Ken Block dies, motorsport in mourning
This year’s 2023 opener has been tragic news for the motorsport community since we learned last night of Ken Block’s death following a snowmobile accident. He was an American entrepreneur and made a name for himself as one of the co-founders of the shoe brand DC Shoes.
A true car and motorsport enthusiast, he released a series of videos called Gymkhana, in which he performed tricks behind the wheel of rally cars or prototypes of his team’s design.
He made an episode with the new Audi electric prototype, notably at the Montlhéry rings, but also in San Francisco or, more recently, in Las Vegas, which launched its collaboration with the ring firm. Previously, he was a Ford ambassador.
He competed in motorsport with the American brand before making his American Rally Championship debut with Subaru in 2005. It was in 2010 that he drove in the WRC, driving a Ford Focus developed by M-Sport.
WRC, World RX, Pikes Peak…
He built a team around him under the colors of DC Shoes and Monster Energy and also drove a Fiesta WRC. After scoring two points in 2010, he continued in 2011 and made several free runs in the following years, finishing seventh in Mexico in 2013.
At the same time, he became the ambassador of the video game series Colin McRae Rally: Dirt, took up the mantle following the death of the late Colin McRae. The games also featured Ken Block’s cars on the cover, as well as Gymkhana modes.
In 2016, after some promising experiences, it entered the world rallycross championship thanks to the official arrival of Ford in World RX. At the wheel of the all-new Focus RS RX, he had a podium finish, but the program was quickly discontinued.
Also working with Ford, he climbed the famous Pikes Peak behind the wheel of a modified 1965 Mustang RTR called the Hoonicorn. This 1,400-horsepower monster accompanied him in several episodes until the tenth series, which was the subject of a 10-episode mini-series on Amazon Prime Video.
The motorsport world is reacting
Reactions continued to flow through the night and into the morning. Sébastien Loeb, who met him at the World RX tracks, posted a photo of them scoring. “RIP Legend”. McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown a “great loss” and wrote the same as Loeb.
Sebastien Ogier spoke “Visionary, very passionate and inspirational. He knew how to combine motorsport and spectacle like no other. He lived his life to the fullest and I will never forget his smile and laugh.”
Jenson Button said to himself “Shocked by the death of Ken Block. An incredible talent who did so much for our sport. He was a true visionary with his unique style and contagious smile. Our sport has lost one of its best today, but most importantly a fantastic man.”
He praised the M-Sport team that worked with Block throughout the WRC program “a creative driving force helping to redefine our sport”and “the passion for work and sport that captures the imagination of hundreds of millions of people around the world”.
Two of F1’s 2023 drivers, Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargent, paid tribute to his memory and said: “I grew up watching his videos”. Finally, six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon said to himself “disgusting” to lose “Good guy, great talent”.
If Ken Block didn’t have a significant background in motorsport, there’s no denying that he’s a true ambassador for his videos combining performance and sport, his love and passion for cars, motorsports and the history of motor vehicles in all countries. types.
As he always lived, at the beginning of this year 2023, while living at full speed, he lost his life behind the wheel of one of them. The mythical number 43 has passed away, but Ken Block’s legacy will surely outlive him.