Maaaaan I love Ken Block! He's brilliant, the best ambassador for a brand and a sport that you can get. I've often chatted to people about his Gymkhana series of videos and every now and then some chop will argue that Ken can't really drive that well because the guys do a million takes and bla bla bla. This kind of foolishness really, REALLY bugs me. Of course there are lots of takes, just like with any movie. No one bitches about all the takes needed in their favourite blockbuster do they? Ed Zachary. So shut up!
It's also around this time that I bust out the trusty Samsung and show the arguing idiot that I've actually met Ken and that he's a really nice guy. Straight after that I flip to the videos folder in my phone and (carefully, there's some dodgy stuff on there) proceed to show off the video of me going for a drive with Ken in his absolutely mental Ford Fiesta. That day, Ken took journos from around the world on the same track I went on and he did so without a single problem. He must have sent at least 20 sets of tyres to the rubbish dump, so if the man had no skills, the law of averages says that he should have wiped out with one of us in the car. Many top drivers that I know would have at least clipped a curb or wall. Sure, I know it sounds like I wanna have his man-babies, but I'm serious, the man has skills yo!
Anyhoo, the seventh installment of the Gymkhana series was released yesterday, and yeah, it's proved just as popular again, probably even moreso. I know that when I started watching a freaking four-wheel drive 1964 Ford Mustang doing a burnout, my goosebumps had goosebumps! I've watched it a few times already, and I guess others have too. When I saw it yesterday, there were only 287 views on it. I just checked now and it's got 5.1 million views. In less than 24-hours! If you haven't seen it, check it out in the YouTube link below. Hell, if you have seen it, check out the link below! The 845hp Mustang has been dubbed 'The Hoonicorn" and is quite possible the coolest mustang on the planet right now. There were so many parts of the run that were almost identical to the gameplay in Need 4 Speed, too damn cool!
The video, Gymkhana SEVEN: Wild in the Streets; Los Angeles—presented by Hoonigan, Ford and Need For Speed: No Limits— brings the franchise back to the style of a full-city takeover as last seen during the 68+ million view Gymkhana FIVE’s San Francisco assault by going completely wild in the streets in and around Los Angeles.
L.A.’s finest, aka the police, provided the route for Block, as they cordoned off intersections and guided the H.H.I.C. and his Mustang in and around Los Angeles. The goal however, was not to for Block to take the fastest route from point A to point B, but to instead fully exploit the question every car guy has asked himself of: “what would you do if the police shut down the streets for you?” For Block, that meant having the absolute most fun possible and driving in the wildest style imaginable.
The star of the video isn’t just Block and his driving however. For Gymkhana SEVEN Block determined that he needed a brand-new, one-of-a-kind vehicle. That car? A fully custom 1965 all wheel-drive Ford Mustang notchback featuring an 845hp Ford V8 from Roush Yates and a Dakar-spec all wheel-drive transmission from Sadev. It’s the only performance all wheel-drive in the world and built in collaboration with Vaughn Gittin Jr’s RTR tuning brand, the car—affectionately dubbed “the Hoonicorn” by Block and his team—is an absolute beast on the streets of Los Angeles, decimating tires and bursting eardrums as Block lays down some of his most precise and aggressive driving to-date.
“I’ve done Gymkhana-style driving in quite a few cars over years,” said Block. “But by far, this car is hands-down the best I’ve ever driven for this type of driving. The instant torque and power from that V8 is absolutely intoxicating and it basically vaporizes the tires the second I get into the throttle. It’s also completely insane to me when I see the footage of this car being chained to a wall and doing an all-wheel drive burnout. I’m beyond stoked with how not only the car turned out, but also this video. I honestly feel this is my best Gymkhana video yet and I’d like to thank the city of Los Angeles for allowing me to borrow their streets for a few days!”
In addition to the all-new car for the video, Gymkhana SEVEN: Wild in the Streets; Los Angeles truly takes the “wild” ethos seriously, with Block absolutely capitalizing on the fact that some of the most congested roadways in America were shut down for him to create his latest video. Featuring some of the most over-the-top, insanely smoky moves yet, viewers will continually have their jaws agape at how absolutely out-of-control it all appears while simultaneously cringing on the edge of their seat as they realize how close some of the proximity tricks are. The video was filmed over five days in early October 2014 and it hits an assortment of iconic Los Angeles locations including downtown L.A., Randy’s Donuts, the L.A. freeways, the 6th street bridge, Chinatown, the L.A. river and, perhaps most iconic of all, the Hollywood sign.
“The access to locations for this project was incredible,” said Block. “Obviously the film commission in Los Angeles is quite good and accustomed to working with projects that involve driving all the time. However this was the first and only time that anyone has done actual live-action driving and filming at the top of the Hollywood sign—some of the permissions we had to obtain from the Department of Homeland Security were intense!”
With Hoonigan being the title sponsor for the video, the apparel brand has also created a unique Gymkhana SEVEN-themed apparel pack that builds upon the look of the Hoonicorn and helps brings that styling directly to the fans. The pack is available nationwide at all Zumiez store locations, as well as online at www.hoonigan.com.
For some really awesome shots of things that happened behind the scenes, head on over to SpeedHunters. Larry Chen was at the shoot and documented it like the pro he is.
Author: Chris Wall
A slightly tattooed motoring fanatic, photography nut and avid collector of knowledge. Use the search bar to navigate through the archives.