Rally superstar Ken Block is returning to his roots.
The American announced in January that he would part company with Ford after 10 years of exclusive partnership, and enjoy “freelance” status in 2021. Now he’s unveiled not one, but two new rides for this season, including a return to the car that first made him an automotive star – the Subaru WRX STI.
But he’ll also compete in the East African Safari Classic Rally behind the wheel of a specially-prepared Porsche 911. He’s also set to take part in the Baja 1000 off-road race in a Trophy Truck but hasn’t revealed what he’ll be driving and with who.
The Subaru will be the main vehicle of choice, creating a reunion with the brand that he first ‘broke the internet’ with when he released his now iconic ‘Gymkhana Practice and Testing’ video on YouTube. Block will race an all-new WRX STI in the American Rally Championship alongside fellow Gymkhana star Travis Pastrana. Block competed in the opening round of the series in a Skoda Fabia R5 and finished second, but will be in the Subaru for the next event, Rally Olympus next weekend (April 24-25).
“Beyond stoked to be back in a rally car full-time this year, and having it be in a Subaru again, it’s got a nice symmetry to it!” Block said. “I haven’t made a run at the full championship since 2013 and it’s going to take some time to get used to this newer generation of STI, but I like the feel of the car in testing and can’t wait to get out on the stages at Olympus. Travis and I go back a long way and we had a great battle at 100 Acre Wood last month, so it’s going to be a blast to go head-to-head in equal equipment.”
The competition between Block and Pastrana will take on an extra dimension thanks to the relationship between their respective co-drivers, husband and wife Alex and Rhianon Gelsomino. Australian Rhianon is a familiar face on Australian rallies alongside her brother Brendan Reeves but became Pastrana’s co-driver during the 2020 season.
Block has teased more to his calendar, including more cars, but for now is excited to reveal the first two, which feature an all-new livery designed by artist Ricardo Gonzalez; known professionally as, It’s A Living.
The Porsche will be prepared by Porsche rally specialist Tuthill – the same company behind the stunning Singer ACS – which has previously won the East African Safari Classic with WRC legends Bjorn Waldegard and Stig Blomqvist.
“This will be a wild year!” Block said. “The opportunity to do things like the Safari Rally with Tuthill Porsche is huge. I can’t wait to push myself to the absolute limit, across some of the gnarliest terrain, in an air-cooled 911 prepared by the best in the business.”