PARK CITY, UTAH, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 — It’s an historic year for Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and his Gymkhana series. Only six months after the release of Gymkhana Eight, set in Dubai UAE, Block returns with Gymkhana NINE: Raw Industrial Playground, live now on Hoonigan’s Youtube account. The video returns the professional rallycross driver’s hugely popular, 400+million view viral video franchise to its original roots, letting the pure, raw driving action take center stage once again. Co-starring alongside Block, is the all-new Ford Focus RS RX that he competes with in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“I really wanted to bring Nine back to the core roots of my earlier Gymkhana videos,” said Block. “The full city takeovers are a ton of fun, but we felt that it was time to get back to the basics, especially with the new Ford Focus RS RX. We really wanted to let it shine and be the star in this video since it has so much useable power and control. We also partnered with Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 3 video game on this one, which allowed us to incorporate some insane tricks that actually pull inspiration from the game itself. It all worked out amazingly and I couldn’t be more stoked on how this video turned out.”
Hoonigan Media Machine, the new content-focused division of Hoonigan Industries, took the production reigns on Gymkhana NINE. While always the creative driver behind the films, Hoonigan now boasts an in-house film production team as well. Brian Scotto, Block’s business partner in the brand, stepped up from his previous role of Creative Director to Director on this latest installment from the team’s viral powerhouse series.
Filmed over the course of four days in western New York, the video takes place in a series of mostly derelict industrial spaces, harkening back to settings that are visually similar to Block’s first two Gymkhana videos and that ultimately allowed for some of Block’s most raw and aggressive Gymkhana driving in years.
In addition to being presented by Hoonigan, Gymkhana NINE also ushers in a new partnership for Block with the Forza Horizon video game franchise. Two tricks in the video that were inspired by the game itself include a helicopter suspending a brand-new 2017 Ford Raptor from the sky while Block does donuts around it as it spins wildly out of control, as well as a scene where Block drift jumps sideways in front of a moving train. Both of the Forza moments are incredibly high-risk and utilized all of Block’s skill to be pulled off successfully.
“This is probably common sense, but just so that we’re clear, please, please, please do not attempt to recreate any of the tricks you see me do in his video at home on your own,” said Block. “Especially trying to outrun a train. Attempting to outrun a train isn’t just stupid, it’s also illegal. So please, don’t do it! I do these in a closed course environment with full safety crews, stunt coordinators and a well thought out plan!”
In addition to the aforementioned “Forza moments” from the video, Block also ups the ante in Gymkhana NINE with one of his most outrageous maneuvers to-date: a literal cliffhanger where he throws his Ford Focus RS RX into an alley-oop around a telephone cable spool and proceeds to hang the rear end—and rear wheels—right off of the edge of a pier on Lake Erie.
“The moment where I’m hanging the rear of my car off of that shipping pier was definitely stressful,” said Block. “But, it’s something that we really wanted to do in real life since previously people have only seen something like that in a CGI-d BMW commercial [Block is referencing a BMW advertisement where a car is drifting around on top of an aircraft carrier deck, something that many casual observers thought to be real when in fact it was all CGI]. That’s the great thing about these videos, everything I do with the car, everything we capture on camera is all real, live action. We may do a few takes to get all of the angles covered or get timing more dialed, but at the end of the day it’s all actual driving, nothing is faked.”
To see Block and his Ford Focus RS RX put it all on the line and in action in Gymkhana NINE, click here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/_bkX5VkZg8U
PARK CITY, UTAH, SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block is pleased to announce that in less than one week, his ninth installment in his 400 million-view viral video franchise, Gymkhana, will be going live on Ford Performance’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/fordperformance).
The video will star both Block and his all-new for 2016 Ford Focus RS RX that he currently races in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The video will be the second in the series hosted by Ford Performance and also marks the introduction of a new partner to the globally celebrated franchise: Microsoft’s Forza Horizon XBox videogame series.
“This definitely is the rawest Gymkhana video that I’ve done in a long time,” said Block. “We really took it back to the basics like in the original Gymkhana video and put the emphasis on my driving and on the car. I’m really excited about this one! It’s got my new racecar, it’s me bringing it back to a more on-the-limit and visceral driving style and with my new partner in Forza Horizon 3, we were able to bring in some inspiration from the game to this video. I think the fans are going to be stoked when this drops on the 13th.”
