It’s been all change for Ken Block this year. First off, he ditched his Ford partnership that had been running since 2010, going back to his old chums at Subaru. And apparently, one (no doubt lucrative) manufacturer contract wasn’t enough for the DC Shoe co-founder turned tyre torturer, as he’s just joined forces with Audi.
Before you get excited about Ken’s next big video featuring a 1000bhp Sport quattro warbling away and spitting flames, we should let you know that the tie-up is solely focused on electric stuff. In the press release’s words, the plan is for Block and Audi to team up for “exclusive joint projects in the field of electric mobility.”
And that’s as much detail as we get for now. As far as we know, none of this affects Block’s ARA (American Rally Association) campaign with Subaru, and we should imagine Gymkhana videos will continue to feature vehicles from the Japanese manufacturer. As a reminder, last time out Block handed over the Gymkhana reins to Travis Pastrana, who thrashed around his hometown of Annapolis in a mad, carbon fibre-bodied Subaru WRX STI with 850bhp. Block will, as far as we know, be back for Gymkhana 12, and probably not in an electric Audi.
He might, however, have a crack at the Dakar Rally. Audi will take on the event with its new RS Q E-Tron (below), and Block would be a headline-grabbing driver to stick behind the wheel. He’s also a dab hand at that kind of driving, having set the third fastest time during his run on the final stage of the event last year in the Extreme E Odyssey 21 prototype. In 2021 he also won the first ever Projekt E rallycross series in Sweden.
Although the partnership is about all things electric, Audi did kindly let Block loose in the legendary Audi Sport quattro S1 and a DTM V8 quattro, plus the electric E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo and an RS E-Tron GT. He was (inevitably) very complimentary about the E-Tron GT, saying that “The design is exquisite with great attention to detail and a perfect finish”. He added, “The driving experience is amazing: the car is incredibly fast and handles very well. The centre of gravity is very low so you can change direction quickly.”
Audi Sport managing director Julius Seebach meanwhile had this to say about the new recruit: “Electrification is a game-changer, just like quattro drive once was. With Ken Block, we’ve got exciting things in store that go perfectly with our strategy.”