Ken Block has returned Gymkhana to its roots for the ninth installment in the series. After last year’s big-budget production that toured the city of Dubai, he chose the grittier environs of Buffalo, New York as the setting for Gymkhana 9: Raw Industrial Playground.
“I really wanted to bring Nine back to the core roots of my earlier Gymkhana videos,” Block said. “The full city takeovers are a ton of fun, but we felt it was time to get back to the basics, especially with the new Ford Focus RS RX. We really wanted to let it shine and be the star in this video since it has so much useable power and control.”
600 horsepower (448 kilowatts) and 660 pound-feet of torque (894 Newton meters), to be exact. Designed and built in the UK by World Rally Championship team M-Sport, the Focus RS RX has already taken two wins in its first season of competition in the World Rallycross Championship. Norwegian ace Andreas Bakkerud took both victories, while Block has managed a best finish of third.
The film starts in Buffalo’s magnificent, disused Central Terminal railway station and tours the industrial areas of the city, including warehouses and the waterfront. Indeed, it’s on the waterfront that Block performs what will surely be remembered as one of the best stunts of the entire series.
Block has also borrowed a couple of stunts from the production’s backer, Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 3: drifting in front of a moving train and donuting around a Ford Raptor dangling from a helicopter.
“The great thing about these videos, everything I do with the car, everything we capture on camera is all real, live action,” Block added. “We may do a few takes to get all of the angles covered or to get the timing more dialed, but at the end of the day it’s all actual driving, nothing is faked.”
Including the pay-off, the like of which you won’t have seen before. “It all worked out amazingly and I couldn’t be more stoked on how this video turned out,” Block concluded.
Now sit back, enjoy and, of course, don’t try this at home!