The last time I met Ken Block was in downtown Toronto, as part of the Canadian launch of the wicked little Fiesta ST. At that time, I asked the popular extreme driving star what he could possibly think up next, seeing as he and his crew had recently shut down San Francisco to shoot an episode of Gymkhana. Block sort of winced and admitted that Gymkhana 5 was going to be tough to beat, but that he still had some tricks up his sleeve and had scouts working to find even cooler locations to shoot.
One of those tricks turned out to be the mind numbingly cool Hoonicorn Mustang, an all wheel drive, 850 horsepower ’65 Mustang, which Block used to shred in downtown LA. While some thought that Gymkhana 7 was less groundbreaking than the previous editions, there was no denying the awesomeness of the pony car based monstrosity.
Block’s next trick is actually surprisingly mellow in comparison to the Hoonicorn RTR, and yet no less cool. In Block’s stable since 2008, this MKII Ford Escort started life as a tarmac rally car. North American gravel rallies tend to destroy cars, so rather than set the Escort up for rallies on this continent, Block decided to expand upon its tarmac heritage.
Under the bonnet sits a normally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine from British engine builder Millington, which creates 333 horsepower at a screaming 9,000 rpm. That unit is mated to a sequential six speed box on the way to the rear wheels only, just as it originally did. Block conscripted the team from Rocket Bunny to fatten up the visuals outside with ultra wide flares.
Part of the twist with this car is that the Gymkhana Escort will make its first public appearance ahead of the next Gymkhana episode, this weekend at Monster Energy’s Gymkhana GRID Finale in the U.K. After that, it will be driven by a collection of Hoonigan approved drivers for guest spots.
Until then, check out the Gymkhana Escort in action in the Hoonigan Donut Garage.