Award Season For Block

Ken Block receives awards from Autoweek and Motor Trend

2015 was, as usual, an exceptionally busy year for HHIC, Ken Block. A season that saw him compete in the full Global Rallycross Championship (which he led in the points standings for the first 10 of 12 rounds and included three 1st place finishes and two other podiums), as well as competing in a handful of stage rally events, including two down in New Zealand (where Block brought home a 1st overall finish at Rally Whangarei). Additionally Block competed at summer X Games in Austin, TX, as well as at the Gymkhana GRID finale in Santa Pod, U.K.

To add to a diverse race program, Block also partook in a lot of marketing initiatives as well. Block helped headline the Clarkson Hammond and May LIVE! shows that took place in Johannesburg, S.A., he helped Need for Speed launch their latest game, he debuted a brand new car (his Gymkhana-focused Ford MkII Escort), he helped unveil the all-new, all wheel-drive, Ford Focus RS for Ford at their international launch event in Cologne, Germany—as well as putting it through the paces up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for Ford alongside his Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR from Gymkhana SEVEN.

Two separate magazines took notice of Block’s over-the-top and insane schedule and offered up acknowledgement for his impacts as an ambassador and advocate for car culture in 2015. First up, Block made Motortrend’s annual “Power List,” for 2015, clocking in at number 32 (up from 47 last year). Motortrend had this to say about Block:

“Block’s driving abilities are insane. But his impact on popular culture is the reason he’s here. Whether in his Gymkhana 850-hp all-wheel-drive ’65 Ford Mustang or during Global Rally Cross, this drifter has found his home as a Ford spokesman and YouTube sensation. His videos garner tens of millions of views. He recently partnered with Ford to help create the Focus RS. All of his skills are on display in a Ford-produced documentary about the car and Block. More important, he connects with a young audience that carmakers around the globe have had a tough time reaching. Block makes that as easy as doing donuts at a donut shop.” (Article here: http://www.motortrend.com/news/2016-power-list-and-the-person-of-the-year/)

Next up, Block took top honors from Autoweek to kick off 2016, leading the pack in their inaugural awards issue. Block was bestowed with their “Car Culture” award. They put it best by saying; “No one has done more to make car culture relevant to people young and old over the past decade.” And, while being exceptionally high praise, is also true. (Article here: http://autoweek.com/article/autoweek-awards/ken-block-2016-autoweek-car-culture-award)

“I’m pleased and blown away by the praise from both outlets in the last few months,” said Block. “I don’t wake up in the morning and set out to earn awards, I wake up and I look at how I can not only go and enjoy myself by being competitive on the track, but also how I can go and find unique, interesting and fun ways to play with my racecars. At the end of the day, we all got into this because we loved cars and we loved having fun with cars. Sometimes that means doing cool stuff off track in a non-competitive way, potentially very sideways and generating a lot of tire smoke. Ha! But it’s awesome to be recognized for being able to mix my personal goals with those of my partners, that feels really good.”

Block isn’t a stranger to receiving awards for his work on and off the track. He’s previously received multiple Golden Pencil awards for his Gymkhana series of viral videos, an “Automotive Inspiration” award from The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles for his contributions to car culture and has even landed “Most Thrilling Driver” awards (2) from the head of the Goodwood Estate, Lord March, in the U.K. during his appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, along with a 40 Under 40 Award from Fortune Magazine earlier in his business career, etc.

Ken Block’S 2015 Global Rallycross Recap

2015 was a season of both highs and lows for Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block. He came into the year fresh off of a second overall finish in the 2014 Global Rallycross Championship (which he missed by only 5 points) and had punctuated the end of that season with a win in Las Vegas. Block capitalized on that good fortune and momentum and carried that into the 2015 GRC season, kicking things off in a big way with a win at the first race of the year.

Block’s first win of the season came at Ft. Lauderdale and it was a great way to set the tone for the year, as well as acted as a bit of a mission statement: Block had almost nabbed the championship in 2014 and he was back with a vengance to try and bring it home in 2015. He left Florida with the win and the points lead.

