When Ken Block breaks the internet with Gymkhana 8 on February 29, he'll do it in this ultra reflective Ford Fiesta.
Ford Fiesta Videos
It's always amazing to see how different kinds of racecars are made. Formula One racers are often constructed in modern architectural marvels that hint at some of the cutting-edge technology going into the racing. Conversely, rallying is all about sliding around on a varied course as fast as possible, but it often leaves a vehicle caked in mud. So it makes some sense Olsbergs MSE, or simply (OMSE) rally car shop in Nynashamn, Sweden, shows technological sophistication in a more down-to-earth set
Regardless of what you think of his skill as a racer, Ken Block is an expert showman. At this point, he has a career of showing up around the world to do vehicular stunts, and he's still able to go racing as well. It's a pretty sweet niche to carve out. Recently, Block was in Barbados to participate in Top Gear Live and the first event of the Global Rallycross Championship season, and Ford Racing produced a short video to show off his exploits.
Rallycross is seeing a sudden surge in popularity with two series bringing the racing to the US and Europe. The Ford OMSE team is competing in both championships this season, and it saw no reason not to hold practice with a highly modified Fiesta in the snow of Northern Sweden. It brought together Andreas Bakkerud from the European-focused FIA World Rallycross Championship and Patrik Sandell from the North American-focused Global Rallycross series for some training and fun. They certainly appear
Ken Block became famous for his series of Gymkhana videos, but he's a real racer in his own right. Block has competed many rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship and also rallied in the 2013 Rally America series. He nearly won that latter title last year – if not for a massive crash in the final event of the season.
The V8 grunt of the Mustang has defined Ford performance cars in the US for the last 50 years, but in Europe, the Blue Oval has nearly as a long history of building some of the best hot hatches on the market with the Fiesta, Escort and later the Focus. The latest Fiesta ST has just hit the roads on both sides of the pond and has been enthusiastically received thanks to its combination of a peppy, turbocharged engine and hatchback utility.
You know who you are. There's probably a few of you reading; the ones that say, "Why would I spend $27,000 on a new Mazda MX-5 when I could get a used Chevrolet Corvette with more power." Yes, we're talking to you, used car proponents. While it is a fair argument, it's not like used cars don't come with drawbacks of their own, though.
This radio-controlled tribute to Ken Block's Gymkahana 6 is half the length but perhaps twice as hard. HPI racing makes R/C car kits, and to announce their officially licensed version of Block's World Rally Championship Ford Fiesta, they laid out a track mimicking stunts from the most recent drift-o-matic obstacle course.
The one-man band is a rather ridiculous idea, drawing up images of one person attempting to manipulate several instruments, at once, in a vain attempt at creating music. It's usually represented by silly scenes like this. Interestingly, the concept isn't much more successful when the "man" in "one-man band" is replaced with "car," as we see in this video.
If there's one thing we'll say about Ken Block and his latest installment in the Gymkhana family, it's that it's far more structured than previous videos, but that doesn't mean it skimps on the entertainment. Block is on a purpose-built course which was touted as "The... Ultimate... Gymkhana... Grid... Course" in last week's preview. Unlike Gymkhana 5, which took placed on closed streets in San Francisco, this course seems much more compact.
Evo and host Henry Catchpole were thinking of excuses reasons to borrow the bonkers Ford Fiesta R5 rally car for a day or two, when it struck them: the car is street legal. With access to the R5, some of the world's most beautiful driving roads in the English Lake Country nearby, and a handy video crewing hanging around, the plan seemed to write itself.
Vehicle performance tests are serious business, with reputations made or broken by things like braking distance, top speed, and lateral g-forces. King of the metrics, though, is the 0-60 run, which for unknown reasons has become the benchmark for what truly makes a car a performance machine.
On the surface, there's very little that the Ford Fiesta ST and Toyota GT86 (or the Scion FR-S that is sold in the US, or the largely similar Subaru BRZ) share in common. One is a hatchback with power coming from a turbocharged engine routed to the front wheels. The other is a coupe with power coming from a naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine routed to the rear wheels.
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