Ken Block piloted Ford vehicles for the past decade—and that’s no exaggeration. The co-founder of DC Shoes and executive at Hoonigan Industries (which just merged with Wheel Pros) has made an incredible living winning various motorsport races, sliding around cities in viral Gymkhana YouTube videos, and rebelliously thrilling his cult-like followers—all behind the wheels of Ford Performance race vehicles. Block and Ford went together like peanut butter and jelly.
That’s all in the past now. In case you missed it—and maybe you just didn’t want to believe it—Ken Block and Ford amicably parted ways at the beginning of 2021 after a 10-year partnership that started in 2010. The reason? There’s a chance Ford couldn’t (or just chose not to) afford Block’s Hooning anymore. That news surely makes the Hoonitruck cry, but that’s the way the business world works.
But it didn’t mean Block was done professionally playing with race cars. Block’s future presumably laid in the hands of a suitor willing to pay the price, which turned out to be Audi. Yes, it’s official. While we don’t know all the details, Ken Block and Audi are a thing.
We expect to see the same unleashed Ken with Audi as we did when he was with Ford, with one asterisk that may take some time to get used to. Block’s involvement with Audi will revolve around electric vehicles and pushing the boundaries of electric mobility. Yup, the sound of whirling motors will replace the screaming 1,400-hp Hoonicorn V2 and the tire-killing 914-hp Hoonitruck. Is Audi making Ken a customized, short wheelbase high output e-Tron? Time will tell.
Amazing things can be achieved through electric vehicles, but the sound of silence will take some getting used to—for Block as well. After all, he’s used to driving the most high-strung Ford vehicles out there. But he’s anything but concerned about the future of electrification; he drove an Extreme E Odyssey 21 electric SUV in the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally. According to an interview he gave with Audi:
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of combustion engines, especially the five-cylinder that Audi is so famous for. That’s what I grew up with. Even so, I welcome change and whatever might make me go faster. Of course, I’ll miss the sound of the engine, but there are other ways to enjoy new technology and its sounds. The view that combustion engines are the answer because something would be missing without that growl is wrong. “
The whole interview is worth reading.
So, welcome to the next chapter of the 53-year-old’s illustrious career. Whereas he spent the last chapter behind the wheels of some of the world’s most insane internal combustion engine race cars and trucks, this new chapter will likewise undoubtedly be spent behind the wheels of some of the world’s most innovative electric cars and trucks. Love it or hate it, we’ll all get used to Ken Block’s shift and the supposedly imminent shift into fully electric propulsion.
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