Gymkhana NINE will be live on the Ford Performance YouTube channel on September 13th at 8 AM EST. Be sure to set your calendars and tune in.
**Forza Horizon 3 takes place in Australia and features the largest and most diverse open world ever seen in the “Forza Horizon” series. The game will be available in early access on September 23 then widely available on September 27 on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
LOHEAC, FRANCE — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud has now extended his on-podium World Rallycross Championship streak to four events in a row by finishing Round 8 in France second overall. Bakkerud’s team boss/teammate, Ken Block, also had his best World RX weekend to-date up until the final, featuring a series of incredible battles on-track with former WRC Champion Sebastian Loeb.
Both drivers did well during their respective Q1 and Q2 races on Saturday in Loheac, laying down fast times and netting excellent positions heading into Sunday’s racing. Bakkerud finished Saturday sitting P2 and Block P5.
Sunday saw Block win his Q3 race, beating out two WRC Champions in the process (Sebastian Loeb and Petter Solberg). The combination of his Saturday results as well as his Q3 win put Block onto the front row of Semi Final 2, which he made his way out of and into the Final. Unfortunately for Block, his final was cut short on the last lap—as he was mid-fight for Hoonigan Racing Division’s potential first-ever double podium—due to clipping a barrier three corners from the finish.
“I’m obviously gutted that I wasn’t able to finish the final as strong as the rest of my weekend,” said Block. “I absolutely love this circuit and coming back here with experience from 2014 was a huge help for me. I feel like I’m finally finding my pace in the Ford Focus RS RX and I also had some great battles on-track against guys like Loeb and Petter. But, that’s racing. I also can’t be too down since my teammate Andreas [Bakkerud] nabbed second in the final and extended his podium streak to four events! It’s still a great weekend overall for us as a team.”
Block is right to be excited about teammate Andreas Bakkerud’s finish. Bakkerud had great pace and performances all weekend long in his Qualifying races and also won Semi Final 1, putting him on the front row of the Final in Loheac. The end result of the final was 2nd overall and it marked the young Norwegian’s fourth podium event in a row.
“This is the best feeling for me,” said Bakkerud. “This team has been giving me a fantastic car every race with the new Ford Focus RS RX and their support has been so important for me in this championship chase. To be able to come to France, have a great weekend of racing for not only myself, but Bossman [Ken Block] also? Incredible. And to end up on the podium again for my fourth event in a row! I’m thrilled with the result and can’t wait until Barcelona in two weeks so I can get back in the car.”
Both Bakkerud and Block now have a two week break before they arrive to Barcelona, Spain, for Round 9 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
TROIS RIVERS, CANADA, AUGUST 8, 2016 — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud earned himself a podium for his third FIA World Rallycross in a row, finishing World RX Canada in 2nd place in his Ford Focus RS RX. This podium finish also improves Bakkerud’s gains on the championship leaders from his 3rd place position and makes the championship points race even more interesting.
Both Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud had respectable outings during Saturdays Q1 and Q2 racing, with Block being 5th fastest overall in Q1 and Bakkerud being 3rd fastest overall. Moving into Q2, Block’s times—as well as those within his group—suffered, due to excessive dust from the dirt sections of the track, a problem that had gotten worse throughout Q2 as the track dried out. Bakkerud ran earlier in the Q2 races (and thus with less dust) and came away with 5th fastest overall. The results wrapping up Saturday’s racing had Bakkerud sitting 3rd overall and Blocks sitting 10th overall heading into Sunday.
Sunday saw both drivers back at it again as they fought for the coveted top 12 positioning to make it into the Semi Finals. Bakkerud had a solid Q3, where he finished 5th overall. Block had a scorching fast Q4, setting down the 3rd fastest lap of the weekend and winning his race, finishing Q4 in 2nd. Bakkerud demonstrated excellent race craft in his Q4 race, maneuvering from 5th place to 1st within the first few turns of lap 1. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken shift linkage on the last lap and fell two places, finishing his Q4 race 3rd and Q4 overall in 10th. Despite that issue though, both HRD drivers made it into the Semi Finals with Bakkerud sitting 6th overall and Block sitting 7th overall.
In Semi Final 1 Block was positioned on the outside of row 2 of the starting grid and got off the line with a quick start. Throughout his Semi, he held on to 3rd place until the last lap, where he suffered a broken steering arm after accidentally clipping the k-rail in a corner, having coming out of an extremely dusty section of track and in the blind. The accident left Block with a DNF and no advancement to the Final.
