IRWINDALE, CA (Tanner Foust Racing) - Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust took the win in his Rockstar-Etnies Ford Fiesta this weekend at the first Gymkhana Grid event, upsetting favorite Ken Block at his own inaugural event.
"It was a fun contest, ripping around in a high-powered racecar and putting down a whole lot of rubber," said Foust. "Winning was an added bonus; I knew the Rockstar Energy camp had a shot but I'm always so impressed with Ken's videos that I didn't go in expecting to beat him."
The Ken Block invitational Gymkhana Grid contest came down to an exciting showdown between Foust and Block in their similar, all-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta competition vehicles.
Although Block has long championed this racing format, Foust's multi-disciplinary racing experience and stunt driving background made him the dark-horse favorite this weekend.
This first event featured a host of rear-wheel and all-wheel drive motorsport competitors including Block, Dai Yoshihara, who took the win in the rear-wheel drive category, Vaughn Gittin Jr., and pro skateboarder Bucky Lasek.
Cars lined up to race head-to-head in a knock-out elimination format on mirrored courses designed by Block to feature both precision driving and high speed. Drivers attempted to set the fastest time as they negotiated a pre-determined sequence of drifts, figure eights, donuts, and slaloms on the infield at the Irwindale Speedway.
This weekend, Foust campaigned his all-wheel drive Rockstar Energy-Etnies Rallycross Ford Fiesta prepared by champion Andreas Eriksson's Olsbergs MSE Ford team. It is the same type of vehicle he drove to double gold medals at X Games this summer and ran in European and US rallycross competition.
The all-wheel-drive car is fast and nimble, featuring a 550 horsepower engine and, with Hankook RS-3 performance tires, is capable of 2.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration times.
Block brought the term "Gymkhana" to the masses through viral videos that gained tens of millions of online views worldwide. Foust's own Mulholland Drift viral video debuted this year, scoring a million hits in less than a month. The video, featuring a one-take run of Foust in his high-horsepower drift car sliding through a treacherous section of Mulholland Drive known locally as "The Snake," is the first in a planned series of videos for Foust.
In 2010, Foust earned double-gold medals in the rally disciplines at X Games, landed on the podium at all four US rallycross events, and ran a competitive rookie season in the FIA European Rallycross Championship, where he became the first American to compete in the series.
Foust also finished as the runner-up in the 2010 Formula DRIFT championship and competed in select off-road events. He returned to America last week from his third appearance at the invitational Race of Champions in Germany, where he competed alongside fellow Americans Carl Edwards and Travis Pastrana.