Ken Block and His 1993 Ford Escort Cosworth Are Officially Returning to American Stage Rally
It looks like the Hoon Master General is returning to the twists and turns of slideways driving for speed, rather than for show. Yep - Ken Block, purveyor of all things tire smoke and energy drinks, will once again try his hand in American Stage Rally, and he’s bringing his race-prepped and freshly painted ’93 Ford Escort Cosworth with him to do the job.
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The Hoonigan Crew Lists Their Favorite Burnouts From 2017: Video
As we count down the few remaining hours of 2017, it’s always a fun time to look back at the good stuff of the past year. As such, we listed our favorite and least favorite cars of the year, recapped the debuts that either made a big splash or a big flop, and generally argued about which opinions were right and which were obviously wrong. Looks like our friends over at The Hoonigans YouTube channel are feeling the same New Years nostalgia, and as such, they put together the above-featured video listing their favorite burnouts from 2017.
Of course, The Hoonigans aren’t exactly newbies when it comes to smoking the meats. Under the tutelage of the Hoon Master General himself, Mr. Ken Block, these folks know exactly what it takes to execute a proper burnout. And we’re not talking about just revving it up and dumping the clutch – any high schooler with a busted old V-8 and a learner’s permit can do that. No, we’re talking about the art of a burnout, with something unique to lay it all down, engine note screaming in ear-pleasing internal combustion, a fine fog of vaporized tire streaming forth into the atmosphere. The Hoonigans certainly know their stuff when it comes to the art of the burnout, and this thirteen-and-a-half minute video is a lovely display of that time-honored tradition that is the gross display of power over grip.
Picking a best of the bunch isn’t easy given the quality of tire killing on display here, so we’ll leave it up to you to post in the comments your personal favorite.
Ken Block Hits the Street in Awesome, 700-horsepower Ford RS200
When you think about Ken Block, you instantly think about awesome drifting and the Gymkhana video series. But you also think about cool cars. Block owns quite a few performance vehicles, and although most of them are Fords, they’re all pretty special. The Hoonicorn Mustang is by far my favorite, but I also dig his 1991 Escort Cosworth rally car and the black Escort Mk2. But Block just got a new rig that might just make me forget about the Hoonicorn. It’s a 1986 Ford RS200, probably the only RS-badged model that’s cooler than the Focus RS. It’s Block’s dream car, and among the ten cars I’d buy in a heart beat as soon as I win the lottery.
Built between 1984 and 1986 as a homologation car for the company’s Group B rally program, the RS200 is a rare vehicle, with only 200 units rolled out. Some 24 of them were later converted to Evolution specs, a configuration that has become an instant classic and it’s highly sought after by collectors nowadays. Block purchased one of these Evo cars and quickly gave it the Gymkhana treatment with matte black paint and an engine upgrade. The turbocharged, 2.4-liter four-cylinder mounted behind the front seats cranks out a whopping 700 horsepower, and I bet we’ll be seeing all of them in some exciting drifting action really soon. Check out the video and the history section on the RS200 below.
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Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Ken Block!
Whether he’s rubbin’ and racin’ in the Global Rallycross Championship, ripping fat donuts on his YouTube channel, or sliding sideways in the Gymkhana video series, odds are you’ve seen Ken Block in action. The man seems most comfortable at high speed and completely crossed up, building such ridiculous machines as the Hoonicorn to accomplish exactly that. When it comes to automotive showmanship, Ken is another league, bringing the goods on the regular with his gas-fueled antics, and today he turns the big five-oh.
Ken kicked off his racing career in 2005, driving a Subaru WRX STI in the Rally America National Championship, snagging the Rally America Rookie of the Year award at the season’s conclusion. In 2006, he signed up alongside Travis Pastrana to form Subaru’s Rally Team USA, once again competing in the Rally America National Championship and securing a second-place finish overall. He also helped bring rally to the extreme sports crowd in the first-ever rally X Games event. In 2007, he expanded his list of annual appearances to include a few rounds in the World Rally Championship, while 2008 saw the release of Ken’s very first Gymkhana video.
After gaining huge fanfare and media attention from Gymkhana 1, Ken turned the concept into a series, releasing Gymkhana 2: The Infomercial in 2009. This time around, the slideways goodness got mixed in with a new WRX, huge production value, and no shortage of shameless product placement. The combo worked, and Ken has been consecutively one-upping himself ever since.
Personally, my favorite vid is a toss up between Gymkhana 5 in San Francisco (big jumps! Cool town!), and Gymkhana 7 in Los Angeles (friggin’ Hoonicorn, baby!). How about you?
And oh yeah…
Happy Birthday, Ken!
Video Memo: Ken Block Spotted on Detroit Streets – Gymkhana 10 Could be Underway
Everyone loves watching a good Ken Block video, and why shouldn’t you – the man sure can drive. And, just recently, YouTuber Revin caught Block and his 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonigan RTR tearing the hell out of Detroit streets. Who wouldn’t start shaking in their boots and biting their nails hoping it’s for the next Gymkhana – after all cool things do happen in Michigan; Transformers was filmed there not that long ago. But, word has it – thanks to Nate Stoebner, a line producer on the shoot – that the next Hoonigan video would focus on Mustang history and there may not be stunts.
Be that as it may, the streets were shut down, and Block was leaving his classic calling card – smoke – all over the highway in Detroit. Either way, Gymkhana 10 hasn’t even been confirmed, and a local business even reports that Block and the Hoonicorn were there for some other kind of video. Maybe it was a commercial or some kind of promotional video – it doesn’t matter we’re all itching to see it. But for now, check out the quick YouTube video below, then let us know what you think.
Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video
Ken Block and his fellow Hoonigans certainly have no shortage of lust-worthy vehicles at their disposal. But the question is, with monsters like the Hoonicorn (both versions) lurking in the shadows, what’s a spin master like Block got for daily fun? Well, how about a badass 1991 Escort Cosworth, prepped for duty in Group A rally racing? Oh, and by the way, it’s also street legal. In this 12-minute, 47-second video, we get a walk around on the car, an in-depth look under the hood, and some interesting specs along the way, all delivered via the Hoonigans’ characteristic off-the-cuff banter. However, that isn’t all. Long story short, the Hoonigans feel like there aren’t enough AWD turbo cars ripping fat donuts and killing tires. You can see where this is going.
To fill that need, it’s time to let loose with around 400 horses at the Hoonigan HQ back lot. Just hearing this thing fire up is a treat, with the usual pops and bangs of a healthy race car shooting out the large side exhaust. Things get real serious when the head-hoonigan-in-charge slides into the hot seat and does what he does best. Adios rubber. Foot down, smoke up.
Climbkhana Is Further Proof That Car Culture Ain’t Going Anywhere
I always get a good chuckle when I hear about how car culture is hitting the skids. Granted, things are changing pretty quickly these days – a looming ban on the internal combustion engine, a greater focus on efficiency, the advent of autonomous technology, a decline in car ownership amongst younger generations… all of it seems to point towards the eventual demise of car culture as we know it, right?
Not in the slightest. What people need to realize is that while things are indeed changing, that transformation doesn’t necessarily predict a downfall of any kind. Regardless of the sales numbers, interest in fast cars that burn gas is as high as it ever was. Sure, machines like that aren’t exactly affordable to the average millennial, but that doesn’t mean interest is in decline.
There are plenty of indicators of this. Just look at motorsport – even though dinosaurs like Formula 1 and NASCAR seem to be going through a rough patch lately, the more modern motorsports (drifting, rallycross, etc.) continue to draw crowds, while amateur events remain a solid past time for those truly committed to the kingdom of speed.
Ken Block’s latest Climbkhana video is a perfect example. This is the tenth installment in the gymkhana series and its accumulated nearly 3 million views on YouTube as of this writing, just a day after posting. And no, there’s nothing in the vid about eking out max mileage or robo chauffeurs. There is, however, a 1,400-horsepower carbon fiber Mustang making more smoke than Cheech and Chong in an Amsterdam coffee shop.
So quit whining about car culture. If anything, it’s just getting better.
Ken Block Takes On Pikes Peak In Climbkhana: Video
A little under a year ago, we got a preview of the next big gymkhana video to come from Ford’s slide-happy YouTube star, the one and only Ken Block. Although brief, the vid gave us a glimpse at the revitalized Hoonicorn V2, which keeps the AWD drivetrain and classic carbon fiber Mustang body, but adds an extra 555 horsepower to the mix with two turbochargers and methanol injection. Peak output is now rated an astounding 1,400 ponies, but there’s a reason for that – Block’s latest challenge is Pikes Peak, a deadly 14,000-foot mountain laced with 156 turns laid out in a spaghetti string of switchbacks and chicanes. At this elevation, power levels can drop as much as 30 percent by the time you get to the top, and when the goal is to keep all four on boil, 1,400 horsepower seems about right. Now, we get to see if Block and his custom ‘Stang have what it takes in this 9-minute homage to tire smoke, appropriately dubbed “Climbkhana.”
Anyone familiar with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will recognize the insanity of shooting a gymkhana video in a location like this. The drop offs are immense, and the high-altitude takes a heavy toll on both man and machine. Nevertheless, Block manages to weave his unique brand of auto-themed entertainment all the same, and we’re happy for that. So click play, turn up the volume, and enjoy.
Ken Block Taunts Death Yet Again in Terrakhana: The Ultimate Dirt Playground
There’s no doubt about it – Ken Block is either outright crazy, has a death wish, or gets an insane high from beating the mother-loving hell out of his Fiesta while taunting death at the same time. I mean, the guy can push his car to the limit and a little further without it things going awry and he does it with class and style. If you look back at any of his Gymkhana videos, you’ll find yourself in amazement, even if you’ve seen them 100 times. Well, today we’re happy to report a new video has surfaced. This one comes straight out of Swing Arm City, Utah and officially goes by the name Terrakhana: The Ultimate Dirt Playground. And, when Ken Block uses the word “Ultimate” you know he’s not playing around.
Now, I know the best part about Ken Blocks work is watching it for yourself, so I’ll forgo the usual description and instead remind you that his Fiesta ST RX43 is, by far, the craziest Fiesta ever built and designed specifically for destroying pavement, sand, dirt, or anything else that is suitable for four-wheel travel. In the video, Ken Block makes his own sand and dirt storm with the 600 horsepower in powerful little Fiesta. Of course, we’re talking death-defying stunts and close calls that require balls of titanium to watch, let alone perform. For the record, this shoot was recorded at an elevation of 4,300 feet in an ambient temperature that was hovering right around 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’ve been in similar climates, you know it’s not exactly the most optimal conditions for a car to give its all.
So, with that said, go ahead and click play on the video below and then keep reading to learn more about Ken Block’s Fiesta and how it compares to some of the fastest production cars out there!
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.
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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.