Block Buster, Inside Ken Block's Monster Gymkhana Killer
By Mike Kojima, photos by Jeff Naeyaert
So you have made your fortune as a purveyor of an extremely popular shoe and clothing brand. You have torn it up on the rally circuit in the USA and made forays into the world of WRC. Now what? Ken Block is single handedly bringing the sport of Gymkhana back to the mainstream, first with his extremely popular series of Gymkhana viral videos and now with actual events, the first of which we witnessed last weekend at Irwindale raceway.
|Perhaps Tanner is a Block Buster?|
Gymkhana was popular in the United States in the 50's and early 60's but was overshadowed in this country by Autocross. Gymkhana is very similar to Autocross in the way that it requires maneuvering in tight low speed corners, usually defined by cones but it adds elements that require moves from rally racing and drifting as sliding is the fastest way through many of the turns and obstacles in a Gymkhana course. Gymkhana is cool because it uses elements of grip, dirt and drifting. Although it has disappeared in the USA, Gymkhana has stayed popular in Japan. Now Ken Block is bringing it back.
|Car constructor OMSE and engine builder Ultra Motors worked together to develop the 2.0 liter Ford Duratec motor into a reliable and potent power maker. 750 hp and 700 lb/ft of torque @ 60 psi of boost with an 8000 rpm redline.|
Not one to bring a knife to a gunfight, Ken has the ultimate weapon to bring to the show, his Ford Fiesta rallycross car. This car is a marvel of technology with a multitude of state of the art systems. It's something for the car nerd to drool over, drool for a long time. After facing this car in the first Gymkhana we know first hand that it is also an awesome weapon of mass destruction. The Fiesta was built for Block by Olsbergs Motor and Sport Evolution or OMSE for short. OMSE is a highly experienced builder of rally and rallycross machines located in Sweden.
|The induction system has a bunch of expensive and very purple quick release Wiggins clamps and this huge Green Performance air filter which unfortunately hides the really trick turbo and manifold from view.|
In line with the standard MotoIQ tradition, let's skip the pretty pictures and dig right into the heart of the car's guts starting with the engine. The team's PR types were somewhat secretive about some of the car’s specs so we have to make educated guesses about some of them but we will note that. The engine started as a 2 liter Ford Duratec production unit and was massaged by Ultra Motors in the UK. The Duratec is actually a highly developed engine being the basis of many racing systems ranging from Rally, to Touring cars and even the late Formula Atlantic series.
|You can kinda see the rare and elusive Garrett TR30 motorsports turbo here. Only qualified race teams may buy this turbo for a huge price. The turbo was originally developed for WRC restricted engines. On this engine a bigger trim is used on the compressor and turbine. No restrictor need apply here.|