Your favorite burnouts-and-donuts wheelman-turned-shoe-salesman-turned-energy-drink-salesman is now also selling video games. But nevermind that, there are burnouts and donuts and other stuntin-and-splodin to watch. It’s been less than a year since Gymkhana Eight, where Ken Block took a different Focus around scenes at the oil-rich city of Dubai. This series has clearly become a big moneymaker for Block since his first one almost eight years ago. He has since switched from Subaru to Ford, and the automaker has poured support behind these videos.
Bit by bit, these have become more ridiculous and ambitious, progressing to closing off city streets to emit tire smoke around some of their cultural icons—while also conveniently showing plenty of sponsor logos and incorporating other Ford products. I’ve always wondered, since they seem to up the ante every time, where they would go next. This time, Block took a step toward simplicity.
Gymkhana Nine tries to bring back the flavor of the original Gymkhana Practice video that blew our minds back in 2008. It’s all warehouse scenes shot in western New York state, but we wouldn’t fault you for thinking it’s Detroit. There are plenty of small-radius donuts and orchestrated close calls.
It’s fun to watch, as all of these are, but it’s hard to get the magic back of that original. No one had seen anything like it before. It was fresh, new, and showed a level of driver skill and car capability we’d only perhaps imagined happening in video games. The Mustang through Los Angeles was the most recent video that had a significant number of hold-your-breath moments. This one is not that.
But it’s still a great way to kill 8 minutes.
Watch the video below.