Ken Block may have passed the torch to Travis Pastrana for Gymkhana 11, but despite the driver swap, the series will be taken back to its roots thanks to the choice of car. From Gymkhana 3 onwards Block’s vessels for tyre-shredding tomfoolery have all been Fords (because marketing), but for the first time since Gymkhana 2, the main four-wheeled star will be a Subaru.
Specifically, it’s a one-off WRX STI, built by Vermont SportsCar, the company that’s looked after Subaru’s US motorsport efforts since 2005. This time, though, there were no rule books to follow. As a result, what Vermont has come up with is willfully bonkers.
The bare carbon fibre body has widened arches, a giant rear diffuser and a prominent rear wing with additional endplates. Of particular interest are the big vents cut into the rear doors - these appear to feed through to a gaping hole in the boot lid.
We say “appear to” as there’s pretty much nothing to go on in terms of technical information at this stage. We do at least know it’s still rocking the traditional Subaru turbocharged boxer-engine, although it would have been a surprise to see anything else providing propulsion. The flat-four barks out its angry rally car-like soundtrack through a short exhaust system that exits through the bonnet.
Speaking of his new ride, Pastrana said:
“This STI is unbelievable! We’ve never had the opportunity to do this before, to build a car with no restrictions. Engine, suspension, aero—everything is unlimited, clean sheet. It’s crazy fast, easy to control and get sideways and it was perfect out of the box in testing. Gymkhana is a new challenge for me but I want to raise the bar, and this is the car to do it.”
Ken Block’s absence for Gymkhana 11 is expected to be a one-off break - he should be back in the cockpit for Gymkhana 12, perhaps in a real version of the Hoonifox Mustang he teased earlier this year.