In the Moment: sliding an 833bhp Mustang around LA, CAR+ December 2015

Published: 20 November 2015

► Ken Block tells us how to drift around LA
► His car: a unique 833bhp Mustang
► Don't try this at home!

1) Playground LA

‘It takes a production company with movie-making experience to pull off something like Gymkhana 7. They’ve got great scouts, to find locations and work with the authorities to make it happen. Luckily I don’t have to do any of that. I get to script the run with my team, and then to drive it. It’s two-part fun for me.’

2) A super-soft set-up

‘The suspension set-up is key. I like to drive my Gymkhana cars like you would a rally car on a gravel stage. The set-up is soft so the car moves around, you get more dramatic weight transfer and it’s easy to break the wheels loose. When I brake hard the rear end goes light and I can set it into a drift pretty easily.’

3) 833bhp and no forced induction

‘I don’t need crazy bhp, just useable bhp. I like 600-800bhp and a broad spread of power. [Some engines] give peaky power in a narrow range, but the V8 is flexible with great throttle response. You can baby it around on the torque but there’s a lot of horsepower when you need it.’

4) Handbrake or throttle?

‘A bit of both. I use the handbrake when I want to precisely place the car. I use weight transfer and throttle, which comes back to the set-up and tyres. Pirelli doesn’t make a drift tyre so they made me one from one of their performance moulds using our compound.’

5) All-wheel drive

‘It’s a 4wd powertrain with a centre diff that disengages the rear drive when I use the handbrake, so I can lock the rear wheels without locking up the engine. I can drive around with the handbrake on if I want. It’s a three-pedal set-up. For filming I don’t left-foot brake but if I’m racing for time I’ll do it.’

6) Minimal clocks

‘The important dials are engine temp and rpms – there’s no speedo. The main thing is engine temp. The car doesn’t get a lot of airflow because there’s not a lot of high-speed work, so we’re always concerned with keeping the engine safe. This is the first V8 on a Gymkhana car – it’s a great engine.’

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three