The other day, I stumbled across some unused ContourHD footage of John Russakoff in his F20 powered Corolla at Ken Block’s Gymkhana GRID Invitational. He ended up doing very well that evening, so rather than letting the clips get lost in the endless sea of footage that is my hard drive, I decided to upload them raw for all to enjoy. (more…)
All of my footage of the MotorMavens Mass Appeal | Ken Block Invitational Gymkhana event went to Joe Ayala for our video coverage of the show… or so I thought! I just found this ContourHD clip of Toshiki Yoshioka driving the Driftspeed S15 Silvia and a few more while reorganizing my external hard drive. (more…)
Fifty one (51) days after the first-ever MotorMavens Mass Appeal Show & The Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational took place at Irwindale Speedway, I’ve finally finished the video. Most of the excuses for tardiness I can think of would actually be true – I was out of state for the holidays; I was busy with work; I got sick; my dog ate my computer, etc… but it all comes down to me just not getting it finished until now. Better late than never I guess.
The Mass Appeal event was, in fact, our very first car show, and throughout all the adversity (with our website site getting hacked two weeks before the show and car show registrations not going through), we pushed on regardless and the show turned out very well! We had a lot more carshow registrants than we expected, and the sheer diversity of the cars that showed up was amazing. We had Southern California’s best slammed-and-stretched cars in attendance, including luxury and VIP cars, several old school Japanese and German cars, several brand newly built race cars and promo vehicles from SEMA and the LA Auto Show, an actual widebody JZA80 Supra race car from the JGTC (Japan Grand Touring Championship) series, a Lexus LFA, and even a couple of slammed hot rods! The Mass Appeal show was quite an experience, and we thank everyone who showed up for helping to make it a great success! (more…)
A long time ago, in a country far, far away… long before drifting became mainstream; long before fake GAB wheels existed; long before energy drinks and MTV cared about motorsports… gymkhana was already going pretty strong in Japan. Even before I ever had a chance to see a Japanese gymkhana video on VHS tape, I used to go to the Japanese bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area (Kinokuniya in Japantown SF or Yaohan bookstore in Saratoga CA) and look at photos of all the amazing cars in the Japanese magazines that I couldn’t (and still can’t) read.
This is a YouTube video of the 1989 Japan Cup Gymkhana’s C3 Class, which features some pretty amazing looking cars! The Ken Block Invitational event at Irwindale was super fun, but I wish the cars in gymkhana competition today looked as incredible as the ones in this video! Vintage cars with period correct graphics, widebody AE86s that are actually used for racing, AW11 MR2s spinning around cones… I love it!
This Japan Cup video definitely brings it back to the roots for me, because of the amazing cars featured in the clips! To steal a quote from a friend of mine named Kero One, “innovation is useless if you forget the essence.” This statement definitely holds true when it comes to motorsports! Even before all the big sponsors and professional drifting existed, this is the type of motorsports activity that got me excited about driving! Traditional gymkhana is fun, skill-based, relatively low speed, and has a relatively low barrier to entry in terms of money. (more…)
Just like the gypsy camps in the days of old, this year's Las Vegas round of Formula Drift brought thieves out of the woodwork. I was really surprised to find out that former Formula D judge (and current Tanaka Racing Corvette driver) Alex Pfeiffer's helmet was stolen. I suppose someone was a fan of Alex's Hawaiian print helmet, which had the traditional Hawaiian plumeria flowers painted on one side. The only question I have about that is... Okay, thieves. Now that you have Alex's helmet, what the hell are you going to do with it? Read more...
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
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?