This winter, Ken Block and a group of friends (Olympic gold medal snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg, Snowboarder of The Year Bode Merrill, Ski-Doo ambassador Carl Kuster and Ski-Doo ambassador Ashley Chaffin) descended upon Powder Mountain in Utah for a few days of backcountry fun.
Mixing it up with both snowboarding and sledding, the group spent three days filming (with breaks for tacos in the backcountry) for a project for Ski-Doo, which will drop later this fall. Be sure to keep an eye out for it when it drops. In the meantime, here are some teasers from the shoot.
If you know HHIC Ken Block, you know that one of his favorite non-racing activities is snowboarding. With an awesome year of pow at his home in Utah, Block was set to have an incredible winter. However, when opportunity knocks, he’s not one to turn it down. An invitation came through for Block and his wife to travel to Hakuba, Japan, to search for powder with legendary pro snowboarder Travis Rice and he jumped on it. Arriving to Japan with a forecast that originally wasn’t super favorable, the snow gods smiled on Block and his crew and they got in a few days of epic powder riding.
Check some all-GoPro follow-cam video of Block in action in Japan, shot by Rice himself:
For most people, that’d be plenty of powder for one winter. But, Block knew there was more to be had and he managed to squeeze in a trip to Baldface Lodge, in Nelson, British Columbia (where he filmed his RaptorTRAXX video a few years ago) with his good friends Todd Richards (ex-pro snowboarder) and Pierre Wikberg (video savant) where together they found even more powder. Definitely an epic winter!
Catch Block doing flips into insanely deep powder at Baldface:
Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud was honored last weekend in Vienna, Switzerland, during the 2016 FIA Awards Ceremony dinner. Bakkerud finished third overall in the 2016 World Rallycross Championship, securing the placement by winning the final round of the race calendar only a weekend earlier in Rosario, Argentina.
The win in Argentina was crucial in Bakkerud’s fight to finish the season third overall. A continuous battle the entire season, he fought hard and drove well all season to enable himself to be in a position to finish the year strong.
Going into the race weekend, only 11 championship points were separating three different drivers fighting for 2nd and 3rd overall. The fight between Bakkerud, last year’s Champion Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson was decided first in the Semi-Finals of Argentina when some bad luck ended Solberg’s chances of advancing to the Final, and then in the Final with Bakkerud finishing the race 1st and Kristofferson 2nd. This put Kristoffersson in 2nd overall for the Championship and Bakkerud tied in points for 3rd with Solberg. But, because Bakkerud won more races than Solberg (3 wins to 2) the tie went to Andreas and thus he took 3rd overall in the Championship.
The placement is impressive on its own, but more so when one considers that 2016 was just the debut season for the racecar that Bakkerud piloted to the podium of the championship: the Ford Focus RS RX—a vehicle that had only had one proper race track test prior to entering Round 1 this year. With three race wins and four other podiums, Bakkerud and his teammate/team boss, Ken Block, proved that the car was competitive right away.
“As his teammate and team boss, I couldn’t be happier for Andreas,” said Block. “What he was able to do with our brand new, barely tested racecar is unbelievably impressive. It’s a testament not only to his driving ability, but also to the engineering prowess that Ford Performance had when designing the Focus RS RX for us to go racing in this season. We were starting from a very challenging place this year, going against competition that had established programs, vehicles and track knowledge in this series. With the help of Ford Performance, M-Sport, my team and of course, Andreas, we were able to prove that we’re serious contenders in this Championship already and we’re only going to improve and get better as we continue. Andreas has made all of us at Hoonigan Racing Division extremely proud this season and I speak for all of us when I say we’re stoked that he was able to represent us so well in Switzerland when gathering his award. With a bit of luck, I’m hopeful that both of us will be there next December!”
ROSARIO, ARGENTINA — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud finished the final round of the 2016 World Rallycross Championship with three trophies on the podium: a 1st place for winning the race, a Monster Energy Supercharge Award for being first to the first corner in the final and a 3rd place in the overall 2016 championship!
