With today’s announcement that Ford Motor Company is teaming up with Ken Block, the California-based action sports icon-turned-rally driver, for future global motorsports opportunities, the company’s profile and involvement in rally racing has truly taken on a global position. Rally racing has always been an important part of Ford’s motorsports strategy, but the FIA World Rally Championship doesn’t race in the United States and there has never been an American driver that has campaigned a full season in the premier rally championship. Block, the 2005 Rally America Rookie of the Year and a three-time medalist at X Games, has cultivated a tremendous following with his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. In 2010, Block will campaign a Ford Focus in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and a Ford Fiesta in Rally America and the X Games.
KEN BLOCK – Ford Global Rally driver – TODAY’S BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TAKES YOUR RALLY CAREER GLOBAL. WHAT ARE YOU THOUGHTS AS YOU JOIN FORD AND AS YOU LOOK AHEAD TO A BUSY 2010?
“The easiest thing for me to say is that I am really stoked to have this partnership with Ford. My dad was a Ford guy and for me it is just something in the World Rally Championship that I have looked up to for a long time because Ford has such a great heritage in rally. They have been around for a very long time back to the Escort days all the way through the RS 200, and obviously through the Focus and now the Fiesta. This is a huge thing for me and I am very proud to be part of the Ford family.”
IN 2010, YOU WILL BE RUNNING THE FOCUS IN WORD RALLY AND THE FIESTA IN RALLY AMERICA AND X GAMES. WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO THE SEASON GETTING READY TO RUN TWO DIFFERENT RALLY SERIES?
”This is going to be one of the biggest challenges of my life and my career. Obviously, Rally America I have been doing for five years now and I am going after the championship. I have been very close several times, but this year I feel like it is my year. Along with that I have the X Games coming up this summer and again the same thing, I have been very close and have stood on the podium several times, but never at the top and I am looking to take that top place. On top of that, with the World Rally Championship, I am stepping into the biggest rally championship in the world and I will be competing against some of the best drivers in the world. That level of racing isn’t something that you just step into and expect to instantly be on the podium. I would be in fantasyland if I thought that I was going to be anywhere near that. So, for me, 2010 is a developmental year and I am really looking to develop my skills as far as I can and then I can began pushing harder in 2011 and 2012. As far as 2010 goes, it is my year to get my feet wet in the championship and start polishing my skills. It is going to be an amazing experience, but I am also very realistic about where I stand in this world and what my goals are going to be for the next year to three years.”
YOU WILL BE DRIVING THE FOCUS RS IN WORLD RALLY AND THE FIESTA IN RALLY AMERICA. A YEAR FROM NOW IT WILL BE ALL FIESTA IN WRC AND RALLY AMERICA. YOU SAW THE FIESTA DEBUT LAST YEAR AT THE X GAMES. WHAT IS YOUR LEVEL OF ANTICIPATION FOR DRIVING THE FIESTA IN COMPETITION?
“I am very excited to be in the Fiesta. That is the damn car that beat me last summer at X Games. Ford has a great platform with the Fiesta to develop and push a very good rally car worldwide and also in the showrooms. I am very excited to get in the Fiesta and see what I can do in the Rally America championship and at the X Games and also in 2011 to be in the new Fiesta World Rally car.”
FROM YOUR MONSTER RALLY TEAM PERSPECTIVE YOU HAVE TWO DIFFERENT SERIES YOU ARE PREPARING FOR. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU AS A TEAM FACE?
“The biggest challenge is going to be getting me seat time. I have been racing with a different manufacturer for many years now and while I have a lot of confidence in my abilities, jumping into a new car is always difficult. It is a big program we have going on this year, its global and there are a lot of different aspects to it from World Rally Championship to X Games to a new Gymkhana car. That is a tremendous variety of different types of driving and different types of conditions. I need to push as hard as I can and be the best that I can, but it is going to come down to getting as much experience as I can and getting seat time. I am very lucky to be in the position that I am in. There are not many drivers around the world that can say they are doing the types of things that I am doing. I am very proud of that and I am going to push very hard to be the best that I can be.”
IS THERE A GYMKHANA 3?
“Of course! We are in the developmental stages of a new Fiesta Gymkhana car and we are looking to have some new video content out by the summer.”