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.
Ken Block Teases Arrival Of Gymkhana NINE: Video
Ken Block is back, ladies and gentlemen. Okay, he never really left, but his famous video series “Gymkhana” is set to make its dramatic return on September 13, 2016. The confirmation came from Block’s very own Instagram account where posted a short teaser on what everyone can expect from Gymkhana NINE.
The video doesn’t show any particular scene-stealing details, but we do know that there will be a couple of changes to the new film, including the new Ford Focus RS RX that’s making its own debut in the Gymkhana series. Like its predecessors, the Focus RS RX is a rally-spec racer that Block will be using in the World Rallycross. For now though, it’s conquering the a rail yard in New York with some of the sickest drifting runs and stunts in the long history of the Gymkhana series.
Expect Gymkhana NINE to build off of the insanity of its predecessors and for Block to once again showcase his otherworldly racing and drifting skills. Mark the dates, everyone. Next Tuesday, September 13. Gymkhana NINE officially goes live!
But for now, treat yourselves to this teaser video from the man himself. Watching it should get your juices your pumping.
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).
Ken Block, who is considered the father of Gymkhana, is usually money when you put him behind the wheel of a drift car. He’s the closest you can get to a sure thing when it comes to these types of things, so to see him crash a car — let alone the 1965 Ford Mustang Gymkhana 7 that he himself had a hand in building — is a little nerve wracking to the senses. But that’s exactly what happened at the recent Gymkhana Grid series that took place at the Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, UK.
The video starts off in typical Ken Block fashion as he performs a series of donuts to the delight of the crowd. That goes on for a few seconds before the scene shifts to what looks like a friendly race around the track between Block and another competitor. That’s when things take a turn for the worse as Block misjudges the first corner, sending the car known as the Hoonicorn straight into the temporary barriers.
The reaction of the crowd pretty much tells you how surprising it is to see Block lose control of the Hoonicorn, resulting in this rather embarrassing episode. Fortunately, neither Block nor the Hoonicorn sustained significant damage from the miscue. The car received a few nicks in the fenders, but for the most part, the Hoonicorn will live to see another day. That’s great news for fans of Block and the 845-horsepower, all-wheel-drive drift monster. Hopefully, nothing of this sort happens to the Hoonicorn from this point forward. It would be a shame if this fully customized drifting destroyer ends up in the barricades again.
Continue reading for the full story.
Although Ken Block has made a name for himself honing Ford Focuses and Fiestas, he’s a big fan of classic cars. As you may recall, in 2014 he unveiled the Hoonicorn — a heavily modified 1965 Mustang with one of the meanest body kits out there, and a V-8 that cranks out 845 horsepower. Now, the former WRC driver introduced his second gymkhana car based on a classic, this time around in the form of a Ford Escort Mk2.
The car you’re about to see in the cool video above is actually Block’s first rally car, which he purchased in 2008. Seven years later he decided to transform it into a gymkhana car and commissioned Japanese widebody designer firm Rocket Bunny for the conversion.
The end result is wild to look at. The Escort features flared fenders and wide Fifteen52 wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires, as well as a menacing black livery with a "Stars and Stripes" hood. Block’s two-door racer is actually very similar to the wide-body, second-gen Escorts that raced in the European Touring Car Championship and won four DRM titles in the 1970s, which makes it that much more impressive.
Naturally, the classic body hides modern-day underpinnings, including a rally-spec 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 333 horsepower and has a 9,000-rpm redline. What makes it even more special is that it’s Block’s first-ever rear-wheel-drive gymkhana car. Hit "play" to see it in action.
Gymkhana master and all-around awesome guy Ken Block wants you to know that what he does in his videos isn’t technically drifting. Drifting is for real-wheel-drive cars, while the tire-torching slides he executes in his all-wheel-drive, 845-horsepower Hoonicorn Mustang are more closely related to what you might see in the World Rally Championship, which by the way, Block has competed in. We won’t split hairs, because whatever it’s called, we’re not getting tired of it.
