- Ken Block drives a custom-built Fiesta in Gymkhana THREE, the next chapter in the series of Gymkhana videos that have become an internet phenomenon with more than 70 million views, and being named among the Top 10 viral videos by Advertising Age
- Gymkhana THREE features the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta and is the first in the Gymkhana series to feature a Ford vehicle
DEARBORN, 15 September 2010 – Ford’s hot-selling Fiesta is the star in the next chapter of rally driver Ken Block’s Gymkhana video series, which debuted yesterday on You Tube.
Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE Part 2; Ultimate Playground: L’Autodrome, is the latest instalment in the series of Block’s popular online videos. It was filmed at the Autodrome de Montlhéry facility in France and shows the modified Fiesta doing stunts that only Block can deliver.
“When Ford partnered with Ken Block for the Fiesta and WRC rally programmes, the opportunity to participate in projects like Gymkhana THREE was an attractive part of the overall package,” said Jamie Allison, Director Ford North America Motorsports.
“Ken and the Monster World Rally Team have brought the spotlight to Fiesta throughout the rally season and at X Games, but now with the release of Gymkhana THREE, millions more around the world will be able to see how fun it is to drive a Fiesta,” he said.
For Monster World Rally Team driver and DC co-founder Block, the opportunity to push the limits of his car control while manoeuvring around a series of cones and slaloms, and undertaking 180-degree, 360-degree and figure-of-eight turns, all while utilising extreme acceleration, braking and drifting, is the definition of fun.
The Autodrome facility was selected for being able to provide a professional race track, as well as pre-built obstacles that allow for unique stunts, most notably the steep 51-degree banking of the high-speed oval. Gymkhana THREE is also the first in the series to have stunts performed in the rain.
“The great thing about Gymkhana 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. Having done two videos before I knew exactly what I wanted from the car as we built it and I can say that the Fiesta is the best Gymkhana car yet.”
The Gymkhana THREE Fiesta, designed by DC, is emblazoned with similar livery to Block’s Monster World Rally Team Rally America Fiesta and his Focus RS WRC. However, the ‘drip pattern’ livery is larger and more pronounced.
The carbon fibre hydraulic e-brake handle has been changed to a custom-made metal piece, with Block’s Huck Gee skull logo and No. 43 engraved into it. Block’s trademark ’43’ is displayed in the side rear windows.
Built by Olsbergs Motorsport Evolution (MSE), the 1100kg Gymkhana THREE Fiesta sports a purpose-built Olsbergs engine capable of up to 850bhp, but restricted to 650bhp to give Block the torque band needed to control the car. Equipped with Olsbergs MSE Maktrak (magnesium) six-speed paddle-shift sequential transmission, it is capable of 895Nm of torque at 4000 rpm and needs a mere 1.9 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
The car’s body has been altered with an aggressive new front bumper design inspired by road racing cars. It has a carbon splitter, which improves aerodynamics, unlike the rally car’s bumper, which is built for gravel stage durability. The wheel arches are also much wider and more squared off for an aggressive look.
The Gymkhana THREE Fiesta started as a production 2011 Fiesta before going through a conversion by Olsbergs MSE, the same group that runs Block’s Rally America programme.
The production Fiesta is an excellent platform for the Gymkhana car. The nimble ride and ultra-high-strength boron steel body are ideal for the demands of the Gymkhana course. A testament to the Fiesta platform is that it has been designated as the base car for Ford’s all new-challenger for the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.
In his first year with Ford, Block has maintained a high profile. He is currently starring in his second TV commercial in the United States, this time with NASCAR legend Richard Petty and driver A.J. Allmendinger, which highlights Ford’s national promotion ’43 Fiestas’ (43fiestas.com). The 10-week campaign brings together some of Ford’s biggest motorsport personalities in the US into a national broadcast and digital campaign designed to promote the 2011 Ford Fiesta.
“If Ken is involved in a programme, his legions of fans passionately follow whatever he is doing,” said Scott Denby, Ford Racing business manager in the United States. “There aren’t many personalities in pop culture that can generate tens of millions of views on YouTube, let alone personalities in motorsports. Whether through Gymkhana THREE, 43 Fiestas or Rally, Ken’s ability to connect with his audience is unparalleled and Ford is proud to have Ken on our team.”