Bakkerud had a great Semi Final 2, getting off the line quickly and making his way up to 1st place by lap 3 of 6. He held onto that lead the rest of the Semi and earned himself P2 on the front row of the starting grid in the Final.
Right before the final, the skies opened up and a very short, but heavy, rain soaked the track, forcing all drivers to make a very quick decision of if they’d race on slicks or rain tires. Bakkerud chose rain tires, which ended up being the right choice. He was able to pull away from the pack very quickly and held on to first place up until lap 5 when he took the joker. He exited the joker just barely missing holding onto 1st and slipped into 2nd place overall, which is where he ended up finishing in the Final.
“This weekend was challenging for me,” said Bakkerud. “I never felt like I had 100% of the pace needed to get it done, so I’m very pleased with this result! I was able to put together a great Semi Final and then managed to come away with another podium in the Final. Our new Ford Focus RS RX continues to impress me during these races as does our team. I wouldn’t be standing on the podium again if it wasn't for those guys!”
Both Bakkerud and Block will race again the first weekend of September during Round 8 in France.
HÖLJES, SWEDEN, JULY 4, 2016 — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud continued on his streak of making World Rallycross history by winning this past weekend’s event in Höljes, Sweden. The win marks the first-ever back-to-back win for the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car, as well as the first-ever back-to-back win in World RX for Hoonigan Racing Division.
Both Bakkerud and teammate/team boss Ken Block had strong outings at the start of the event in open practice with Bakkerud placing 3rd fastest and Block 4th fastest. However during Saturday’s Qualifying 1 races, both drivers struggled a bit. While Block finished Q1 just inside of the top 12 sitting 11th, Bakkerud suffered two punctures and some mechanical damage, forcing a DNF result. However, in spite of the challenges, Bakkerud went out for Qualifying 2 and finished 2nd overall, placing him in P7 going into Sundays Q3 and Q4 races. Block suffered windshield visibility issues in his Q2 race and unfortunately dropped out of the top 12 heading into Sunday’s racing.
Sunday saw Bakkerud on top form for the “Magic Weekend” as it’s called in Höljes, Sweden. He finished Qualifying 3 in 2nd overall and then outright won all of Qualifying 4, placing him on Pole Position for Semi Final 2. Block attempted to recover from the setbacks of Saturday’s racing, but was unable to break back into the top 12 despite having a very solid Q4 showing (track conditions were once more a factor as Block’s race all ran on rain tires and as conditions improved thereafter, subsequent races ran on slicks making for a large time differential between the first Q4 race and the final Q4 race, pushing Block out of the top 12), narrowly missing out on the Semi Finals.
For Semi Final 2, Bakkerud led off of the line and held that lead for the entire Semi. This netted him a Pole Position for the Final. During the Final, Bakkerud was narrowly beaten off the line going into Turn 1, but drove a tidy and blisteringly fast race despite having 9 time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb on this rear bumper the entire way. He managed to take the overall lead by jokering on the last lap, squeezing past Timmy Hansen and nabbing the checkered flag in 1st overall in the final in front of 44,000 fans.
“I absolutely had an incredible event here in Höljes,” said Bakkerud. “I love this track, I love the fans, I love my Baby Blue supporters, my Hoonigan Racing Division team and especially this Ford Focus RS RX! It’s a dream to be able to win three weeks ago at my home event in Norway and then extend that streak her in Sweden, which feels like a second home to me. It’s incredible!”
The win in Sweden marks the 4th-ever podium in Höljes for Bakkerud and his 2nd-ever outright win at the track. The points he earned also moved him into 3rd place overall in the drivers championship with a 110 total points (Ekström sits first with 142, Solberg second with 137).
“I’m beyond proud of Andreas and his driving here this weekend,” said teammate and team boss Ken Block. “We brought Andreas onto this team this year for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest ones was because we knew he could drive like this. To have him bring home back-to-back wins with this brand-new racecar that we’re still developing is a testament to how skilled he is behind the wheel. And to move up into 3rd overall in the driver championship points with half of the season to go is a huge accomplishment. I wish I could have had a similar weekend myself, I had the speed, I just needed a bit more luck. But, that’s racing.”
