Ken Block is presenting his first-ever rear-wheel drive Gymkhana machine, a 1978 Ford Escort Mk2 RS that has undergone extensive mechanical tweaks.
Based on the Ford Escort platform, Block’s car is quite unlike the Escort Mk2s that made history in European rallying. The Gymkhana car was built with one specific goal in mind: to kill tires while quickly navigating obstacles on a challenging Gymkhana course.
From a mechanical point of view, Block’s Escort shares all the best parts of a top-level WRC-spec tarmac build, yet coupled with a specialized suspension setup designed for Gymkhana tricks. The car is powered by a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder Millington engine that generates 333 horses and has an impressive 9,000 rpm redline. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox.
The car’s styling was updated as well, as Block wanted the Escort to be in line with his current fleet of racecars. As a result, the classic Escort got a wider stance and wider arches all around from Japanese widebody designers Rocket Bunny. Borrowing inspiration from Hoonigan Racing’s current RX43 and HFHV Fiestas, the notorious Hoonicorn RTR and other well-known Rocket Bunny designs, the Escort Mk2 features a unique widebody kit, complete with custom two-piece fifteen52 wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber and a flat black and star-spangled paint scheme.
“This Escort Mk2 is special to me, it’s actually my first Ford rally car. I purchased it in 2008. It was designed to compete in tarmac events, but unfortunately those are quite lacking now stateside, so instead of converting it into a gravel machine, I had my team at Hoonigan Racing Division extend on its tarmac capabilities and develop it into the ultimate rear wheel-drive Gymkhana car,” Block said.
The custom Escort Mk2 will be featured in a video project for 2016, most likely Gymkhana 8. If you want to know what you should expect from that video, check out the following shakedown footage of the Gymkhana Escort at the Hoonigan Donut Garage.