Luckily for us, there’s a new video showing Block doing what he does best.
Block recently brought his Mustang over to England to scare the bejesus out of the guys from Autocar at the Silverstone circuit, but before doing so, he talks a little bit about his craft and the Hoonicorn Mustang. Block says he was first inspired to go rallying in the 1980s as all-wheel drive started becoming popular, and later during the WRC heyday of the late 90s and early 2000s when guys like Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen were in their prime.
Interestingly, he explains that a lot of the reason he does the gymkhana stuff these days (he’s also currently competing in the 2015 Global Rallycross season) is that drivers can’t slide modern rally cars like they used to. Modern electronic differentials now keep the cars moving in a straight line, and sliding usually results in a loss of time.
But, we know what you really came to see, so click through see Ken Block lighting up the Hoonicorn Mustang around Silverstone.
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
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.
Ken Block has been making the rounds in Europe lately. After a stop in Hungary, which resulted in some serious fun with the Ford Sierra, Block and the boys over at GoPro decided to have some fun in the frozen woods of Mother Russia.
The promo video actually had an objective: have Block "kill" as many of these cameras as he could. He’s not riding a an old Sierra; this time, it’s his trusty rally Ford Focus he goes to battle with against the prying lenses of GoPro HD Hero 2 cameras.
It’s a rollicking, fun video that we’ve come accustomed to from a dude like Ken Block. Having an "objective" like smashing cameras along the way only makes it that much more entertaining.
If you’re looking for an unexpected ending, stick to the end of the video and you’ll see why some local Russians apparently aren’t too fond of Block.
If you need any reminder just how awesome Ken Block is, click past the jump to see the complete set of videos of the web series that made him a household name: Gymkhana.
Ken Block is one of the most famous racing personalities in the world and anytime fans have a chance to ride shotgun with Block in the driver’s seat, it’s a treat not a lot of people will say “no” to.
Recently, Block took his hooning skills to Budapest to treat some fans to a ride of a lifetime; that is if you consider driving the Ford Fiesta ST around an ice rink as a “ride of a lifetime.”
Considering the difficulty of driving around an ice rinkion a Fiesta ST, it’s safe to say that Block wouldn’t be able to execute the kind of Gymkhana-like stunts that he’s come to be known for. Nevertheless, having this man behind the wheel of a car with nothing but pure, unadulterated fun fueling him is still the stuff of awesomeness.
Check out the video above and be sure to click past the jump to know more about the Ford Fiesta ST.
When you’re a master drifter like Ken Block, you usually don’t make a whole lot of mistakes when you’re in a drift session. But every so often, the cat jumps out of the bag and you’re left with, at least in this case, smashed rear wheels.
For other drifters, that’s a cause for concern. For Ken Block, well, he "just ain’t care.”
Probably more telling is the way Block handled the crash to his beloved Ford Fiesta. There were no fumes of frustration or resigned exasperation; just a smile on the face knowing that things like this can and still happen, even to the best of ’em.
And to his credit, Block even made a pretty cool video out of his crash. Now that’s somebody who knows how to laugh at his boo-boos and still make a pretty cool video out of it.
Check out the video of Block’s mishap and the entertaining aftermath that followed.
Over the years that Ken Block has wowed us with his distinctly styled Ford Fiesta HFHV, we’ve begun to associate the man with the car’s appealing white-black-and-green color scheme.
Well, with a new year apparently comes a new color scheme. And a new headquarters to boot.
Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division has decided to move into a new headquarters and to celebrate that decision, the team has also changed their colors. While there was a clear distinction of how the old colors worked - white base, black paint splatter and plenty of lime green touches - this new color setup is a little more, shall we say, colorful.
The inspiration comes from Block’s fascination with the "80s and early 90s skateboarding graphics, as well as Miami Vice-era offshore powerboats and a dash of hair metal and old school hip hop mixed in for good measure."