Both Bakkerud and Block next compete in Round 7 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Canada, August 6th and 7th.
Fresh for Summer ’16, Ken Block just received a very fun new toy for tearing up his local trails in the summer: an S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie, complete with a custom one-off ultra reflective paint job that’s an homage to the livery he ran on his Ford Fiesta ST RX43 in the most recent Gymkhana video, Gymkhana EIGHT.
The bike itself is one of the hottest new styles in the biking industry. Referred to as a “plus,” it’s essentially a cross between a fat tire bike and a standard bike, coming together to give the rider a lot of air volume in the tires for a smooth ride and massive traction while still being manageable in all situations. Suitable for both cross country trails and downhill race trails, it’s the best bike available for people who want one that’ll do it all.
“I’m continually blown away by Specialized,” said Block. “I absolutely love my downhill bikes from them, but recently I’ve been doing a bit more cross country pedaling with my wife and dogs for some cardio training. To be able to hop on one bike and be able to do that, then occasionally break out and hit a downhill run on the same bike is perfect for me. Plus, the paintwork on this thing is insane, it lights up exactly like my racecar in Gymkhana EIGHT. I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Specialized that worked on this project, it turned out incredible.
Block’s S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie joins a stable of Specialized bikes at Block’s Park City workshop which includes two custom Demo 8 downhill bikes and the infamous “Slidehack” build from last year. If you’re in Park City, Utah, this summer, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Block on the local trails.
HELL, NORWAY, JUNE 12, 2016 — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud made rallycross history today in Hell, Norway, during Round Five of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship by dominating the entire event and bringing home a 1st overall finish.
Bakkerud set numerous records on his outright domination this weekend by winning all four of his Qualifier races (no driver had ever won all four in a weekend previously) and then going on to storm to the top in both his Semi Final and the Final. The overall win was the first-ever for the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car (a racecar that’s still in its first year of competition and development), the first-ever in World RX for Hoonigan Racing Division and the first-ever win at the Norway round of the World Championship by a Norwegian.
“I’m thrilled with how the weekend went for myself,” said Bakkerud. “I really wanted to win last round at Lydden, I felt like I had the pace, but my car had a mechanical issue in the final. This weekend the car ran pretty much perfectly the entire weekend. It felt great, I had good pace and was able to bring home the first-ever win for our new Focus RS RX car. That’s something I’m really proud of! A big thanks to my team, Ford Performance and M-Sport for building us an amazingly capable car, Ken Block for giving me this incredible opportunity and of course to my fans and supporters here in Norway. This win was for all of you!”
While Bakkerud had an all-dominating weekend on the track, his teammate and team boss, Ken Block, had mixed results. He ended up with a pair of 2nd place finishes in his Q1 and Q2 races on Saturday, which left him going into Sunday’s racing sitting within the last slot of the top 12. Unfortunately Block was hampered by a mechanical issue in Qualifier in Q3 and fell two spots, he then suffered a different mechanical failure because of light contact during the first corner of Q4, which put an end to his run at making it into the Semi Finals.
“While my weekend was frustrating, I'm super stoked for Andreas and this team right now,” said Block. “Andreas has a lot of talent and the fact that he was able to put this car—which we’re still developing and have had barely any testing—at the very top of the podium amongst such fierce competition at a very challenging track, well, I’m beyond stoked for him and the team. He did an incredible job and has proven that we’re working with a very potent new racecar. Hopefully my luck turns around for the next round in Sweden and can get back on the podium too!”
With Bakkerud’s win he moves into 5th overall in the driver championship point standings and is only 2 points away from 3rd place. Block and Bakkerud next compete in Round 6 of the World RX Championship, which takes place in Höljes, Sweden, on July 2nd and 3rd.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, JULY 10, 2016 — On Sunday night, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block will smoke the tires of his Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR straight into the homes of 300 million people via this week’s episode of Top Gear.
Earlier this year, Block headed to London, England, with his Hoonicorn to film a segment for the all-new automotive program with friend and new Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc. The pair take a tour of London with Block performing his signature Gymkhana style of driving in never-before-used locations and with unprecedented access throughout the historic and iconic city.
