Both Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud had excellent outings during Day 1 of the 4th round of the 2016 World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill in the UK. Block was 2nd fastest overall in practice 1 at the start of the day, demonstrating that the Ford Focus RS RX chassis had what it took to be quick at what is referred to as “the birthplace of rallycross.”
Bakkerud pulled out even more speed early in the day by being fastest in overall practice for the event. He then stepped it up further during his Q2 race by managing to set not only the fastest lap of the day, but also setting an overall track record for Lydden Hill Race Circuit with a 0.40.989 second lap, further proving that the Focus RS RX is the car to beat this weekend.
“I’m really happy with how today has gone for me,” said Bakkerud. “The car feels great at this track, I’m driving well and I managed to set not only be the fastest in practice, but I also had the fastest lap of the day and set a new course record here at Lydden. Definitely an awesome day in the car, I can’t wait to keep it going tomorrow!”
At the end of the day with both drivers having completed their Q1 and Q2 races, Bakkerud sits 3rd overall and Block sits 10th overall, placing both drivers in a good position to make it through to the Semi Finals during Sunday’s Day 2 Q3 and Q4 racing. To see how they do, be sure to tune in tomorrow.
Coming off of a solid race weekend in Hockenheim the weekend prior where HRD's Ken Block put the all-new Focus RS RX rallycross car on its first-ever podium, Block and teammate Andreas Bakkerud were back for more rallycross action this past weekend in Mettet, Belgium. Unfortunately neither was able to repeat the success found just a week ago.
Both drivers dealt with development issues on their cars throughout the Qualifiers, including both suffering the same electrical issue at the same time in the same place on the track during Q1 (Belgium was the first time the cars had been jumped and unfortunately the compression from the landing jostled the electrical kill switches of the cars, disabling their power and bringing them to an immediate halt on-track).
“Belgium has been a challenging weekend but despite the results I enjoyed it," said Block. "I knew heading into Sunday that we just had to maximize the track time and really use it as a development day. After the kill switch issues that we experienced on day one, as well as my further DNF in Q2, I knew that my chances were pretty slim of getting anywhere near the Semi Final. We’ve actually learned a lot about the car this weekend in terms of jumping it seriously and finding a good setup that deals with the high compression loads as well as still staying stable at speed. As I have said before it’s all part of a longer term program—with my team and Ford Performance—it took guys like Petter and Ekström more than a few races to put together a winning package, so we're pretty happy with the progress we've made. I’m looking forward to racing in the U.K. Lydden Hill shares some similarities between Portugal and Hockenheim so we have a good baseline to work from there.”
The next event for both drivers is Round Four of the 2016 World Rallycross Championship, taking place at Lydden Hill in the U.K. May 28th and 29th.
HOCKENHEIMRING, GERMANY — In just the second event for the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block overcame tough odds and fought his way from just barely making it into the Semi Finals on at the end of Saturday to onto the podium on Sunday, finishing the event 3rd overall—his first podium of the season, the first podium for the Focus RS RX and the first podium for his new World RX team.
Block had a tough weekend, dealing with setup changes during practice and having some mechanical issues and a puncture in his Qualifying sessions. Despite the challenges though, Block snuck into the top 12 at the end of Qualifying 4, earning the final slot in the Semi Finals. Block’s teammate, Andreas Bakkerud was also dealing with mechanical issues during the Qualifying sessions. He too managed to qualify for the Semi Finals, doing one better than Block at 11th overall.
In the Semis, both HRD drivers found themselves starting on the back line of the grid. Bakkerud fought his way up to third overall at one point during Semi Final 1, before losing a driveshaft and falling out of contention to move on to the final. Block battled his way through what may have been one of the greatest Semi Finals in World RX history, working his way from the back of the pack into third and advancing onward to the Final.
