Ken Block's Ultimate Tire Slaying Experience
Article By: Arnav Kulkarni
Engines Redlining and Tires Smokin' leaving a trail of scars on the tarmac while a 50 year old man laughs his way through every high-speed corner, oversteering in some of the world's most exclusively customized, super tuned cars covered in tire remnants and enveloped in smoke. Is this about Ken Block's Gymkhana?
You're goddamn right it is!
So let's take a look at the deets on Number 43's iconic history and the Gymkhana series that revolutionized the car entertainment industry.
Ken Block, Who?
It's a surprise some motorsport enthusiasts are still unaware of Ken Block and his 'Ultimate Tire Slaying'. But, that's what we're here for!
Ken(neth) Block, born on 21st November 1967, is a professional rally driver and the co-founder at DC SHOE CO. He sold his ownership at DC to begin [ HOONIGAN ] Industries, a super-hit apparel line among adrenaline enthusiasts and Hoonigan Racing Division, a top contender at the WRC and FIA World Rallycross. To us, he's a car enthusiast who expresses his freedom, liberty and passion through the gas pedal, the clutch and the handbrake. An Alpha in the car community.
[ HOONIGAN ] literally means:
'A person who operates a motor vehicle in an aggressive and unorthodox manner, consisting of, but not limited to, drifting, burnouts, donuts as well as acts of automotive aeronautics. One who hoons. '
I mean, he's not wrong, if you check their videos out. Calling them Hoonigans, seems like a serious understatement!
The Gymkhana Series
The Gymkhana started as a pretty straightforward way for Ken Block to record, review, correct his mistakes and hone his Rally Driving skills. These footages have revolutionized the automotive filmmaking industry as KB-43 uses no CGI, all sheer horsepower, torque and talent. The clippings have now morphed into a viral video series with over HALF A BILLION views on their YouTube channel! This is what's earned Block the title 'Head Hoonigan In Charge' HHIC at the Hoonigan Industries.
- The Gymkhana series started in 2008 with Block driving his 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI with a 2.5 litre Crawford Performance engine, paired with Subaru's stock 6-speed, pushing 530 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque, running on BFGoodrich g-Force tires, shot in an abandoned airfield at an unknown location.
The second installment of the Gymkhana was one of the wildest commercials ever. Wait What? Yes... For the peeps who didn't know, Gymkhana Two was a commercial in 2009 for DC SHOE CO USA, a company, then partly owned by and co-founded by Ken Block. Fireballs, Explosions, Imploding Glass Shards, Paintball fights and Wall Breaking. Commercials didn't really get wilder than this!
Block drove an '08 Impreza WRX STI with a turbocharged Crawford Performance 4-cyl, SR5 2.65 liter paired with a KAPS 6-speed dog box transmission pumps out 565 horsepower and 595 pound-feet of torque, and an STI short shifter propelling it from 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds!
Gymkhana 3 was the first internationally shot Gymkhana. It was shot at Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry in Paris in 2010, this location was chosen because of Ken's fascination for the section of the Linas Autodrome that has the steepest oval section in the world.
Ken took on the Linas Autodrome in his '11 Ford Fiesta GYM3 with an Olsbergs 2000cc Duratec in its heart, paired with a MakTrak 6-speed sequential gearbox with electronic shifting pushing through a whopping 600 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque running on Pirelli Trofeos, pushing the fiesta to 60 mph from standstill in a mere 2 seconds!
Gymkhana 4. Remember how we said Gymkhana 2 was the biggest commercial? SCRATCH THAT! Gymkhana 4, also known as the Ultimate Hollywood Megamercial. Block was allowed to wreck through the entire Universal Studios California. Everything was Hollywood-level. Except there were no Hollywood edits or CGI. Raw, Real, Ripped Hooning.
Ken wreaked havoc in his '14 Fiesta ST HFHV, powered by a Pipo-Moteurs developed turbocharged 2.0 liter Ford EcoBoost pumping 350 horsepower and 515 pound-feet torque through a Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox, running on Pirelli Trofeos fitted to Fifteen52 forged monoblock tarmac wheels propelling it to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds!
- Gymkhana V, considered a pinnacle in street drifting, had Mr. HHIC, gliding through the streets of San Francisco. The streets of San Fran are known for absurdly angled streets, sudden elevation changes and a road course that does not need external obstacles for it to be an obstacle course! The Gymkhana shot in Golden City has Ken Block going as much airborne as sideways in the same '14 Fiesta ST HFHV with the same configurations.
Gymkhana 6, is a peek at the dream playground Ken Block has in mind for his car-version of a skate-park or a playground. Filled with weird, totally out-of-place obstacles like Construction Equipment, Shipping Containers, Wrecking-Balls and many other items only KB43 could brave to place on a track he was driving on.
He dared through this in a '15 Ford Fiesta ST RX43 with a Pipo designed turbocharged 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine producing 600 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of Torque through a Sadev 6-speed sequential. Running on Toyo Proxes R1R, the car takes just under 2 seconds to hit 60 mph.
Gymkhana 7, is Ken Block deviling through the streets of the City of Angels in a car, for which, the adjectives 'wild' 'hellish' seem like serious understatements.
A 1965 Ford Mustang with a Roush Yates 410 cu.-in. Ford V8 engine with individual throttle bodies for its heart, pulsating 845 horsepower and 720 pound-feet of Torque coursing through ALL FOUR WHEELS via a Sadev 6-speed SC90-24 transmission. For ultimate slaying purposes, The Mustang runs on Pirelli Trofeos infused with Ken Blocks own tire compound!
- Gymkhana 8 has Ken setting the streets of Dubai on fire with the same '15 Ford Fiesta ST RX43 he let loose in Gymkhana 6. We see Ken have fun with an Eagle, drift over dunes, donut between a barricade of exotic Dubai PD cars, go sideways through the Royal Palace, Donut under a full-sized running plane and slay some of the world's fastest, most exotic cars in a stellar drag race through the freeways of Dubai. No one, not even the Government minded it.
The 9th Episode of Gymkhana has KB return to his roots of Pure, Raw, Real, Ripped. Ken burns through an Industrial Ground leaving behind the terms 'ideal' and 'track'.
He barrages through this Industrial Playground in his 2016 Ford Focus RS RX#43 with an M-Sport designed 2.0 liter 4-cylinder paired with a classic Sadev 6-speed sequential. While there isn't much to say. It is a blast to watch!
Gymkhana X. The 10th Installment of the Gymkhana series is the wildest, biggest and most diverse video yet! It earned the series the name 'Ultimate Tire Slaying Experience'. Gymkhana X takes us through 5 locations:
He starts in Lulea, Sweden, driving his 2018 Fiesta WRC, for the first time ever, through snow and ice! Block slays the icy terrain in his Fiesta and instantly, we're in Detroit, with Ken DECIMATING the tires on his 1400 Horsepower Mustang RTR V2! We see the industrial city through the tire smoke and are switched to the picturesque, hilly city of Guanajuato in Mexico in his '17 Ford Focus RS RX where both, the Sun and his brakes, turn golden at sunset. Upon Darkness, we enter the 1999 Ford Escort Cosworth that slays tires as well as sprays sparks in BARE RIMS! For concluding this epic journey, Ken Block reveals his '77 Ford F-150 dubbed 'The Hoonitruck' disrupting the town of Shamrock on the iconic, scenic Route 66 where he ends the video driving into the sunset...