Video Games

Ken Block’s Lasting Racing Legacy

If you first got acquainted with Ken Block in his collaboration with Codemasters for Colin McRae Dirt 2, released on PC and 7th generation consoles in 2009, you might not know what to make of him at the time. . Touted as the new face of the franchise in early promotional materials, Bullock cut a dramatically different persona on screen than the late Colin McRae. Scott always seemed calm, natural, and reserved. Indoors, wearing sunglasses and surrounded by models of Monster Energy, Brock looked like a contrasting character. A hot dog his hand his grenade set to blow up Codemasters conventions. South Lanarkshire, Scotland, is about to make way for Spring Break swagger in Long Beach, Calif., and Brock is decidedly more US-centric, X Games-inspired rallies to his racing efforts. was positioned as the core part of Dirt 2’s pivot.

Of course, a sideways shift from the strict focus on traditional rallying was Natural movement at that time. Larry is gaining momentum in the United States, and after his famous duel with Extreme his sport’s berserker Travis his Pastrana in 2006, even Colin McRae himself was the true X-Gamer of the time. established himself as a star of At X Games 12, McRae looked poised to take the gold medal in the final event.That is, until Roll the Impreza beautifully on the last jump Landing upright in a cloud of dirt in front of a packed stadium, he furiously crossed the finish line and landed on the floor to claim the silver medal for second place. is a matter of course.

South Lanarkshire, Scotland was giving way to Spring Break swagger in Long Beach, California.


Still, McRae’s tragic death in 2007 definitely left a hole in the rally world and the video games that celebrated it, but I doubt Ken Block was the right person to fill that hole. You can’t help but think that.

But there was a lot more to Ken Block than the early manufactured marketing hoopla ever suggested.

Tragically, Bullock died in a snowmobile accident earlier this month at just 55 years old. The news sent shockwaves through rally, rallycross, extreme sports and even the video game industry. If you’re unfamiliar with him, his story is a fascinating one.

Ken Block’s motorsport career didn’t really take off until 2005, the inaugural season of the Rally America National Championship. Prior to that, throughout his 90s, Brock had found success behind the scenes in his sport. Brandt went from founding Snowboard Magazine to co-founding DC Shoes with Damon Way (brother of his skater Danny Way Pro). While DC Shoes was growing rapidly, Brock was busy raising extreme his sporting superstars from the worlds of skating, snowboarding, surfing, BMX and motocross. Many of these athletes remain household names thanks to promotions like this, but after Quiksilver bought his DC shoes in 2004, Brock took a very impressive twist. I was. He has become a global sports superstar in his own right.

At the age of 37, when most racing drivers have careers of over 20 years and are rapidly approaching retirement, Bullock has been named Rally America’s Rookie of the Year.


Brock’s childhood dream was to become a professional skateboarder or snowboarder, but he also loved Larry. At his age of 37, with most of his drivers racing his 20-plus-year career and rapidly nearing retirement, Bullock was named Rally His America’s Rookie of the Year. He is a 16-time event winner in the series, behind regular collaborator Travis Pastrana (19) and David Higgins (26), who replaced Pastrana with Subaru Rally Team USA in 2011. played.

Brock then made history as the first American to compete in a World Rally Championship and score points, and the WRC recently scrapped 43, the number that appeared on his car throughout his career, as a mark of respect. announced. He also made 20 starts in the World Rallycross Championship and finished on the 3rd place podium twice. Broc wasn’t the fastest on the world stage, but his accomplishments in rallying were just a part of what ultimately made him an international automotive icon.

