Ken keeps raising the bar and it's been getting hard to top his previous videos but he does it yet again with Gymkhana Four. In this installment, the Hollywood Megamercial, he flies around Hollywood sets with pyrotechnics and a few spoof walls and pro BMX rider Kelly Bolton in a sasquatch suit standing on a ladder... Check it out.
Ken Block this week released his fourth "Gymkhana" video, which like the others is bound to go viral and provide vicarious thrills for thousands of motor sports fans. Unlike the others, this was a big-budget Hollywood-style production filmed on the tour route at Universal Studios, presented as a tire-screeching romp in the midst of iconic movie backdrops, enhanced by special effects. (see preview of "Gymkhana FOUR" below.)
Gymkhana is sort of a cross between rally-car racing and drifting, on tracks that feature absurdly tight corners and require lots of sideways driving. Block, co-founder of DC Shoes and a rally-racing star, refers to his brand of driving for the series as "Gymkhana on steroids."
In "Gymkhana FOUR," Block can be seen drifting past the famous clock tower from "Back to the Future," and screeching through "Psycho's" Bates Motel; through Whoville and past the giant shark in "Jaws."
The production, directed by Ben Conrad, required five days of filming. The pyrotechnics and other special effects complement Block's incredible driving skills.
"With each Gymkhana film, we've raised the bar, making it tougher and tougher to outdo ourselves," Block said. "So we opted to go over the top on 'FOUR' with a big Hollywood production, and Universal Studios provided the perfect place for it. The back lots provided real-life obstacles, plus an extremely varied collection of settings all just minutes from each other. Gymkhana FOUR is the most ridiculous film we've done yet, but it's also packed with some of the hardest and most dangerous driving I have done in these films."
Block drove a 2011 Ford Fiesta that boasts 600 horsepower and 665 feet of torque, with a six-speed transmission connected to an all-wheel-drive system. It covered zero to 60 mph in a remarkable 1.9 seconds.
Now that "Gymkhana FOUR" is complete, however, the car will be transformed for use in Stage Rally, Rallycross and Gymkhana competitions. After what Block just went through, those competitions may seem boring by comparison.
You can watch the full version of "Gymkhana FOUR" at DCshoes.com by clicking here.
How else would you expect Travis Pastrana to reveal his latest rally car for X Games 17?
Three lovely "senior" ladies seductively dancing around the car wearing next to nothing. Makes sense right?
Pastrana's decided why not attempt to do the Ken Block formula for a successful viral video. Hot Chicks + Cool Car = maximum views.
The clip is a major spoof of his boss and fellow competitor Ken Block's viral video success. Mad Media, the crew behind the viral Gymkhana sensations, helped Pastrana with his spoof video directly mocking the one Block made revealing is 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC rally car.
According to Race-Dezert.com this all started back when Block threw down the gauntlet last year when he teased Travis about racing NASCAR. In response Travis has now vowed to beat Ken at this years X Games.
With the overwhelming populairty of the Gymkhana series, it's easy to see why people view Ken Block strictly as a viral sensation, but Ken has been very clear, he's way more than that.
Putting aside all that he has done for action sports with his brand DC shoes, and the Gymkhana series which fell in his lap and he was smart enough to take advantage of it, Ken's real passion is racing and that what he attends to get better at. Ken's been putting in a worksmen like effort on the World Rally Championships for a few years now with little success but after his most recent finish in Spain, there's reason to believe he can start winning.
This past weekend Block and his teammate Alex Gelsomino finished 9th, their best WRC race to date resulting in their first points this season, the first American to earn points in decades. Block is currently 23rd out of 25 teams on the WRC standings, but is excited after regestering his first points this year.
While Block looks to build on this result in the future, hopefully solidifying himself amongst the other drivers on the WRC, he hasn't forgotten about what makes him so popular as evidence of the top 5 fan videos from Spain on the Monster Rally Fan Page. Block took some time around the fan friendly corners to show off some classic Gymkhana moves.
Photo courtesy of Monster World Rally Team
Auto-racing fans should get used to the word Gymkhana, which according to Ken Block will soon blossom into a popular form of motor sports competition in North America.
"I'd like to see Gymkhana Grid become a serious series in the next year or two, one that has multiple races nationwide," he said of a series that will launch in early December. "Our goal with the Gymkhana Grid series is to make this motor sport bigger here, with an American flair -- more smoke, more power, more speed."
Gymkhana is a Hindi term used to describe a sport that tests the ability of competitors to negotiate a pre-designed route boasting a complex design. As a motor sport it's essentially a cross between rally-car racing and drifting, featuring absurdly tight corners and sideways driving on steeply-banked turns.
"What I do is actually more like Gymkhana on steroids," Block said, in reference to his wildly popular Gymkhana videos, which showcase the driver in a dizzying display of car-handling and provides viewers with a faint -- extra emphasis on the term faint -- perspective of what it's like to be behind the wheel of a souped-up rally car.
Block, a rally-racing star and co-founder of DC Shoes, knew he was onto something when the "Gymkhana Practice" video he released in 2008 went viral on the Internet.
"I honestly am just blown away that people are so interested and like these videos so much," he said.
Gymkhana races are held outside the United States, notably Japan. Block will stage the first U.S. competition, the Gymkhana Grid Ken Block Invitational, on Dec. 3 and 4 at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.
The idea for a competitive race series came about because of the success of the videos.
Block's second Gymkhana video installment, a DC infomercial with a much stronger effort put into its production, made Advertising Age magazine's list of top 10 viral ads of all-time. Before the Sept. 14 release of the third installment -- in two parts -- Block's videos had been viewed more than 70 million times.
The latest, "Gymkhana Three, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France," has been viewed by about 9 million people since the Sept. 14 release.
Presumably, its audience became duly inspired for their work commutes. The stunts "are without a doubt the craziest stuff I have ever attempted behind the wheel," Block said. "We knew in order to out-do the previous films, we'd really have to take it to the next level."
Did Block achieve his goal? Give the videos a look and judge for yourself.