With Gymkhana EIGHT only one quick weekend away we wanted to recap just how amazing the previous Gymkhana videos have been. What started out with Ken Block out playing in his rally-bred 2006 WRX that had been tuned up to 530hp on an empty old airstrip back in September of 2008 has now morphed into a social media icon called Gymkhana that has close to a Billion (yes billion with a B) views on YouTube alone over the course of 9 main videos in 8 years. After watching even one minute of any one of those videos, you will immediately know why they are so popular. If you’re like me, the first time I saw one of the videos I went ahead and spent multiple hours trying to find every similar video possible.
Block has figured it out, he learned the secret sauce, or the magic potion because this guy is literally living the dream. He very well may have the best job in the entire world. Oh, let me go play in my rally car and get 500 million views on the Internet, as my hobby, in between a full-time racing career in both the World Rally Championship, as well as the up and coming Rally-cross that is gaining in popularity. Plus, he co-founded DC shoes back in 1994 which helped slingshot him into the motorsports world where Ken then went on to become the King of a world that he himself created.
Gymkhana 1: Practice
Here is the first known Gymkhana video that was released in 2008 called “Practice” that started it all. This one is fairly tame compared to the rest of the films, yet still, has some big drifts that leave you wanting more.
They also released a second cut of that “Practice” film, almost like a blooper real but also shows more fancy car control.
Gymkhana 2: The Infomercial
Due to the major and unforeseen success of the first videos, Block decided to step up the production value big time with Gymkhana 2: The Infomercial released in 2009. He used this as an advertisement for his DC clothing company at the time (which he later sold). He gets a brand new, at the time, ’09 WRX that was built by Crawford Performance, who also built the first Gymkhana car but this one has 566 all-wheel drive horsepower.
Gymkhaha 2.1: Block vs. Dyrdek
Like they did with the first video they released, sort of a blooper real, Gymkhana 2.1 featured long-time friend of Block’s and professional Skateboarder turned MTV star, Rob Dyrdek, who is driving a mini version of Ken’s wicked Subbie.
Gymkhana 3: Project
2010 bought us Gymkhana 3 where we say goodbye to the WRX and say hello to the 2011 Ford Fiesta pushing out 660hp. The crew goes overseas, this time, to film at the L’Autrodome which has banked curves that make NASCAR tracks look like they’re flat. Banking as much as 51 degrees on some of the turns caused a unique issue for Block regarding some of the stunts scheduled for the video. Nobody knew how the car was going to react on this one-of-a-kind track until the day of filming when Ken just had to go for it. This is listed as a Part 2, but the Part 1 is just a music video that can be found here.
Gymkhana 4: The Hollywood Megamercial
Gymkhana 4 was easily the biggest production they had done up to that point where they head back to the good ol’ USA, Hollywood California to be specific. Using Hollywood level special effects, Directors, Producers, as well as having Universal Studios as the backdrop, Block goes way over the top with what they called a “megamercial”. They use what appears to be the same 2011 Ford Fiesta used in the previous video although they did change the Livery.
Gymkhana 5: Ultimate Urban Playground, San Francisco
In July of 2012 Block again knocked it out of the park with Gymkhana 5, filmed in San Francisco. He gets a new 2012 Ford Fiesta tuned out to 650+hp just like before, only this car does 0-60 in 1.8 seconds versus a measly 1.9 that the previous Fiesta was able to produce. Guest starring in this film is another long time friend and at one point Subaru Rally Team member, Travis Pastrana, who brings his dirt bike out to have a little fun. If you’ll remember many years ago, Travis won the X-Games gold in San Francisco and proceeded to jump his bike into the bay, so he has a special connection with the city. San Francisco is also where they shot the infamous car chase scene in the 1968 classic Bullitt, starring none other than legendary cool guy Steve McQueen, and so Ken said that he ” wanted to have his way with San Francisco.” You will immediately see that he more than had his way, he made San Francisco “his bitch” I guess you could boldly say as they pretty much shut down the entire city for filming including the heavily trafficked Bay Bridge that connects SF with Oakland.
Gymkhana 6: The Ultimate Gymkhana Grid Course
Late in 2013, the sixth installment of the Gymkhana series was released and this one Block decided to go away from the big fancy productions and go back to the basics with this Grid Style Course. But don’t let that make you think it’s going to be boring when you have three Lambos, a big ass spiked wrecking ball, and some incredibly technical lines that must’ve taken a lot of time and planning in order to make it happen. This is also the first time that Ken starts using that awesome blue in his Livery that now is one of the most popular colors.
Gymkhana 7: Wild in the Streets of Los Angeles
For whatever reason, they skipped a year and didn’t have any new Gymkhana videos in 2014. But then they came out with my personal favorite, Gymkhana 7 “Wild on the Streets of L.A.”. Block doesn’t use one of his highly tuned rally cars that he used in previous videos. Oh no, he comes with one of the best looking RestoMod’d 1965 Mustangs I have ever seen in my life. This is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that has all wheel drive, an 845hp NASCAR V8 engine that sounds absolutely incredible, fully custom fabricated chassis, driveline, and suspension. Literally, everything you can think of has been done to this car. The engine was moved further back into the firewall of the car to help achieve almost perfect weight distribution for what he planned to do with the car. This thing is completely purpose built exactly to Block’s specification with money being no object. Ken named the car “Hoonicorn” based off his one of his companies names, Hoonigan, which sells apparel among many other things. Although it was new to him right up until the filming of Gymkhana 7, he is able to make the car do things that appear as if he had been driving that thing his entire life.
So with the new Gymkhana 8 just a couple days away, we are really excited to see what sort of shenanigans, or I probably should say Hoonigans, that Ken Block and his RX43 will get into. We personally can’t wait to see how they incorporate the Raptors seen in the teasers that have been released.
Gymkhana 8 Released and it was incredible.
If you want to see more about RestoMods check out our post here
Happy To Announce ANOTHER UPDATE:
Gymkhana NINE : Raw Industrial Playground
Gymkhana 9 was released today, September 13, 2016, and it seems like Block went back to his roots on this one. It was originally intended to shoot in Sydney Australia because Block had teamed up with Forza Horizon 3, which I strongly feel will be one of the best racing video games of all time. The game is based in Australia so they thought it would be fitting to have Gymkhana 9 shot there, however police officials felt otherwise and denied permits needed for the massive production. So instead it was taken to the logical second choice, Buffalo , New York at an old abandoned industrial complex. There isn’t a whole lot of crazy stunts here, just hardcore driving at its finest, just how we like it.