Third version of legendary Gymkhana video will be Ford-powered
This pumped-up Ford Fiesta is legendary sideways artiste Ken Block's latest ride. It's also the car Block will use for a planned third iteration of his spectacular Gymkhana videos - an internet phenomenon that has so far clocked up more than 30 million hits.
Block switched from Subaru to Ford earlier this year, but although he campaigns a Focus WRC car in world championship events and a 'humble' 330bhp Fiesta in the Rally America championship, he has had a rather more special car created for Gymkhana Three.
Built by Olsberg Motorsports Evolution, Block's Gymkhana Fiesta is similar to his rally fiesta, but with a bespoke engine capable of up to 850bhp. This is restricted to 'just' 650bhp in order to give Block the broad torque band he needs to control the car. The car also has a magnesium six-speed paddle-shift sequential transmission, which can channel 660 lb ft of torque at 4000 rpm, and catapult Block from 0-60mph in just 2.0secs.
"Aside from gobs of usable power, the real trick in setting up the Gymkhana Ford Fiesta was building a car for tarmac that handles as if it's on gravel," says Block. "While most tarmac race cars are designed to grip, we need a car that will still react quickly, but handle loose, while still providing complete control; this is a very delicate balance."
You can check out the original video that started everything below, but here's Block on how it all happened: "The whole Gymkhana thing started quite simply. I was looking for a way to get more seat time that involved rally-type driving, and a series for actual Gymkhana racing sprung up in California," says Block. "I built the first car to compete in it, but unfortunately the series folded after only one event. I then had a purpose-built car with nowhere to run it, so I rented El Toro airfield to go have a little fun with my new toy and ended up making a video from the day of practice. Next thing we knew, it exploded on the Internet."