Block Heads Into Final Grc Race Of 2015, Seeks Third Consecutive Vegas Win

Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2013
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2013
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2014
Ken Block at GRC Las Vegas 2014

This week marks the end of the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship season, a year that’s featured tons of ups and downs for Hoonigan Racing's Ken Block. While Block led the majority of the season in the points chase from the first race until the 10th race of 12, and has won three events and podium’d two others, a string of bad luck events has mathematically eliminated him from winning the championship. However, the final event of the season is always in Las Vegas, an event that Block has won the last two years in a row. And he almost won it three in a row, but his car caught fire midway through the race three seasons ago as he led the race! Watch the video below to see how it all went down.

With the knowledge that he’s always performed well in Las Vegas, Block is eager to head out and attempt to make it three in a row this week.

“Historically I’ve done well in Vegas,” said Block. “The track setups in Las Vegas always end up being some of my favorites and they’re laid out well. Maybe it’s because we always test in Las Vegas or because it’s the event that’s closest to my home in Park City, Utah, but I just feel extremely comfortable out there. I’ve had a decent season with three wins and two other podium finishes this year and I led the championship in points for the first 10 of 12 races, but I’d love to finish my year on a high note and bring home one more win before we’re done for the season. Plus I wouldn’t mind making it three in a row for this race!”

To see if Block can pull off his third win in a row at GRC Las Vegas, make sure to tune in to the actual event broadcast on November 8th at 6:30 PM EST on NBCSN.

Ken Block And Hoonigan Debut A Ford Escort Mk2 Rs As Block’S First Rwd Gymkhana Car.

Ken Block and Hoonigan Industries are proud to introduce Block’s first-ever, rear-wheel-drive Gymkhana machine, Block's Ford Escort Mk2 RS.
Ken Block and Hoonigan Industries are proud to introduce Block’s first-ever, rear-wheel-drive Gymkhana machine, Block's Ford Escort Mk2 RS.
Ken Block and Hoonigan Industries are proud to introduce Block’s first-ever, rear-wheel-drive Gymkhana machine, Block's Ford Escort Mk2 RS.

Long Beach, CA – Ken Block and Hoonigan Industries are proud to introduce Block’s first-ever, rear-wheel-drive Gymkhana machine. Based on the loved and celebrated Ford Escort platform, which gained its storied history in European rally racing, this 1978 Ford Escort Mk2 RS is quite unlike its stage-ready counterparts. Block’s flat black and star-spangled, Rocket Bunny-kitted Mk2 was built with one specific focus in mind—to kill tires with the quickness, navigating obstacles on a Gymkhana course.

“This Escort Mk2 is special to me, it’s actually my first Ford rally car,” says Block. “I purchased it in 2008. It was designed to compete in tarmac events, but unfortunately those are quite lacking now stateside, so instead of converting it into a gravel machine, I had my team at Hoonigan Racing Division extend on its tarmac capabilities and develop it into the ultimate rear wheel-drive Gymkhana car.”

Mechanically, this Escort shares all the best parts of a top-level WRC-spec tarmac build, yet coupled with a specialized suspension setup with Gymkhana tricks in mind. Under the star-studded hood, the car packs a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Millington motor that generates 333 naturally-aspirated horses and absolutely screams at the limit when stretched out to the 9,000 rpm redline. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Block wanted to update the styling of the vehicle to something that fell in line with his current fleet of racecars. This meant one thing: a wider stance and wider arches all around. To get the job done, Block and Hoonigan contacted famed Japanese widebody designers Rocket Bunny. Their founder Kei Miura worked with Block and his team to create the world’s first Rocket Bunny Escort, borrowing inspiration from Hoonigan Racing’s current RX43 and HFHV Fiestas, the notorious Hoonicorn RTR and other well-known Rocket Bunny designs. After digitally scanning the Escort at the Hoonigan Racing HQ in Park City Utah, Miura and Rocket Bunny set of to build one of the widest and most unique kits seen on an Escort Mk2. To set off the look, the car sits on custom two-piece fifteen52 wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber.