The hyper-talented young Norwegian had a solid weekend in Argentina. He finished Q1 on Saturday sitting 4th overall, which set him up well for Q2. Q2 traditionally would have been immediately following Q1 on Saturday, but due to excessive rainstorms in Argentina on Saturday afternoon, Q2 racing was held on Sunday. Bakkerud didn’t let the slight change phase him however, moving up a notch after Q2 racing on Sunday morning into 3rd place overall. Q3 saw him hold that position and then he moved up a notch again after Q4 into 2nd overall.
That 2nd overall out of Q4 set Bakkerud up for P1 on the Grid for Semi-Final 2, which he won, which then set him up for P1 in the Final. Bakkerud got off the line first and straight into the first corner, nabbing the Monster Energy Supercharge award in the process—his first of the season. From there Bakkerud drove perfectly, leading the entire final and bringing home his third overall race win of the season.
“I’m beyond stoked with what Andreas achieved today here in Argentina,” said team boss and teammate Ken Block. “When we started this season with Andreas, we knew he could drive but we also knew it was a development year for us because we had a brand new racecar that had minimal testing. But Andreas has proven that this Ford Focus RS RX has a ton of potential by winning his third race this season with it and in doing so, he also secured third place overall in the 2016 championship! This is WAY beyond our expectations for this car at this point. As his boss, I’m ecstatic and as his teammate I’m equally stoked for him! It’s time to celebrate his accomplishments and then start getting ready to do this all over again in 2017.”
Bakkerud’s team boss and teammate, Ken Block, didn’t have the same fortune as Bakkerud in Argentina. While putting down quick times and winning his race in Q1, he finishing Saturday in 6th overall. Sunday morning he was 3rd fastest in practice, but he ended up being pushed wide in a turn during Q2 and forced into mud from the rains the day prior. While he got out of it eventually, the time that he lost cost him the remainder of the event, setting him up for bad Grid placements and slow Qualifying races.With the 2016 season now brought to a close, both Block and Bakkerud, as well as the entire Hoonigan Racing Division, turn their focus to getting ready for the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship, which kicks off March 31st, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.
Last week, Ken Block debuted his recently upgraded 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR V2, now featuring a twin turbo, methanol power, 1,400 horsepower V8 engine. This week, in conjunction with presenting partner Toyo Tires, the World Rallycross driver is pleased to announce the purpose of the Hoonicorn update: a new film series entitled Climbkhana.
“Climbkhana is the next generation of the Gymkhana series,” says Block. “I’ve long wanted to extend Gymkhana beyond the backdrops it has been living in. As a rally-driver, I have always wanted to mix what I do in the films with stage roads. During a race, I’m focused on being fast and clean through the road, but Climbkhana gives me an outlet to let it all hang out and run it sideways, plus add some additional obstacles along the way. And what better roads than hill climbs, which are essentially uphill stages. And what better Hill Climb to start with than the famous Pikes Peak! Which also happens to be the setting for one of my favorite automotive films, Climb Dance with Ari Vatanen.”
Ken Block’s Hoonigan Media Machine began filming the project this fall at Historic Pikes Peak. Joining Gymkhana creative veteran and Hoonigan’s own Brian Scotto for director duties is Jeff Zwart, a man almost synonymous with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The commercial director, known best for his work with Porsche through RadicalMedia, also holds 3 records and 8 class wins over the 15 times he has raced up the Colorado mountain. The film will be released in Summer 2017.
The announcement of Climbkhana also serves as the launching platform for Toyo’s Proxes R888R tire, which as of today is now available in the U.S. for the first time ever. Specially crafted in advance for Block and his Hoonicorn V2, the 1,400 horsepower machine now sports 295/35/18 Toyo Proxes R888R tires at all four corners, providing Block with the enhanced grip and stability he needs when sliding that much power around famous curves at Pikes Peak like Ari Vatanen while simultaneously providing Block with the tire smoke that he craves when doing power slides and Gymkhana-style maneuvers on the mountain.
Watch the Climbkhana trailer today on Toyo Tires YouTube channel, as well as on the Toyo Tires Facebook page.: facebook.com/ToyoTires
BUXTEHUDE, GERMANY — Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud has managed to keep his hopes alive in the hunt for third-overall in the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship by finishing the final European round of the season at Estering in Germany in third place.
