Two years ago, Ken Block was catapulted to fame nearly as fast as his rally car catapulted through his first Gymkhana video. Capitalizing on the video's popularity online, Block created a follow-up video with a new car that was just as popular, and now he's back with another new car for a third installment, which we're finally getting a chance to see.
As you may also know, Block recently switched allegiances from Subaru to Ford. As you may have guessed, this means he won't be driving a heavily-modified Subaru Impreza WRX in Gymkhana Three, nor will he be driving his WRC Ford Focus RS. As we reported earlier today, Block will instead drive a heavily-modified Ford Fiesta, but not his Rally America Fiesta as we predicted.
Glock has announced now that he's got himself a new Fiesta that's been specially built for Gymkhana Three. Outfitted by Olsbergs Motorsport Evolution, the same company that built the Fiestas that took on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the X Games last year as well as Block's Rally America team, the new car will pack nearly twice the power as the rally car. The purpose-built engine is capable of 850 horsepower but has been dialed back to 650 horsepower to create the power band needed of Gymkhana. With an Olsbergs Maktrak six-speed, paddle-shifted sequential transmission onboard, the 2,425-pound car needs just two seconds to hit 60 mph.
"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," said 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."
The car has, of course, been updated on the outside as well. Block's signature "drip pattern" paint scheme is present, though more prominent than on the rally cars. His trademark number 43 also remains but has been moved from the doors to the rear side windows. Olsbergs has also updated some of the bodywork, adding a new carbon splitter to the lower front fascia to improve aerodynamics and enlarging the fender flares for a meaner stance.
"The great thing about Gymkhana for me is that it is amazingly fun to do," said Block. "It's taking some of the best parts of rally racing and removing a bit of the stress that is involved with competing, allowing me to just go out and play in an amazing car. I can't wait to start filming in the Gymkhana Three 2011 Ford Fiesta. I just did one day of testing in the U.K. with it and it is extremely fun to drive. It has amazing power and control."
Though a short teaser for Gymkhana Three was released earlier today, we're told that the actual video shoot likely won't take place until this summer, followed shortly thereafter by the release of the film. The location remains a mystery, though it's likely to be somewhere in southern California near Block's home base and the locations of the last two videos. Block also won't tell us what new stunts he has in store for the latest installment, but they're sure to be wild and quite smoky. Stay tuned for more...