That long description apparently translates to a matte-black base with touches of blue, red, green and orange, and a slice of Americana in the form of the U.S. flag on the roof scoop. As always, sponsorship logos are prevalent on the car, accounting for the rainbow-like hues on the Fiesta HFHV.
Moving onto the new “eco-friendly” HRD HQ, which looks “conducive to the kind of work they do.” The industrial look has been divided into two separate areas, including a workshop and a creative office space with plenty of touches of fun sprinkled in. Suffice to say, “boring” is the last word you’d think of in describing this office.
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.
In case you had any doubts about the global reach of the Gymkhana phenomenon, look no further than the United Kingdom to understand that its popularity is far-reaching.
The event was the finals of Gymkhana GRiD and it served up the kind of racing and drifting action that had everybody in the UK scratching the Gymkhana bug. Ken Block and Vaughn Gittin Jr. were the headline names at the event, yet they weren’t the only big names in attendance.
Some of the world’s finest drifters were also on hand for the event, including Liam Doran, Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith, Buttsy Butler and Terry Grant. Somehow, through all that burning rubber and smoking tires, there was also plenty to take away from the festivities, which culminated with the crowning of the winners of the Gymkhana GRiD series.
Check out the video for a brief recap of the event and, as always, enjoy all the smoking and screeching by turning up the volume of those speakers.
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.
Ken Block isn’t taking too kindly to Mad Media’s registration and use of the domain name Gymkhana.com and is taking to court to sue his former co-producers.
Last Friday, Block and his company Gravel Farms Racing, LLC., filed a lawsuit against Mad Media over the legalities of the latter’s use of the website Gymkhana.com. In the lawsuit, Block and GFR are arguing that Mad Media breached its contractual obligations to them by registering and using the domain name "Gymkhana.com."
“By registering and using the domain GYMKHANA.COM, Mad Media breached its contractual obligations to Plaintiffs to refrain from using the knowledge it gained from its contractual relationship with Plaintiffs to misappropriate, interfere with, or profit from opportunities and property in the GYMKHANA brand,” the lawsuit said.
Jalopnik reached out to Mad Media to take their side on the matter and Joshua Martelli of Mad Media defended the company’s decision to register the site. “The automotive sport of Gymkhana has been around since the early 1900’s," he said. "No one has the right to prevent the public from using the word gymkhana to report on, discuss, or promote the sport - especially on a website.”
So according to Mad Media, gymkhana is a sport that’s been around longer than any of us reading this have been alive and Block has no ownership rights to the word. On the contrary, Block owns the trademark for Gymkhana and fired back at Mad Media, claiming that the company did not own the URL "Gymkhana.com" and that Mad Media purchased the URL while they were working for GFR.
"This is the part we find extremely unethical," Block said. "When you hire any company to work for you, it is expected that they will not try to steal from you and build something from your creative project."
Expect more twists and turns akin to Block’s actual Gymkhana videos from what’s looking like a long legal bout between these two companies.
In case you’ve forgotten the three Gymkhana videos these two companies collaborated on, you can watch all thee - or four - videos after the jump!
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.
Gymkhana 5 will arrive on the 9th of July, which means that we’re going to be treated to three more days of teaser videos.
However, with the way these teasers are being made, we certainly aren’t complaining. Following in the wake of the first and second teasers, teaser 3 gives us yet another sneak peek of Gymkhana 5, complete with plenty of jumping and high-flying action. Just what the doctor ordered.
We also already know that Travis Pastrana will be co-starring in Gymkhana 5, which means that we’re expecting nothing less than an epic showing of hooning madness.
Count the days, kids. Gymkhana 5 is three days away from dropping into our screens. Like we said, we don’t mind waiting for it, but it certainly doesn’t mean that we’re not biting our nails in anticipation. Here’s to hoping we have enough of our fingers remaining by the time the suspense ends this Monday.