We know Ken Block well. He’s that guy who jumps things in rally cars. After his 171-foot leap of insanity and his snow antics down under, we made him well aware that it would be hard to impress us from this point forward without adding fire…lots of fire. So upon watching this new clip, where Ken rips around El Toro airfield in his Gymkhana car (featured in 0-60 Spring 2008), we were at first disappointed to see all this smoke, but no fire. Then we noticed the guy on the Segway, and while Segways themselves are rather lame, the possiblity of crushing someone riding one is actually a lot cooler than fire. So once again KB, we applaud your efforts and nominate you for Hoon of the year.
Read below for what our man Block had to say about his display and make sure to not only check the video here, but the rest of what Ken has on his site.
1) What was the inspiration behind the concept of the video?
I built this amazing Subaru STI specifically for gymkhana events, but I rarely get time to drive it. So, I had a few spare days in September and decided to rent the El Toro Airfield (in So. Cal) and do some practice and further testing and setup of the car. I brought along the guys from Mad Media (they film at our Rally America races for Subaru) to make a video clip of what I did with the car over those two days. Basically, I set up a fun gymkhana-like course around the airfield and we shot it all to make a video clip for DC.
2) First let’s talk about your car. What have you done to this STI to allow you to drive it like you do?
The major mods are engine performance (tuned by Crawford Performance) and tires/suspension. The car puts out 530WHP and runs on BFG tires and Tein suspension. The setup is really key…the power delivery needs to be powerful yet smooth and the suspension and tire combo needs to be well balanced and not too stiff to let the car move around and be a bit looser than your typical tarmac track setup.
3) Your driving style seems to be a mixture of rally, gymkhana and drifting, explain the difference and similarities between the three and there unique use.
The reason I love gymkhana type courses is that it takes a mix of driving styles to get thru them. I love tarmac rallies, but I rarely get to race them (I have only raced 1 in my whole rally career) and I am always looking to get more seat time and practice in this type of driving. A course like this requires that a driver use the best of their tarmac driving skills (a mix of rally and drifting skills) to get the best lap time.
4) How long did it take to film this segment?
It took two days. There was some down time for shot setups, tire rotation and remounting, plus some time for repairs (I hit a few things).
5) What inspired the use of the Segway?
Doing “donuts” in a car has been around for a long time. AWD cars can do them very well…like a spinning-top. But, that’s a bit basic—as far as driving skills go—so I wanted to try and test my donut skills by using a moving object. So, the best thing I could come up with was a filmer on a drivable barstool. But, we couldn’t find one of those barstools in time so we resorted to the Segway.
6) Were there any Segway casualties?
No! We had a couple of close calls, but nothing serious. And, it only took a few takes to get that one great shot that’s in the clip. Thanks to Josh Martelli (Segway driver and Director of the clip) for stepping up and getting on that thing, and letting me attempt to scrape my front bumper on the side of a moving Segway!
7) So what’s next, when will you add jumps into this spectacular hoon display?
No jumps…well, not yet! But, I would love to do a whole set-up competition (gymkhana on steroids) like this someday. This type of driving and course was really fun and could make a great way to test a group of driver’s skills against each other.