Ken Block Goes Hollywood in Gymkhana Four
Gymkhana driver and celebrity Ken Block has a demonstrated knack for flinging obscenely-overpowered small cars at high speed through convoluted gymkhana-style road courses, and his latest creation — Ken Block’s Gymkhana Four; the Hollywood Megamerical — is arguably his most impressive work yet. (Video below.)
I’ve blogged a bit about Ken’s appearance with James May on Top Gear in 2009, and the same formula applies here: Block and company have produced a slick, professionally-edited ten minute bundle of automotive entertainment that has to be seen to be believed. Block’s 650hp Ford Fiesta flies through fake brick walls, has all four wheels leave the ground at several points, and lays down enough black patch to keep tire sponsor Pirelli busy for weeks. The video was filmed on the back lots at Universal Studios, so you’ll see Block fly past memorable bits of movie history — from Jaws to Psycho — throughout the video. And he does donuts around moving forklifts. And drifts around a guy in a gorilla costume on a Segway.
Cool technical bit: High-horsepower turbocharged rally cars like Block’s Fiesta are tuned for maximum performance, so they use lots of fuel under high pressure. The distinctive exhaust backfire and jet of flame you see periodically throughout the video sometimes happens when Block eases up the accelerator, which can cause some unconsumed fuel to pass through the engine and ignite harmlessly on the hot exhaust as it exits.
Granted, this latest video is heavy on enough over-the-top special effects to make Michael Bay envious, but Block’s insane car control ability still shines through. My advice? Crank up the speakers, full-screen this baby and get ready to be entertained.