Ken Block, if you don’t know, is a professional rally driver with the Hoonigan Racing Division, oh and he has a serious penchant for going sideways.
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The 47 year-old is famous for his participation in rally cross competitions and the Gymkhana series of drift videos. That’s not all, though. He has his fingers in a few pies does our Ken. He’s the co-founder of DC Shoes (even though he has now sold his shares) and he’s even competed in sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding and motocross. More than enough for us to grill the hoonigan himself (not literally) at this year’s Dubai International Motor Show.
Hi Ken, it’s great to finally meet you. On to the good stuff, though. How exactly did the Hoonicorn_RTR project come about?
“Nice to meet you too! I’ve actually done four or five Gymkhanas in a Fiesta and I wanted to do something different. I’m a big fan of the 60s muscle era and I thought we could do something really different by putting an all-wheel-drive system in it. The visuals of that would look completely different, seeing an old Mustang moving like that. It was just a fun concept idea to take an old vehicle and fill it with modern technology.”
“The biggest project I’ve been involved in for the past year and a half has been helping Ford develop the production Focus RS and it’s been a great project to be involved in. It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in the production of a car, its all been race cars in the past. So in the next year I’ll have some project cars with the Focus RS.”
So which is your favourite?
“The Mustang. I love the punchiness of the Fiesta racecar, with its 2-litre turbo and amazing set-up reaching 0-100kph in less than two seconds. But, the Mustang is just so much fun to drive.”
So far we’ve focused on the Gymkhana, but what exactly got you into rallying and drifting?
“As a kid, I was a big fan of stage rally and watching the cars slide. That’s really what inspired me in the 80s, since rally cars were really the only things that slid around in an aggressive fashion. All of my skills have come from AWD stage rally and expanding those skills over time.”
What tips have you got for those hoping to get into drifting then?
“Probably the best tip I can give anyone is to go to a professional drift school and learn how to properly do it. Whether it’s RWD or AWD, there’s a lot to learn and it’s best to learn from an expert. The next thing would be to start off with a basic car. No matter what you’re doing, start small and cheap and work your way up as your skills improve.”
Maybe you can help them now: what’s the best set-up?!
“For drift competitions it’s rear-wheel drive. But, of course, I don’t do any of that. For competing in Gymkhana, I use all-wheel drive.”
Why specifically AWD for gymkhana?
“I find it’s faster and more controlled. If you watch a drift video compared to my videos it’s a quicker car, since we have all four wheels turning at the same time.”
Any plans to expand the Hoonigan Racing Division beyond the US?
“Yeah, definitely! The Hoonigan brand is still quite small, but as it grows yeah we will expand all over the world.”
So there’s been quite a lot of interest from other parts of the world, then?
“Absolutely. We celebrate having fun with cars whereas a lot of divisions of drifting are quite serious because there’s a lot of money involved. We just try and have as much fun with it as we can.”
Just to finish up, have you any interest in competing in high speed drifting like Group B?
“No, not really. My main thing these days is RallyCross. I’ve just finished the global rally cross championship, of which I led for most of the year but had some really bad luck toward the end of it. So I still do some Stage Rally and Gymkhana, and hopefully I can continue that next year.”
Cheers for your time, Ken. Until we meet again!