DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 14, 2010 – Ford’s hot-selling Fiesta is the star in the next chapter of Rally Driver Ken Block’s Gymkhana video series, which debuts today on You Tube.
Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE Part 2; Ultimate Playground: L’Autodrome, is the latest installment in the series of Block’s popular online videos, 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 programs, 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.”
For Monster World Rally Team driver and DC co-founder Block, the opportunity to push the limits of his car control while maneuvering around a series of cones, slaloms, 180-degree and
360-degree and figure-eight turns and other obstacles, all while utilizing extreme acceleration, braking and drifting is pretty much the definition of fun.
The Autodrome facility was selected for both being able to provide a professional racetrack as well as pre-built obstacles that allow for unique stunts, most notably, the steep 51-degree banking of the high-speed oval. The 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 than the rally car’s design.
The carbon fiber hydraulic e-brake handle has been changed to a custom-made metal piece, with Ken’s Huck Gee skull logo and No. 43 engraved into it. While Block’s trademark “43” is on the car, it is not in the standard door location, but displayed in the side rear windows.
Built by Olsbergs Motorsport Evolution (MSE), the 2,425-pound Gymkhana THREE Fiesta sports a purpose-built Olsbergs engine capable of up to 850 brake horsepower, but is restricted to 650 horsepower to give Block the torque band needed to control the car. Equipped with an Olsbergs MSE Maktrak (magnesium) six-speed paddle-shift sequential transmission, it is capable of 660 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 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 fender flares 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 program. The production Fiesta is an excellent platform for the Gymkhana car. The nimble ride and the ultra-high-strength boron steel body are ideal for the demands of the Gymkhana course. A testament to the Fiesta platform is that Fiesta has been designated as Ford’s worldwide rally car in both WRC and Rally America starting in 2011.
In his first year with Ford, Block has maintained a high profile within the Ford Racing program. He is currently starring in his second national TV commercial, this time with NASCAR legend Richard Petty and driver A.J. Allmendinger, which highlights Ford Racing’s national promotion “43 Fiestas” (www.43fiestas.com). The 10-week campaign brings some of Ford Racing’s biggest personalities together into a national broadcast and digital campaign designed to promote the 2011 Ford Fiesta.
“If Ken is involved in a program, his legions of fans passionately follow whatever he is doing,” said Scott Denby, Ford Racing business manager. “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.”