"This car has been something I've been working on slowly for a long time now," said Block. "I'm stoked with how the whole thing turned out. My team and Graham Quick at Quick Motorsport in the U.K. did a great job on the build of the car, Rocket Bunny did an awesome job with the exterior styling and I absolutely love how The Hoonigans took something I really love—the American flag—and remixed it into a badass graphic for the livery of this car. I’ve only been able to test this car for two days, but I'm looking forward to slaying some more tires in this thing really soon. The car absolutely rips, especially at 9,000 rpm.”

While Block and the Hoonigans are working on a bigger video project for 2016 to feature this new build, you can watch the Head Hoonigan in Charge shakedown the Gymkhana Escort at the Hoonigan Donut Garage in the video linked above. In the coming months, you’ll also be able to see some of your favorite Hoonigan athletes (in addition to Ken Block) getting behind the wheel as guest drivers. The first public appearance of the car will be this coming weekend at Monster Energy’s Gymkhana GRID Finale in the U.K. More info on that later this week.
Like the “Stars and Stripes” pattern featured on the hood of Block’s Escort? The graphic pattern from his livery is available as part of Hoonigan’s 2015 Holiday 2015 collection, available at, Zumiez, Tillys and other rad retailers.

Ken Block Suffers Bad Luck In Global Rallycross For Fourth Consecutive Event

Bushy Park, Barbados: Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block started off his 2015 Global Rallycross Championship chase with a big win at the first event of the season in Ft. Lauderdale. From there he continued to dominate and build up a lead, winning three events in total as well as multiple podiums until he reached the double-header weekend in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. That’s when Block’s luck began to change for the worse, a trend that followed him through both rounds of Los Angeles and then down to Barbados this past weekend for another double-header weekend. A weekend which saw Block, unfortunately, surrender his Championship lead.

Block came into the Barbados double-header with a 13 point lead in the Championship—despite having had a hugely frustrating Los Angeles double-header weekend the two rounds previously that were both full of terrible luck for Block. In fact, Block had a great first lap of the LA2 Final and had been in 2nd place until he had a prop shaft fail, possibly from wheel-to-wheel contact during the race. Thus, instead of coming away with a podium and points, he ended up with 10th overall in the final, which was a major blow to his points lead. And, unfortunately for Block, that same momentum followed him down to Barbados.

Saturday’s race saw Block get off to a solid start, qualifying 4th overall and then purposely taking 6th in the knockout qualifying round that followed, with the reasoning being to conserve tires since the track in Barbados was the longest of the season and eating competitors tires. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Block was 5th overall in his Heat (because of a Jump Start penalty) and then 5th overall in his Semi-Final (due to a front driveshaft failure). This forced Block into the Last Chance Qualifier, in which he got a great start and was leading the pack fighting to get into the Final.

However, the course featured a chicane prior to the jump that was made of crushed up coral, a course feature that fellow competitors decided to start cutting completely, effectively short-coursing the track. Block kept to the racing line for the entire event because he didn’t want to risk damage to his car and didn’t want to risk getting penalized for cutting the course, but he knew that his competitors might be cutting to overtake his first overall position in the LCQ. However, despite Block taking a slightly more aggressive racing line than he had been all day during lap one, his car ended up on two wheels, followed by then being on the roof. He ended up sliding the entire way up the jump on the roof, where the car was then thrown into the air for another rotation before landing on the roof slightly off the side of the jump. This ended Block’s chances of making it into the Final for Saturday’s race. Despite the roll, Block himself was 100% fine and the Hoonigan Racing Division techs were able to get the car repaired and ready for the second race on Sunday.