“This project was a ton of fun for me!” said Block. “When Top Gear asked if I’d be interested in basically filming a Gymkhana in London with my good friend Matt LeBlanc as my co-driver and tour guide, I said YES immediately! The access that the production staff secured for this shoot was next level—I was very impressed. The shoot was a ton of fun and Matt was hilarious with his commentary, which makes this a very unique variation of my Gymkhana videos. Hopefully everyone watching enjoys the piece as much as I did whilst filming it.
Shot over the course of four days in and around London, the segment shows Block and LeBlanc visiting iconic locations like Westminster Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Lloyds of London, the Ford plant in Dagenham and more. To see it for yourself, be sure to tune in Sunday evening at 8 PM (BST) on BBC2 or Monday night on BBC America at 9 PM (EDT).
Ken Block is proud to announce that he now has his very own signature vehicle. As one would guess, it’s a Ford product, but perhaps not the kind one would normally associate with the Head Hoonigan in Charge. The vehicle in question? A limited edition—and murdered out—run of M-Sport’s custom Ford Transit van!
Designed by M-Sport in the U.K. to borrow the cosmetic appearance from their highly competitive Ford Fiesta WRC racecars, the Ken Block Edition of the van features custom bodywork, a hand-crafted leather interior and special blacked-out details that carry all the way down to the headlight housings and the Ford badges front and rear. The Transits also come with an enhanced and lowered suspension setup as well as lightweight wheels. To finish out the Ken Block look, these Transits feature unique hits along the vehicle trim that incorporate the livery pattern from Block’s current Ford Focus RS RX racecar as done by international kinetic street artist Felipe Pantone. This look is also carried over into the interior and featured on the seats.
“I’m really stoked with how this collaboration turned out,” said Block. “I always thought that maybe someday I’d have a signature Ford vehicle, but I never thought that it’d be a van! Ha! I really like this thing though, it’s super practical for me since I have a wife and three kids and we travel a ton. This Ford Transit has the look and styling that I like, is fun to drive and manages to hold us and all of our stuff. We’ve been running around Norway in a test unit the last week and a half and I’m blown away by the looks and attention this thing has been getting. Plus my wife and kids like it, so it’s a win-win in my book.”
On sale later this year and available throughout Europe, more details on pricing and sales will be available later this summer.
LYDDEN HILL, UNITED KINGDOM — A third of the way through the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, the combined efforts of the HRD duo of Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud have managed to place the all-new Ford Focus RS RX into a final three out of four rounds; an impressive feat for a brand-new racecar that’s still in development.
On Saturday, both Block and Bakkerud were fast in practice, with Block being second fastest in Practice 1, while Bakkerud was fastest overall in Practice for the day. During Qualifying 2 on Saturday, Bakkerud also managed to set the fastest lap of the day. Both drivers had a solid Saturday. Bakkerud finished the day 3rd overall and Block finished 10th overall, heading into Sunday’s racing in position to advance to the Semi Finals if things went well in Q3 and Q4.
Unfortunately things didn't go according to plan for Block. Block was jammed up in traffic during his Q3 race, which ended up hurting his positioning for making it into the Semi Finals. Bakkerud had similar issues in his Q3. However, both drivers had excellent Q4 races with Block taking 2nd in his and Bakkerud taking 1st in his. For Bakkerud it was good enough to advance to the Semi Finals and put him on Pole Position for Semi Final 2, unfortunately for Block, the slower Q3 race ended up contributing to keeping him just out of the Semi Finals.
In Semi Final 2, Bakkerud drove an excellent race, finishing 2nd and barely missing 1st. This set him up with Position 3 on the starting grid for the Final, which would have been an excellent place to be had he not suffered a mechanical issue off of the line, which kept him from being competitive for the remainder of the final.
“Overall I had a very good weekend,” said Bakkerud. “Sure I’m disappointed to have suffered a mechanical in the final, but I had a great weekend up until that point and had been driving well. The car felt great here at Lydden and was extremely competitive versus the rest of the field. I think we had made some very good improvements to the setup and I think the car overall surprised a lot of other teams here! But, I’m happy that I was able to make it to the final. It’s good proof of what this Focus RS RX is capable of and I think we’ll definitely be able to get it back onto the podium at one of the next races.”
Both Block and Bakkerud now have a weekend off before heading to Hell, Norway, for Round 5 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Hell is in Bakkerud’s home country of Norway and is the track where Block made his World RX debut back in 2014 (an event where he took 3rd overall). Be sure to tune in and see how the HRD duo performs in Hell.