- Gymkhana Grid returns to Los Angeles after 3 years and debuts in X Games
- Eight drivers from around the world compete in timed course
- Tanner Foust takes gold and Ken Block eliminated in first round
- Highest attended event at Irwindale Speedway during 2013 X Games
The 2013 ESPN Summer X Games returned to Los Angeles with events placed throughout the local region. Separate from the events at LA Live was the Gymkhana GRID held at Irwindale Speedway. Debuting at the X Games but not a new event, the timed competition pits rallycross and rally drivers against a specifically designed gauntlet-style course.
The course is made up of various obstacles including cones, tires, barrels, and a K-rail designed to test drivers' skills in 180-degree turns, 360-degree spins, drifting, and other advanced driving techniques. Two drivers race against each other in a mirrored course, the two competitors switch courses after each round. The unique event was the highest attended event at Irwindale amongst the four X Games competitions.
Eight drivers participated for the 2013 Gymkhana GRID gold medal including Brian Deegan, Ken Block, David Higgins, Stephan Verdier, Anton Marklund, Liam Doran, Patrick Sandell, and Tanner Foust. Aside from a couple of Subarus, Dodge Dart, Mini Cooper, and Volkswagen Polo, many of the drivers ran with the Ford Fiesta ST.
Practice rounds went smoothly until an accidental crash occured between the ex-drifter, rally, rallycross driver Stephen Verdier inthe Subaru WRX STI and the Swedish rally driver Patrik Sandell in the Ford Fiesta ST.
Spectators were shocked to see Gymkhana ambassador Ken Block eliminated in the quarter finals heat two against Liam Doran. The semifinals pitted Top Gear host Tanner Foust in his Ford Fiesta ST and Liam Doran from Great Britain in his Mini Cooper. However Doran's impact on two barrels sealed his fate, which led to a final match between Tanner and Sandell.
Ultimately Tanner Foust owned the track and took home the gold medal, adding to his other three X-Games Golds. Foust said, "The energy in the crowd was amazing. I'm not sure if it was the fast-paced rotations, easy to watch format or speed of the cars, but the Irwindale crowd was nuts! It was a great challenge to set our Rally Cross car up to use different tires on a different type of course in a completely different discipline of driving. By the end of the night my little Fiesta ST felt pretty dialed, but the course was more tricky than you might think!"
Gymkhana guru Ken Block had this to say about the X Games GRID event:
"I'm really stoked with how Saturday's GRID event went. Obviously I wanted to have a better result in the competition for myself, but more importantly I wanted to make sure that we had a good, successful event here at X Games. My goal from the start with ESPN and I agreed to bring this event here was to have it run smoothly and be an awesome experience not just for the fans and viewers, but for the athletes as well. I'm in this for the long-term, we've got an eye on the future and an intention to continue to grow and expand this series into all four of summer X Games as well as into feeder events outside of X. Sure I didn't take the gold this time, but I'll be back looking for it next time!"