Sunday saw Block have a tough qualifying session due to small issues with the car following the rapid rebuild. In his Heat he ended up smacking into the right rear wheel of fellow Ford driver Patrik Sandell after Sandell stalled his Fiesta on the starting grid, directly in the way of Block’s launch. The impact destroyed Block’s front left wheel, forcing him to DNF the Heat. Block bounced back with a 3rd in his Semi- Final, which got him into the Final. Unfortunately, in the Final, Block’s bad luck resurfaced when he suffered a destroyed front right tire, causing him to DNF in the final.

“It was a really horrible weekend for me unfortunately,” said Block. “I came down here off of two really tough races full of bad luck in Long Beach and I thought I had all of that behind me. Unfortunately, despite qualifying well for Saturday’s event, I was hit with more mechanical bad luck and then I had the roll after hitting a portion of the course that myself and other drivers and team managers had pointed out was dangerous and could potentially damage or roll someone’s car. So, yeah, not really happy with how my Saturday went and then my Sunday was almost just as bad. I came in here still holding onto a lead in the Championship and now, despite our best efforts, I’m mathematically out from having any sort of shot at winning it this year. It’s crazy how I can go from having such an incredible year and leading the points to four unlucky races in a row and be out of the title chase! But, that’s racing and I’m going to keep pushing hard in Las Vegas when we get there. I’ve won that event the last two years in a row and I’d love to go for the hat trick there.”

Ken Block Partners With Mastercraft To Create A One-Off Wakeboard Boat For Summer 2015

When it came time for Ken Block to choose a boat for his summer boating needs, he had two requirements: for it to be the best wakeboard boat possible and for it to match his current racecars. A tall order, but something that Mastercraft was confident they could deliver upon.

So, for cruising with his family or making the ultimate waves while wakeboarding with his friends this summer, Block will be boating around his home state of Utah in a custom one-off Mastercraft X30 wakeboard boat. Designed to align with his current 2015 racecar livery, Block’s X30 has all of the great features that a normal X30 comes with, but also includes a unique exterior finish that incorporates Block’s “intergalactic” space theme from this season, as well as his signature 43 racing number. Additionally the boat features a blacked-out Zero-Flex Tower and custom-trimmed interior to match, all combining to make this one of the most unique boats on the water.

“I’m really happy with how this project turned out,” said Block. “I absolutely love boating on the lakes here in Utah with my family and I really enjoy wakeboarding. So, when it was time for me to get a new boat for this summer, we reached out to Mastercraft to see what could be done to make something that was unique but that utilized the X30. Mastercraft absolutely nailed the execution of my 2015 livery on this thing and the murdered out wake tower is a nice touch. It really helps tie the whole thing together when I’m towing it with my Ford Raptor, seeing it parked next to my Ford Fiesta ST RX43 rallycross competition car is a trip as well. I can’t wait to take it down to Lake Powell later this summer.”

PDF: KenBlock-MasterCraftX30_2015

Ken Block Podiums In Global Rallycross Washington D.C. And Further Extends Championship Points Lead

Ken Block extended his lead in the 2015 Global Rallycross Championship this weekend by taking third overall during the seventh (of 12) round of the season, which took place in Washington, D.C. The finish brings his lead in the points standings to 41 ahead of second place and is Block’s fifth podium finish of the championship thus far.

Friday’s Practice and Qualifying sessions saw Block slightly off his normal rallycross pace, as he and HRD worked to find a suspension setup that worked for the track in Washington, D.C., which was located adjacent to RFK Stadium. In the end, Block qualified mid-pack in 7th. He then went on to end Friday’s race activities with a 4th place finish in Heat 1.

Saturday saw Block back on his usual pace, having finally found a car setup that worked for both himself and the track in Washington. Heat 2 however, was a very intense outing, with Sebastian Erikkson utilizing Block’s rear bumper as a braking zone coming out of the joker when Erikkson misjudged his braking. While the impact didn’t cause too much damage to Block’s car, it did throw off his pace slightly. It was a moot issue however due to a red flag that popped out later in the heat due to Patrik Sandell being spun out and stalled in the middle of a corner.