In the Final, Block was once again starting on the back of the grid. However, he had a great launch and immediately started to battle for position during turn 1, coming from around the outside, fighting for third and then quickly shuffling to fifth. Coming out of turn 2 and going into a gravel S-turn section of the track, Block overtook Petter Solberg on the outside and then came through sandwiched in-between Liam Doran and Robin Larsson in a three-way battle for 3rd. Block prevailed and immediately started to pull away from the final portion of the S-turn in 3rd overall. He ended up holding that position all the way to the very end, putting the his Ford Focus RS RX onto its first-ever podium finish in just the second competitive event for the new car.
“I’m beyond stoked with my result today,” said Block. “I had some difficulties in getting the car setup the way I like going into this race and then I was dealing with some mechanical issues throughout the race weekend. Fortunately we made some changes that worked and things felt good, I had a bit of luck on my side and I was able to bring home a podium! I owe a huge thank you to my entire team for all of their efforts to get us to here in such a short amount of time. Out of the four World Rallycross events I’ve done so far in my career I’ve managed to end up on the podium twice [Block took 3rd in Norway in 2014], so I’m pretty happy with that ratio right now! I’m gutted for Andreas missing out on the Final due to a mechanical, but that’s racing. He drove amazingly well this weekend, I’m extremely proud of his driving here in Germany.”
“I had a great weekend—despite not getting the result I wanted—I’m still very happy with how things are going so far this season with Ken and this new team,” said Bakkerud. “We’re still developing the car and I had some great moments out there before I was handicapped with the mechanical stuff. Now I'm just waiting for my next chance to prove myself and this car, I can’t wait for Belgium next weekend!”
The HRD duo will be competing in Round 3 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship next weekend in Belgium, Saturday May 14th and Sunday May 15th. Be sure to follow along and see how they do as the season continues.
When it was announced earlier this year that HRD's Ken Block would become a brand ambassador for Can-AM, it was pretty obvious that the HHIC wouldn't keep his Maverick X RS Turbo and Maverick MAX RS Turbo stock for too long.
The two vehicles have two very distinct and separate purposes. Given that Block lives in Utah and has easy access to some of the most insane dirt terrain in America to play with, the focus of his two-door Maverick X RS Turbo was to build upon the speed and capabilities of the factory product and turn it up to 11 for some high-speed desert hoonage. Block had his team at Hoonigan Racing Division equip it with a custom Lonestar Racing roll cage, a Lonestar Racing long travel suspension kit, Dragonfire racing doors, Dragonfire Racing race steering wheel, Can-Am wide flares, Rigid Industries R46 lights, a Lonestar Racing brush guard, custom embroidered seats by Beard and last but not least, one-off custom beadlock fifteen52 Turbomac HD wheels wrapped in Toyo Tires. The end result? One of the freshest and fun to thrash two-door Maverick's on the planet.
For his four-door Maverick MAX RS Turbo, Block headed into a different direction. Knowing that he could make it street legal and register it to drive on the local roads of his hometown in Park City, Utah, Block hammered down in that direction. With the goal of creating something that was not only capable off-road, but of also running his kids to school or to shuttle friends up the mountains during mountain biking sessions, Block had the HRD team modify it with those goals in mind. The MAX RS Turbo received a Can-Am sport roof, doors and windscreen, as well as matching wide flares to his two-door. The four-door also features matching custom embroidered seats by Beard, a North Shore bike rack on back for his Specialized mountain bikes, Rigid Industries R46 lights, matching fifteen52 Turbomac HD wheels shod in Toyo Tires and a Lonestar Racing brush guard to complete the look.
"I'm super stoked on how these two builds turned out," said Block. "Can-Am has such an amazing platform from which to build with these things. The fact that they come turbo from the factory is a huge plus to me since it means I don't have to mess around with a ton of aftermarket engine stuff to have the speed and power that I want right out of the box. My team did a great job upgrading these though. I just wrapped a fun holiday down in Swingarm City, Utah, with my wife and kids and we all had a blast ripping around in the dirt with these. My kids in particular absolutely love getting some air time with me in the four-door MAX RS Turbo!"
