For those who don't know, gymkhana is kind of like a cross between autocross (slalom/solo racing in a parking lot, in a course laid out with cones) and drifting. Back before I started working the media end of the drifting scene, I was pretty active in driving at autocross events. It's fun, it improves your driving skills, and it's not too expensive.
Ken Block isn't the first person to try to organize a gymkhana event though. Erik Jacobs from DG Trials in Atlanta GA was the first person that I had ever heard of trying to make a series of drifting and gymkhana events... this was back around 2004 or so, when drifting was just beginning to blow up! To put things in perspective, back then, Vaughn Gittin Jr was still working on getting sponsored by Falken, and he was driving an S13 240SX, not a Ford Mustang! Read more...
Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Ham and burgers. What do these things have in common? It seems nearly impossible to have one without the other. Ken Block and Subaru also share this likeness. Regardless, it seems that Ken is leaving the Japanese Pleiades Oval for that of the classic American Blue Oval.
DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 6, 2010 – Ford Motor Company announced today that it is teaming up with Ken Block, the California-based action sports icon-turned-rally driver, for future global motorsports opportunities.
Block, the 2005 Rally America Rookie of the Year and a three-time medalist at X Games, has cultivated a tremendous following with his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. In 2010, Block will campaign a Ford Focus in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and a Ford Fiesta in Rally America and X Games.
“I am stoked to be rallying in a Ford. They are an impressive force in the sport,” said Ken Block. “From the days of the 1970s Escorts to the Group B RS200 to the modern-day Focus and now the Fiesta, Ford just does an excellent job at rally and I couldn’t be happier to now be part of this amazing heritage. Not to mention my dad would be proud. He was a dedicated Ford guy.”
“Ken Block has established himself as an action sports competitor and a rising star in the world of American rally racing,” said Jamie Allison, director Ford North America Motorsports. “We are excited to have him on our team to help promote our new global products, the 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2012 Ford Focus.”
Rallying is a crucial part of Ford’s global motorsports strategy and provides the company with the opportunity to showcase the true performance capabilities of Ford’s products. Since its support of rallying began, Ford has won three WRC titles and 73 individual events. And, last year in North America, Ford’s participation in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and X Games 15 were key elements for the launch of the Ford Fiesta for the U.S.
“Thanks to our participation in WRC, rallying has always played a key role in Ford’s global motorsports programs,” said Allison. “Ford is the only manufacturer that could provide Ken with global rally opportunities.”
“We’re delighted that Ken Block has chosen to team up with Ford to develop his rallying activities beyond America and into the global arena,” said Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s senior motorsports manager. “Ford and its U.K.-based rally partner, M-Sport, is looking forward to welcoming Ken to the wider team of talented rally drivers using Ford vehicles to compete in this demanding sport at the highest level internationally.”
While it may seem implausible to imagine Ken piloting anything but a Subaru… something tells me that his wild antics and crazy style will follow suit behind the wheel of a Ford.
Best of luck to Ken and his crew in 2010!
:: Andy Sapp
Wow! Travis Pastrana‘s record breaking car jump 250 feet over the water in Long Beach Harbor for Red Bull’s No Limit New Year’s Eve! I’m posting this for those of you who live in other parts of the world, and those who don’t have ESPN! This was LIVE tonight at 9:00pm PST/12 midnight EST. Wow, Red Bull does some pretty damn cool things with its money.
CONGRATULATIONS TRAVIS! That was dope.
:: Antonio Alvendia
It seems that everybody has been talking and Twittering about the much anticipated release of DC Shoes Founder/rally driver extraordinaire Ken Block‘s new “Gymkhana 2” video.
We just wanted to show everyone this link – it’s finally up! Ken Block shows us all how hard he rips it in his new Subaru Impreza WRX STi! Instead of having members of his DC Snowboard team grind off of his carbon fiber WRC Impreza wing, Ken decided to inject a little bit of Hollywood into his newest viral video – aside from having a cameo appearance by Rob Dyrdek (DC skater, star of MTV’s Rob & Big and Fantasy Factory), it’s complete with explosions, crash test dummies, cool near misses with big rigs, cranes, pylons, and umm… he also comes really close to driving his car right off the dock, right into the water.
We wonder when he’s gonna take some time out of his already busy schedule (and full Rally America season) to compete in the Formula Drift series..? What do you guys think? Would you rather watch Ken Block at rally events or at drifting events?