The re-start to finish the Heat was favorable for Block, which he almost won until the final corner where he was pushed wide from the inside by fellow Ford driver Nelson Piquet Jr. This move sent Block towards the wall, forcing him to back off and sending him into almost a “tank slapper,” which he ultimately recovered from. Unfortunately, during the time where Block was trying to keep the car out of the wall, both Piquet Jr. and Patrik Sandell got by, leaving Block to take third overall in Heat 2.

Block’s Semi-Final went much smoother than his second Heat, comparatively cruising on through to a second place finish. The Final saw Block starting back further on the Grid than he would have liked, but he made due and before the first lap was completed he had worked his way into third overall, a position he was able to hold and defend for the entirety of the 10 lap Final.

“This was a tough weekend for me,” said Block. “I struggled with setup initially so that was really frustrating, but I knew I’d be ok once we got into the actual racing. But, my qualifying was off so that hurt us a bit in terms of my position on the starting grid. However, despite all of the insanity that happened in my second heat today I managed to drive hard and smartly and worked myself into another podium, which is awesome. Overall, I’m really stoked that I was able to extend my lead in the championship here this weekend. It’s a long championship and I am right where I want to be right now."

Blocks’ next race is GRC Los Angeles, taking place the weekend of September 12th.

Block Suffers Tough Call At Grc Detroit 2

HRD’s Ken Block set out to double down on Saturday’s win during part one of the Detroit double-header GRC weekend with a follow-up performance during Sunday’s part two race. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as he had hoped.

Block was the top qualifier during open qualifying and then was 5th fastest during the knockout top-6 qualifying session thereafter due to a differential issue in his drivetrain. Block then took 3rd in his heat, followed by placing 2nd in his Semi-Final. This put him on the second row of the starting grid for the Final, which he started in P4. When the final started, Block got off to a solid start and made it successfully through turn 1 in 3rd position overall. However, heading down the straight into the split between the joker and the main course, Block got caught up in an unavoidable racing incident that took place in front of him, which forced him into a contact situation that he couldn’t avoid.

The situation was competitors Patrik Sandell and Scott Speed (fighting for 1st overall ahead of Block), coming into contact with each other approaching the joker split. The contact by Speed into Sandell forced Sandell to brake earlier than normal in order to safely make the joker entrance. This early braking occurred as Block was immediately behind Sandell, forcing Block’s front right bumper into unavoidable contact with Sandell’s left rear bumper. This then put Sandell into a slide, which led to him making contact with the tire wall, which he recovered from and continued to race. A lap later, a red flag was called, which led to a re-start of the final. At the time of the red flag, Block was in 1st overall. During the red flag, race officials decided to slap Block with a heavy penalty that sent him to the very back of the starting grid. While Block managed to finish 7th overall after the re-start.

“I’m disappointed in the way the race officials handled the racing incident on Sunday during the final,” said Block. “Myself and my team, as well as fellow GRC racers, have reviewed the footage and we feel that the incident ahead of me was caused by aggressive driving by another driver to which I could not react to quickly enough. So, my contact with Patrik was a non-malicious racing incident, simple as that. I’m battling for a Championship and this was a huge setback—I missed out on a ton of points because of a judgment call by an official and I do not agree with that call at all."

Ken Block Wins Grc Detroit #1, Improves Overall Lead In Championship Points

Detroit, MI: Seven days ago, Ken Block took 2nd overall at the New England Forest Rally. Today, Block hit the Global Rallycross track in Detroit and won the event outright, marking his third win of the 2015 GRC season, increasing his overall Championship Points lead and also becoming the most-winning driver in GRC history, now with a total of six total race wins.