MONTALEGRE, PORTUGAL — Building upon his successes during Day 1 of World Rallycross Portugal—initially holding the fastest lap in open practice, winning his Qualifying 1 race (which also happened to be the first-ever competitive outing for the Focus RS RX) and finishing out the day 4th overall in the standings—Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud returned to the track in Portugal on Day 2 with the straightforward goal: make it to the final in his brand-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car. As it would turn out, he did one better than that, making it all the way to the final where he finished 4th overall.
Bakkerud nabbed P3 in both of Sunday’s Qualifiers, which placed him on the front row of Semi-Final 2. After an intense 6 lap battle and some very strategic driving, Bakkerud finished the Semi-Final in 3rd place, advancing himself to the Final.
Starting on the back row of the final, Bakkerud fought his way as best he could to get to the front of the pack, eventually coming away with a 4th overall finish on the event and coming away from the weekend with 20 championship points, which puts him in a tie for 4th overall in the championship after one round.
“I’m extremely proud of Andreas and his driving this weekend,” said teammate and HRD team boss Ken Block. “Ford Performance and M-Sport have delivered us an incredible racecar in the Focus RS RX and while we are still very early in the program, Andreas has gone out there and proven that it’s a highly capable machine despite being so early along in the development process. We still need some time to do more testing, work on different setups and log more seat time, but so far, so good. While I didn’t have as strong of an outing as I would have liked due to some engine programming glitches on Saturday, it feels great to have our team overall still have a good weekend and to see the early capabilities of these new cars. We’re both really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in three weeks at Hockenheim!”
While a recurring engine programming glitch that kept his throttle at 100% open when he’d let off the gas hijacked Block’s weekend, he still managed to demonstrate the potential of the new Focus RS RX by putting up both a second and third place Qualifying race finish over the course of the weekend. Unfortunately, Block missed the final due to having to run in the first group out during the Qualification 4 races when the track was the slowest—a result of slower qualifying times in the earlier Qualification races due to his programming glitch and slower track conditions.
Both Block and Bakkerud will now get ready for Round 2 of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking place in Hockenheim, Germany, the weekend of May 7th.
Montalegre, Portugal: The first day of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship got off to a great start for Hoonigan Racing Division's Andreas Bakkerud and the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car. Bakkerud piloted his Focus to the top of the leader board at the start of Open Practice today in Montelegre, Portugal, setting the fastest time of the 2-hour session for the majority of the session, eventually ending it third fastest overall.
Building on that "first" theme, Bakkerud went out and brought home a win in his Qualifying 1 race, the first-ever actual race competition that the all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car has competed in, which is an impressive feat given how little seat time both he and Block have had in the brand new cars thus far.
Be sure to tune in to Sunday's racing in Portugal to see how both Andreas Bakkerud and Ken Block do in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
MONTALEGRE, PORTUGAL — Known for his unique and distinct liveries, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block is pleased to launch the 2016 Hoonigan Racing by Felipe Pantone race liveries, a collaboration between Block, Hoonigan and kinetic street art artist Felipe Pantone. The first livery is for Block’s all-new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car that he’ll be using to compete in the full 2016 season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. And, since Block now has a teammate, Andreas Bakkerud, that means a second Focus RS RX also receives a unique livery by Felipe Pantone as well.
“I’m really stoked that I was able to partner with Felipe Pantone on this,” said Block. “I’m a huge fan of Felipe’s work and I think it’s awesome that we were able to work together and have him create bespoke art in his signature style for us, that we were then able to translate to both new Ford Focus RS RX racecar, as well as on to Andreas’ car, but that also worked equally well for Hoonigan and my other partners on apparel and product.”
The Hoonigan Racing by Felipe Pantone project is the first time that Block and Hoonigan have partnered with an independent artist on a race livery. Felipe Pantone designed and created eight separate pieces of art over the course of eight days at the Hoonigan Donut Garage in Long Beach, California. The original artworks were laid down on canvas with spray paint before being translated into the digital files used on the car liveries. The partnership with the internationally known graffiti artist brings an exclusive style to both Block and Bakkerud’s cars, as well as to Hoonigan’s associated apparel that’s launching alongside them. A mix of geometric patterns, bold colors and intricate fades, all of Pantone’s artwork is designed to convey speed and motion; perfect for racecar liveries.
