DEARBORN – Ford Performance driver and Gymkhana video star Ken Block recently hosted a media event that included hot laps in the Hoonitruck – a heavily modified 1977 Ford F-150 used in his latest Gymkhana film. @FordOnline was invited to participate in the ride-along and the lunch that followed at Ford’s Garage, where Block talked about his career and other topics. Below are his abbreviated responses:
Q: What does it mean to you to have support from Ford employees?
“I don’t do this to try and be a celebrity or to get rich. I go out and race cars because I love it. It’s great there are so many fans around the world and I’ve interacted with a lot of Ford employees, so it’s cool to see they genuinely appreciate what I’ve done and been a part of with Ford.”
Q: How has your partnership with Ford helped you in your career?
“One of the great things about working with Ford is that they have such a variety of vehicles to draw from for all the different things I’ve wanted to do. Racing in the World Rally Championship with Focus and Fiesta, being able to bring back an amazing 1960s Mustang like the one we used in Gymkhana 7 – Ford has given me such a broad range of both race vehicles and production vehicles as well as the ability to do it all at the highest level.”
Q: What is it like being from a Ford family?
“My mom and dad were both born in Detroit. No one in my family ever worked for Ford, but my dad was a Ford guy. We had a Maverick at one time. We had various Lincoln vehicles. I grew up with a Ford truck, using it to carry my dirt bike to the track. It’s one of those things that really generates a fond memory as a kid when you grow up in a family that loves a product as much as Ford, and those memories have stuck with me all my life.”
Q: What’s your favorite memory in your father’s 1977 Ford F-150?
“It was one of the first vehicles I ever drove, one of the first I ever slid or did a burnout in. Riding and racing dirt bikes at an amateur level and using that Ford truck to get them to the track really stands out. That ’70s-era F-150 was a big part of my childhood and left a really strong impression.”
Q: What does it mean to you to be able to drive another one?
“It’s more of a dream come true. My dad isn’t alive anymore, so for me, it’s an homage to him to have that truck. I love new cars too, and I drive an F-150 Raptor every day. I love its modern technology and it’s one of the best vehicles I’ve ever driven, but I still love the heritage and simple design of these old vehicles like Mustang and the trucks. Bringing those two vehicles to life in the Hoonicorn and Hoonitruck in my fleet of Gymkhana vehicles is very cool. That truck is really the complete package – one part my dad and one part my modern life as a race car driver and doing Gymkhana. Every time I see that truck, it puts a smile on my face.”
Q: Can you describe being able to incorporate Ford heritage in new vehicles?
“The ’60s Mustang is an iconic rad vehicle. Being able to use it for various projects has been incredible and Ford giving me this opportunity means a lot. The company has made everything from small cars to trucks and vans, which works exceptionally well in that not only is Ford making vehicles to race in, but also the trucks and vans that get my team around the world.”
Q: What did Ford’s 3D-printed intake manifold add to the Hoonitruck?
“The intake is a big part of the process of Ford Performance converting a prototype endurance engine for Ford GT into a performance Gymkhana engine. It’s amazing – the design they put into it and the performance that comes out of it. How they applied the performance side of Ford coupled with the technology they used makes this a really cool, really neat part.”
Gymkhana Vehicle Display at WHQ
Two of the vehicles featured in Ken Block's recent Gymkhana films, the Hoonicorn and the Hoonitruck, were recently on display at Ford World Headquarters.