A double-header event, Detroit #1 was an exciting event from the start. Forced to skip the qualifying session due to jump repair issues, the event seeded drivers based on their Championship Points standing. With Block heading into the event sitting first-overall, he was seeded P1 for his First Heat. Block proceeded to win his Heat cleanly and maintain that P1 positioning for his Semi-Final. Block then won his Semi-Final as well, securing P1 for the starting grid of the Final.

In the Final, Block had a strong launch, but was forced to concede the lead in Turn One due to overcooking the turn slightly. However, he slotted into 2nd place and focused on running smart and building upon his points lead in the Championship. Lap 7 of 10 saw fellow Ford driver, Patrick Sandell, who was in the lead, suffer a mechanical issue, which Block capitalized on. With three laps to go, Block got ahead and drove his Ford Fiesta ST RX43 fast and out front all the way across finish line.

“I’m stoked about winning today’s race in Detroit,” said Block. “This is a home event for one of my top sponsors, Ford, so it’s awesome to be able to win here in front of all of the Ford employees that came out to watch. I came into this event with a lead in the points and my only goal was to maintain and build upon that. Fortunately for myself, I built upon that in the best way possible with a 1st place finish! Now I’ve gotta get focused on starting all over again tomorrow when we do the second part of this double-header weekend here in Detroit and focus on continuing to build my points.”

Block races again tomorrow at Detroit #2 where he’ll try and continue to build upon his winning streak and further his lead in the Championship Points standings.

Block And M-Sport Have Successful Outing At Nefr With Ford Fiesta Hfhv, R5 2ltr And R2 1ltr Cars

The 2015 Rally America New England Forest Rally was a successful event for both Ken Block and his Hoonigan Racing Division, as well as for Block’s motorsports partner, M-Sport. In addition to Ken Block and his Ford Fiesta HFHV racing at NEFR, M-Sport (the entity in the UK that produces the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Block’s RX43 rallycross car, that supplied the chassis for Block’s HFHV, etc.) brought out two of their newest stage rally racecars to race the event as well: The Ford Fiesta R5 2LTR and the Ford Fiesta R2 1LTR.

The R5 2LTR is an all-new take on the already successful R5 program that M-Sport runs. The idea behind the car is to take an R5 (which itself is an all wheel-drive, 1.6 liter turbocharged rally car) and stuff it with a turbocharged 2.0 liter motor that allows it to fit within the regulations of most national championship open car classifications (such as Rally America, or the New Zealand national championship). The R2 1LTR builds upon the previous R2, but uses the turbocharged 1 liter, 3-cylinder motor from the base Ford Fiesta with a significant bump in power.

Both cars had hugely successful outings for their first time on US soil, with the R5 (piloted by Ramana Lagemann) racking up numerous top-five stage finishes and proving itself as a highly competitive option for drivers. Had the R5 not had to re-enter on Day 2 under Super Rally rules due to breaking a suspension component during the Day 1 stages, it would have easily challenged for a podium spot. The R2 (piloted by Brendan Reeves) had an even better showing, with a 1st overall finish in the 2wd category and a 6th overall finish for the entire event.

Both cars demonstrate great promise for the future of stage rally and offer a turnkey solution for racers that are looking for a competent and competitive setup. HRD’s Ken Block himself is also a huge fan of the all-new R5 2LTR car, having back-to-backed it prior to NEFR against his Ford Fiesta HFHV. To see how that turned out, check the video below.

Ken Block and M-Sport at New England Forest Rally 2015

Had a great time at Rally America’s New England Forest Rally this past weekend. Even though we didn’t get the result we were hoping for, 2nd place is great considering this was my first time back here since 2013! AND it was absolutely awesome to see M-Sport bring out both the Ford Fiesta R5 2ltr and the Ford Fiesta R2 1ltr - both of which really showed their potential at the hands of Ramana Lagemann and Brendan Reeves. Check out this quick recap video from the rally - see the sights and hear the sounds of three purpose-built stage rally beasts.