Block’s gymkhana video of It defined viral automotive video content, with all 10 short films in the series having over 1 billion views. Brock and his team have turned car fun into a package that deftly combines precision driving, insane jumps and wild drifting. He was basically making videos of him skating with cars, but the focus was on representation rather than competition. Few were willing to see Ken his block win the Missouri rally in his Hundred Acre Wood, but tens of millions watched him donut around men on his Segway scooter. As soon as I saw him do it, I was hooked.

first time, DC Shoes: Ken Block Gymkhana Practicearrived in September 2008 and featured Ken Block shredding a decommissioned Air Force base in a rally-bred Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Though modest by his later standards, the original Gymkhana video exploded on the internet. Gymkhana 2 Arrived in less than a year, followed soon by Block’s First appearance of Top Gearthen-host James May called him “a Game Station character who appeared in the real world”. This comment was perhaps more prescient than May realized at the time.

It was then filmed in various locations including Universal Studios, France, Dubai, and the streets of San Francisco (which is being watched). Over 115 million times). Sydney, Australia famously failed to have its own Gymkhana video in time for Forza Horizon 3’s arrival. Bullock and his crew missed the opportunity when they were forced to abandon the shoot due to the involvement of the New South Wales State Police. Now it’s lost forever.

A block that expands the concept of Gymkhana with Climbkhana – Spin-off where he took to Pikes Peak and created one of the most iconic motorsport images of the centuryThe sight of Block’s twin-turbo, 1,400-horsepower, methanol-powered Mustang Hoonicorn perilously close to the edge of a mountain, spraying gravel into an unphotographed abyss is unforgettable. In his October of last year, he ElectricanaFully embrace the future of high-speed driving and shred the Vegas Strip with the all-electric, all-wheel-drive Audi S1 ​​nicknamed the Hoonitron.

The sight of Block’s twin-turbo, 1,400-horsepower, methanol-powered Mustang, Hoonicorn, perilously close to the edge of a mountain, spraying gravel into an unphotographed abyss is unforgettable.


Codemasters integrated Block’s Gymkhana into 2011’s Dirt 3, but Block subsequently parted ways with Codemasters after the follow-up Dirt Showdown, but his influence and influence on video games continued. Brock appears in his 2015 Need for Speed ​​his reboot of Ghost in his game, briefly appearing in covers and cutscenes. Despite Need for Speed ​​2015’s overt first-person, fist-bumping demeanor, Brock fits perfectly in a cast of automotive icons, including Lamborghini tuner Shinichi Moroboshi and Porsche builder Magnus Walker. It was a fit. For all its flaws, Need for Speed ​​2015 is a deep homage to automotive culture, and over the past decade, Ken Block has helped define automotive culture more than anyone else. .

Famous vehicles from the block, such as the Hoonicorn and Hoonitruck, later appeared in many of the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series. If you’ve had a meaningful time in Forza Motorsport 7, or Forza Horizon 3, 4, and 5, chances are very good that you’re behind the wheel of one of the fastest vehicles in the game. It is high. In fact, Brian Scotto, Block and Gymkhana’s creative director, responded to the popularity of his Hoonicorn in Forza, and in 2020 he put together a special video project with the Hoonigan Industries crew. – Aptly dubbed series Life Runway “Hoonicorn vs. The WorldA second series is coming in 2021, produced in partnership with mobile racing game CSR2, continuing the concept but with one twist. Ken Block got out of the driver’s seat for his daughter Leah. Leah followed her father into her sport in motors when she was just 14 years old. when shooting.

This was the Ken Block I admired the most, and from the tributes he received after his death from his friends, peers, and other extreme sports stars, this was the real Ken Block. While I had a lot of respect for creativity and car control in the driver’s seat, Brock was a bit of a nervous dad and seemed happy to be found just hovering. off It was more familiar than the camera. His eagerness to see Li succeed against experienced race drivers was simply contagious.

While his most important legacy is his family, Ken Block also has a strong reputation in the automotive industry, from his impact on rallying in the United States to the success that brought his unmistakable brand of action to mainstream social media. His series of clever collaborations with video games have all helped make his cars some of the most famous race cars of our time. As intended, it will also remain a time capsule for his fans to experience them.

Vale Ken Block. #43 Forever.

Luke is a game editor in IGN’s Sydney office. You can chat with him on Twitter @MrLukeReilly.

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