“It was really exciting to work on this project,” said Pantone. “My work talks about speed, technology, and the times we are living in, all of which are embodied by the Hoonigan team.”
To see Block and Bakkerud’s new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross cars in action with their Felipe Pantone liveries, be sure to tune in to round 1 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking place this coming weekend in Montelegre, Portugal on Saturday April 16th and Sunday April 17th.
This past week, HRD's Ken Block took to the streets in and around London to film an incredible segment for the new season of Top Gear with new presenter/host/good friend Matt LeBlanc. The plot? A tour of London in Block's 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR with Block driving and LeBlanc attempting to "navigate" while being driven around in full Gymkhana style.
Filming took place over four days with the first two being in central London, hitting locations like Tower Bridge, Westminster Square, past Big Ben, Canary Wharf and even by Buckingham Palace.
"The access that Top Gear scored us was amazing," said Block "never in a million years did I think I'd be able to drive my Hoonicorn through the streets of London. Los Angeles in Gymkhana SEVEN was incredible, but it's L.A. and they film things there all the time. To have streets locked down in central London? Incredible. The photos alone have looked amazing, I can't wait to see how the final film edit turns out."
In addition to central London, Block, LeBlanc and the Top Gear crew filmed scenes out at the local Ford plant in Dagenham, which is a suburb east of the city.
The segment is slated to air during the first half of the upcoming season of Top Gear, with air dates being listed soon.
MEDIA ALERT::: The below press release was sent out by Ford Performance earlier today, helping announce the all new Ford Focus RS RX rallycross car that Hoonigan Racing Division drivers Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud will be competing in during the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship season. Additionally, Block will be using this car for Gymkhana NINE, dropping later this year. For more details and information, check it out below.
Focus RS Confirmed by Ford Performance for Competition in 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship
Ford Focus RS will make its competition debut as Ford’s factory entry in 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship
Ken Blocks Hoonigan Racing Division will field two Focus RS race cars to build on the performance marque’s championship legacy
World Rallycross Championship race car based on all-new global 2016 Ford Focus RS featuring advanced Ford Performance torque vectoring all-wheel drive
Ken Block will be joined by Andreas Bakkerud as his teammate for 2016
DEARBORN, Michigan, March 2, 2016 – Ford’s RS competition legacy continues this season for a new generation of motorsports fans.
Teased at the conclusion of Ken Block’s Gymkhana EIGHT released earlier this week, Ford Performance confirms Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division team will field two factory-supported 2016 Ford Focus RS race cars in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“RS is a worldwide brand with a rich heritage that motorsports enthusiasts know and love,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “Our RS badge has a natural connection to racing, and we have a passionate, dedicated team on the project. We’re excited to honor the history of Rallye Sport by pushing every aspect of performance and design to the limit.”
For more than 50 years, Ford Performance’s Rallye Sport badge has been reserved for racing and production vehicles that push the limits of performance and innovation. Known for aggressive design and pioneering technology, Ford vehicles wearing the RS badge have seen success for decades in stage rally series including winning participation in FIA World Rally Championship with drivers like Björn Waldegård, Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen and Colin McRae.
The Focus RS build is a global collaboration between Ford Performance, Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division and U.K.-based M-Sport. Featuring all-wheel drive, a new EcoBoost® engine producing 600 horsepower, and a 0-60-mph launch time of less than two seconds, Ford Focus RS Rallycross cars are optimized for competition.
Mark Rushbrook, motorsports engineering manager, Ford Performance, says the intention has been to develop a Rallycross car that lives up to the RS badge.
“We’ve dedicated the same level of cutting-edge tools, technical resources and engineering know-how from our Le Mans GT and NASCAR programs, and working with M-Sport brings renowned expertise in rallycross and stage rally vehicle development,” said Rushbrook. “Ken, Andreas Bakkerud and Hoonigan Racing give us insight from the competition and driver perspectives. Our three organizations have a great working relationship, and we’re all looking forward to seeing the Focus RS in action.”