The young Norwegian had a strong weekend overall, being in the top five for pace throughout Saturday’s Q1 and Q2 racing sessions. Heading into Sunday’s Q3 session sitting 4th overall, Bakkerud was set up in a good position to advance onward. However, in Q4, Bakkerud suffered a broken a rear toe link on the first lap of the race, leaving him to drive with three normal wheels and one very unpredictable and broken passenger-side rear wheel. Despite the difficulty—including tapping a few barriers on his way around the circuit due to the mechanical issue—Bakkerud managed to win his Q4 race. Due to the issue however, his overall time suffered, dropping him into P7 heading into the Semi Finals.
For Bakkerud’s teammate and team boss, Ken Block, the weekend was a bit more challenging. Block won his Q1 race on Saturday, despite tricky and slippery conditions that persisted all day. This win initially placed him P7 in the field of 27 entries. However, a bad launch in Q2 cost him a few places and he finished Saturday sitting just within the top 12 at P12. Sunday saw Block hold onto that P12 overall position through his Q3 and Q4 races, placing him into Semi Final 2. However, due to contact with fellow Ford driver Janis Baumanis during the first lap, Block suffered a broken suspension and was forced to retire for the day.
Semi Final 1 saw Bakkerud navigate his way through a tricky group of 5 other drivers and nab a 3rd overall finish, advancing him to the last row of the Final. In the Final, Bakkerud had a great start and managed to weave himself up into P3 midway through turn 1—a notoriously difficult corner at Estering. Despite losing cosmetic pieces of his car and dealing with a leaking exhaust that filled his Ford Focus RS RX with smoke and fumes from lap 1 onward, the Norweigan managed to hold on to that 3rd overall standing all the way across the finish line.
“That was a pretty crazy Final for me,” said Bakkerud. “I managed to get myself from the back of the grid into third and hold on to it the entire race, but it was really, really hard because the car was filling with exhaust and smoke the entire time! I ran out of the car the second I crossed the finish line because I couldn't really breathe, but I wasn’t about to pull over and stop until then! I’m really happy with this finish and it means I’m still technically in the hunt for third overall in the championship. One more race to go in Argentina!”
For both Hoonigan Racing Division drivers there’s one round left in the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, November 26th and 27th in Argentina. Be sure to tune in and see if Bakkerud is able to secure third overall in the 2016 season.
PARK CITY, UTAH — Just when you thought that one of the most iconic custom car builds of the last decade couldn’t get any better, Ken Block and Hoonigan have gone and improved upon the perfection that was Block’s 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR from Gymkhana SEVEN. How you ask? By adding two turbos to the equation and adding methanol.
Dubbed Hoonicorn V2, Block’s updated Mustang now features a fully custom twin-turbo setup that’s force-feeding 21 pounds of boost into a 410 cubic inch (6.7 liter) methanol motor. The end result? 1,400 horsepower at the crank that is then sent to all four wheels in an effort to vaporize Block’s Toyo tires instantly.
“We got approval for a new video concept using the Hoonicorn, but I needed more power for what I needed it to do,” said Block. “So, I developed the concept for the general idea of what I wanted— two turbos sticking out the hood—and handed that over to my team. They came back with a functional way to make that happen and added methanol to get the setup to produce the power that I wanted. We ended up with 1,400 horsepower! Ha, so they may have over delivered a bit—and I’m happy about that!"
Block continues; "When I say that this is the absolute most frightening thing I’ve ever driven, I’m not exaggerating. AT ALL. The motor revs and spins my Toyo tires to destruction so quickly that I can’t change the gears fast enough. It’s genuinely a mind-numbing, crazy experience to try to drive this thing. It’s amazing."
In addition to updating the engine setup in the Hoonicorn, Block and Hoonigan also updated the livery of the vehicle for Block’s all-new video project. Featuring an adaptation of the ever-popular “stars and stripes” theme that originally debuted on Block’s MkII Ford Escort that’s been mixed with a reflective pattern (similar to that seen on Block’s Ford Fiesta RX43 in Gymkhana EIGHT) on top of a gray-to-black fade of the base color from nose to tail. The new look for Hoonicorn V2 is as in-your-face as it gets. New Hoonigan gear will be available soon, inspired by this livery.
So, just what project will Block be using this updated 1,400 horsepower beast in? To find out, make sure to tune in to the Toyo Tires YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/toyotires) on October 18th for a sneak peek.
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.