Posted by Ken Block on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ken Block Finishes 2nd Overall At New England Forest Rally Despite Mechanical Issues

Sunday River, ME: Ken Block headed into the 2015 New England Forest Rally with the goal of defending his win from the last time he competed at the event in 2013. Unfortunately for Block, that wasn’t meant to be this past weekend due to a series of small engine issues that plagued him throughout the weekend. Despite the engine woes, Block still managed to pull off a very respectable 2nd overall finish, along with a few stage wins.

Day 1’s stages saw Block lose time to the top end of the field because of the aforementioned engine trouble. Fortunately, there were only three total Stages on Day 1, limiting Block’s deficit to 1st place at only 33 seconds overall.

Day 2 saw Block strike back with a Stage win on SS4. During SS6, Block had an off due to a mistake in his notes. From the off, the only functional damage to the car—oddly enough—was a broken throttle pedal and Block had to nurse the car to the end of the stage. Fortunately for Block, fellow competitor and friend, Brendan Reeves, was able to help him partially repair the throttle pedal with zip ties prior to the start of SS7. Block then successfully finished SS7 and went on to rack up a Stage win on SS8, despite having to race with the broken—and then zip tied repaired—throttle pedal.

“It’s definitely been a disappointing weekend for me,” said Block. “We came out here straight off a solid two days of testing and feeling really good. Unfortunately, we had some engine issues that robbed us of power and caused us to give up a lot of time on the Day 1 stages. We came back on Day 2 and thought we’d sorted everything out, but apparently we still had a gremlin or two and were still a bit down on power. Despite that, we pulled off two stage wins today, which was actually surprising and we’re happy with that! Things didn’t go as planned, but hey, that’s racing and I do appreciate coming away with 2nd place.”

Block’s next competitive event will be this coming weekend in Detroit for a Global Rallycross double-header.

Ken Block Benchmarks The New M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 Against His Hfhv

Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta HFHV is an incredible rally car that was built off of the M-Sport WRC Ford Fiesta and designed from the start to be the ultimate “Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle.” That means it can do stage rally, it can do rallycross and it can also do Gymkhana. However, it’s a design that’s a few years old and a car that has a fair bit of stage miles on the chassis. Despite these factors though, it’s still one of the top Open Class cars in the Rally America series.
M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 2ltr is related to Block’s HFHV in the sense that both were originally derived from M-Sport’s WRC Ford Fiesta chassis. However, it’s been designed to fit within the Open Class racing regulations of most national championships (such as Rally America or the New Zealand national championship). The goal of the R5 2ltr is to offer a rally car that can compete at the top level of a national championship, as well as make that top level performance accessible to drivers with a product that’s turnkey, versus racers having to “home brew” their own solutions to the Open Class regulations. The car is also more affordable to race by the utilization of off-the-shelf factory parts for a reduced operating cost (for an example, the alternator on Block’s HFHV is a $5,000 USD part, and the alternator on the R5 2ltr is a mere $500 since it’s an off-the-shelf Ford part).
During his pre-Rally America New England Forest Rally testing, Block was able to take both his HFHV and the new R5 2ltr out on the stage roads of the Team O’Neil rally school in New Hampshire and benchmark them back to back. Curious to see the results? (they’re closer than you’d think) Check out the video of the test below.

Ken Block's custom Ford Fiesta HFHV vs M-Sport's Ford Fiesta R5...

Earlier this week my team and I did a timed performance comparison between my Ford Fiesta HFHV (my custom built and very developed rally/RX/gymkhana car I've been running since 2011) and M-Sport's new Ford Fiesta R5 2 liter: a turnkey top-level national stage rally car that's much cheaper to buy, run, and service, but still retains performance not far off of a modern WRC Fiesta. We wanted to see how fast it was compared to my older car - so we put both through their paces at the Team O'Neil Rally School. Check out this video to see how they compare!

Posted by Ken Block on Friday, July 17, 2015