His next race weekend took him to a doubleheader in Daytona, where he came out of the second race of the weekend with a 2nd place podium finish and continued to build his points lead over the rest of the field. Block then went back-to-back with 1st place finishes in New River and the first race of a doubleheader weekend in Detroit. By this point Block had established a sizeable lead in the championship points race.

The second race in Detroit wasn’t as strong of a finish for Block, but he returned to the podium in Washington D.C. with a very hard-fought 3rd overall finish. However, from that point onward, the remainder of the calendar was a string of DNFs and back of pack finishes due to general bad luck, mechanical issues and vehicle damage sustained in racing incidents from other drivers—like during the final in Las Vegas where Block’s car was so badly damaged from being slammed into by fellow competitors that he was knocked out of the final midway through it.

While the season started with promise—and both Block and his Ford Fiesta ST RX43 displayed the requisite finesse and speed required to win—it ended in a disappointing way. Despite the hardships towards the end, Block’s initial points lead had been so great that he was actually able to retain the championship lead in the standings all the way through the first 10 of 12 rounds of racing.

For 2016, Block plans to continue to compete in rallycross, having hopefully left his bad luck back in 2015.

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.

Gymkhana Grid 2015 The European Gauntlet Final At Santa Pod Raceway

For the fourth year in a row, Monster Energy has organized Gymkhana GRID, The European Gauntlet. The event is one of the most exciting motorsports going on today, featuring head-to-head racing competitions that are held on identical, mirrored courses. Racers are forced to not only race each other on the clock, but to also interact with the course in very specific ways, with certain sections requiring cars to slide and drift in order to not receive time penalties, as well as avoiding contact with obstacles. The 2015 season finale event returned to Santa Pod Raceway in the U.K., the venue that hosted the first European finale four years ago. Monster Energy went bigger and better, securing live broadcasting for the event on television in both the U.K as well as France, and a simultaneous live stream broadcast on their YouTube channel.

The event also marked the public debut of Ken Block and Hoonigan’s latest car build: a 1978 Ford Escort Mk2 RS. The car was driven at the event by fellow Hoonigan driver and top Formula D competitor, Ryan Tuerck, since Block had driving duties behind the wheel of his 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR for the weekend. Tuerck did both the Escort and Block proud by winning his “hero battle” on the final day of competition, a showdown between Tuerck and the winner of the rear wheel-drive Gymkhana GRID class who happened to be Monster athlete Luke Woodham. In fact, Tuerck and the Escort ended up being the fastest rear wheel-drive setup of the entire weekend.

Block was busy all weekend long with media interviews, autograph sessions and media ride alongs, but still managed to put in a handful of laps on Friday’s media day. Saturday saw Block rained out from running (Block’s Hoonicorn RTR features open intakes and has no side windows or windshield wipers, so it’s unable to run safely in the rain) and his Sunday schedule only allowed him to run on the course twice before having to compete in his hero battle. Block ended up racing the all wheel-drive class winner, Dmitrij Sribnyj in his hero battle, narrowly getting beat out by Sribnyi. An unsurprising result given that Block’s Hoonicorn RTR wasn’t built for competition and features far too much horsepower and vehicle size for the slightly smaller-than-normal Gymkhana GRID course setup.

“It was an incredibly fun weekend and I loved watching all the competitors battle it out,” said Block. “Trying to get the massive and overly powerful Hoonicorn around the course was a real challenge today and it's the first time I've properly raced it. Dmitrij had an amazing drive in our one-on-one, so well done to him! He’s been the all wheel-drive class winner every year that Monster has run this event, so he’s definitely been building up the experience required to excel at this. I also think that the turnout for the event was great and it was awesome seeing the thousands of stoked fans respond so well to my two cars. Monster did an awesome job with event once again, so I’m already looking forward to next year’s race. Thanks to Monster for organizing such a great event and to all the fans who came to see us.”

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 hoonigan.com, 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.