty sweet gymkhana-style action around dirt roads, farms, and rock quarries. Not to spoil the fun, but the story line in both videos revolved around our hotshoe friend realizing he’s out of ingredients to make his girl a tasty breakfast. As the girl slowly realizes her Subaru-owning man isn’t in bed with her, she awakens and walks into the kitchen only to find him preparing a meal with the just-snatched ingredients.
Besides implying that owning a Subaru and hooning it like Ken Block will save your romantic relationship, the videos are extremely entertaining to watch. They may not be the most professionally shot videos in the world, but the content sure makes up for quality.
Above is the new2015 Subaru WRX STI hooning about and below the jump is the current Subaru BRZ doing its thing. Both are fun watches, so be sure to check them both out.
Subaru BRZ Gymkhana video after the jump and for info on the cars.