In his latest display of automotive badassery, pro rally driver Ken Block—one of just four Americans ever to score points in the World Rally Championship race series—can be seen thrashing a custom 845-horsepower Mustang around the streets of downtown L.A., pulling doughnuts around cop cars and performing burnouts just feet above the iconic Hollywood sign as a helicopter films overhead. “That area up there is actually controlled by Homeland Security,” says Block. “They said, ‘We can tell you not to do something once. If we have to tell you something twice, we can shoot you.’ “
The video, Gymkhana Seven, is the latest installment in the wildly viral video series (200 million-plus YouTube views) created by and starring Block, the co-founder of megabrand DC Shoes. The clip, geared to promote his latest venture, Hoonigan (for “a person who operates a motor vehicle in an aggressive and unorthodox manner” his site says), a motorsports lifestyle brand, features the kind of brazen but entertaining antics that have made Block, 47, successful both on the track and in business.
On a recent trip to New York, he revealed to us the method in his madness.
You only started racing cars at age 38. How did you progress so quickly?
A lot of people look at car racing and go, “Oh, you just have an engine and it goes fast.” Yeah—but so does everybody else on the track; we’re all in roughly the same equipment. What it’s really about is who can set the car up the best and identify where to be fast or slow on the track to get the fastest lap time. It’s a combination of training and the level of experience you need to be at the top. Plus, I really enjoy that pressure of trying to be a perfectionist.