Old school rules: Ken Block’s new Ford Escort Mk2 Gymkhana car

Published: 21 October 2015

► Ken Block's latest toy is a Mk2 Ford Escort
► Build for Gymkhana with 333bhp and rwd
► First public outing in the UK this weekend

If you’re on the internet and you’re looking at car stuff, Ken Block should need no introduction. But just in case, this is a man who’s made a career out of smoking tyres and going sideways – in bespoke Gymkhana videos, world rallying and rallycross. And this is his new ride.

New? Looks like Ken Block’s bought an old Ford Escort to me…

Well, ok – you’ve got us there. Ken Block’s new car is in fact a Mk2 Ford Escort that came off the assembly line back in 1978. He actually bought it in 2008 in proper tarmac rally spec as his first Ford rally car, pre-dating the various highly-tuned Fiestas and the (very loosely) Mustang-based Hoonicorn RTR that usually serve his daily tear-it-up needs.

So what is new about Ken Block’s Ford Escort Mk2 – the paint job?

This is first sight of the Escort’s latest reincarnation. The flat-black and star-spangled colour scheme distracts from a unique wide-arch body kit custom made for Block by the notorious Rocket Bunny tuning house. Just barely housed within these extended confines is what’s described as a WRC-spec build combined with specialist gymkhana suspension. Since gymkhana is largely like an autotest on metabolic steroids, this presumably means lots of steering geometry as well as clever dampers.

Unlike the all-wheel drive Hoonicorn, the Escort retains its traditional rear-wheel drive layout. Turning that back rubber is a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder ‘Millington’ motor producing 333bhp and revving to a screaming 9000rpm. Shifting gears is a six-speed sequential ’box.

The project was the combined work of Block’s own team within the Hoonigan Racing Division and Quick Motorsport in the UK.

What’s the plan for Ken Block’s Mk2 Ford Escort now?

The Escort gets its first public outing at the Monster Energy Gymkhana GRiD Finale at Santa Pod this weekend (24-25 October) – yep, that’s right here, in the UK. Beyond that there are planned appearances with various guest drivers in the coming months, ahead of a starring role in the next Ken Block Gymkhana video in 2016.

There’s a taste of the action to come in the brief shakedown vid below. If you're a member of the International Tyre Protection League, look away now.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count