KEN Block is back, and this time his ‘hoonigan’ antics are likely to leave you breathless and giggling like a child as he tackles one of the world’s toughest roads in the most sideways way possible — with sheer drops mere millimetres away.
Having already slithered his way through the streets of Mexico and along the iconic Route 66 highway, Block has now decided to have a crack at conquering 99 turns of the fearsome “Heaven’s Gate” Tianmen Mountain pass in China.
Regular readers will likely be familiar with the Tianmen Mountain road and how formidable it is, as it’s the one French racing driver Romain Dumas charged up in his pure-electric Volkswagen ID.R prototype hillclimb special in September 2019 — creating a new world record in the process.
Block’s choice of vehicle and driving style mean Dumas’ record run was never in danger of being broken, but the car he used is without doubt an outrageous piece of kit. As if sending a 42-year old, drift-tuned Ford F-150 pick-up truck up the road wasn’t already loopy enough, Block and his team have also fitted the “Hoonitruck” with a 901bhp twin-turbocharged V6 that’s loosely derived from the engine used in the Ford GT endurance racer.
Despite sounding like a lethal combination (especially when you consider how narrow and bumpy the road is), Block manages to survive sliding his insane custom truck up and down the mountain pass, brushing the barriers and the craggy mountain face at times.
In true Gymkhana style, there’s even a short sequence where the former rallycross driver takes a brief respite from drifting up Heaven’s Gate to do some donuts around a slow-moving Segway (ridden by a panda, naturally).
It’s unclear if Ken Block has any more sideways antics on the way but it’s unlikely this is the last we’ll see of his fleet of barmy Hoonigan vehicles, as the brand officially refers to the stunt as the second instalment in its “Climbkhana” series, which began with Block’s attempt in 2017 to drift up the iconic Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in a 1,380bhp, Ford Mustang-based “Hoonicorn“.
Ken Block’s Hoonitruck isn’t the only headline-grabbing Ford at the moment. Just before the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show opened its doors to the press, Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, the first ever pure-electric Mustang model, and the first ever Ford Mustang SUV variant.
While it remains to be seen if Block and his fellow Hoonigans will want to tinker with Ford’s battery-powered Mustang model, the new Mach-E should prove plenty quick enough for the average driver. Ford’s targets for the performance-oriented “GT” model in particular are very out there by family SUV standards: the car maker claims this Mustang Mach-E model will go from 0-62mph in under five seconds, and the quoted outputs of 459bhp and 612 lb ft make this more mainstream model even more powerful than the Ford Mustang GT muscle car, which features a 5-litre V8 engine under the bonnet.