"I'm really happy to be expanding my relationship with Ford Performance," said Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block. "To have official factory support for my race season in 2016 and beyond as I enter the FIA World Rallycross Championship full-time is absolutely incredible. It opens up a ton of powerful resources that myself and my team will be able to benefit from in terms of engineering prowess, research, development and racing experience from different fields. Plus, have you seen the car that they've created for me to go race in? My mind was blown when they showed it to me in Dearborn a few months ago. I absolutely cannot wait to get behind the wheel and start testing."
Malcolm Wilson, OBE, managing director for M-Sport, believes that together, they’ve produced a very special race car. “Working closely with our colleagues at Ford Performance and Hoonigan Racing Division, a huge amount of work has gone into this project,” he said. “It’s been an extremely exciting, rewarding venture – one we hope yields considerable success. I’m confident we have a winning formula for the season ahead.”
A Ford driven by Ford-Autocraft employee Brian Melia was at the birth of rallycross in February 1967 – his Lotus Cortina finishing second in the Lydden Hill event created especially for ITV’s “World of Sport”. The BBC adopted rallycross later that year and the sport’s future was assured, with the first British Rallycross Championship won by Tony Chappell in a factory-prepared Ford Escort Twin Cam in 1968.
The Focus RS Rallycross cars will debut at the FIA World Rallycross event in Portugal, April 15-17, with Block and Bakkerud behind the wheel. The global 12-race series takes place in 11 countries on three continents.
Additional information on the race cars and their development will be coming ahead of the Portugal race.
LOS ANGELES, CA — For the eighth installment in Ken Block’s 350+ million view Gymkhana viral video franchise, Block has taken his smoky, sideways driving style to his most exotic destination yet: Dubai!
Starring Block and an updated version of his world-famous Ford Fiesta ST RX43 rallycross car, Gymkhana EIGHT: Ultimate Exotic Playground; Dubai, is Block’s most cinematic film to-date. Block’s Fiesta also lights up the screen, literally, thanks to a unique, ultra reflective livery that was created specifically for Gymkhana EIGHT (Ultra Reflective Livery Reveal video here: https://youtu.be/8-UEF6OJOT4). It also marks only the second time in Gymkhana history that Block has filmed one of his videos outside of the United States, the first time being Gymkhana THREE when he visited a very unique racetrack in France.
“I realize it sounds cliché to say it, but this is probably my favorite Gymkhana thus far,” said Block. “When XDubai reached out to partner with me as a sponsor last season, one of the things they brought to the table was the ability for us to come and have carte blanche in terms of filming a Gymkhana video in Dubai. The offer was amazing since I had identified Dubai as a location where I’d like to film something a few years prior, so of course I jumped at the opportunity. The fact that we were able to shut down the Sheik Zayed Road for only the second time in the history of Dubai [the road is the main highway in Dubai and has only been fully shut down once previously, when President George W. Bush visited in 2008], have access to a fully shutdown airport runway with a 747 and to be able to film in Burj Park, which is part of the world’s tallest building [the Burj Khalifa] is absolutely awesome. Now would be a great time for me to be able to say a huge heartfelt thank you to the people of Dubai for letting us come and make this awesome video, so, thank you!”
Other features in the film include a Ford Raptor driving-on-two-wheels as an obstacle for Block, the entire Dubai Police Force’s Exotic Cars division on set at all times—and featured as an obstacle at one point—two Ford Performance-related “Easter Eggs,” within the video, a very special set of credits, and much, much more. Plus there’s even a special announcement and preview of a new project car for Ken at the absolute end.
Like the Gymkhana EIGHT, reflective “Stars & Stripes” pattern featured on Block’s Fiesta ST RX43? Livery-inspired gear is now available at hoonigan.com, Zumiez, Tillys and other rad retailers.