At its peak, Ken Block’s garage held 16 cars. Between them, internal combustion worked its magic to make more than 8500bhp. That’s enough to propel a small cargo ship across the Atlantic. If there was such a thing as a small cargo ship.
Remember the first Ford Mustang? It was always missing something. Something just wasn’t quite right. That Roush-built small block V8 just wasn’t really up to the job.
What’s the point of tolerating 845bhp when you can build another version, bolt a whopping Garrett blower either side of the vee and come out the other side with 1400bhp and 1250ft-lb of torque?
And yes, that last number’s right. When KB dropped the clutch on that thing, he shifted tectonic plates.
Which makes his move to electric all the more surprising.
Or does it?
It’s much less surprising when you understand who he’s gone electric with.
The Ingolstadt-based dream maker that lit a fire beneath rallying at a time when Block was wondering if a skateboard might be the best thing with four wheels.
“Audi, is the brand that ignited my passion for motorsport,” said Block. “I am extremely excited to start this new chapter. Together, we will develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.”
In joining forces with a marque that changed the direction of rallying forever, Block’s looking further to the future.
“Electric mobility is the future”, he said. “I see the electric car as a leap forward for us as a society in order to create something that can not only reduce emissions and hopefully make the planet a better place.”
The planet’s at the heart of every sustainable adventure. And sustainability – as far as Audi’s concerned – is anything but slow.
“It’s also about performance,” said Block. “I love anything that makes me go faster. Electric cars can do that. And as far as sound goes, I have kids who don’t care about that. They think that the sound of electric cars is just as cool as the sound of internal combustion.”
On his first visit to Audi, Block drove the Audi Sport quattro S1, the Audi V8 quattro from the DTM and the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo.
Block and Audi will be working together exclusively in the field of electric mobility with immediate effect.
“At Audi, motorsport is paving the way for future technologies,” said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH and the man driving the development of the Dakar-bound RS Q e-tron.
“Electrification is a game changer, just like quattro drive once was. With Ken Block, we’ve got exciting things in store that go perfectly with our strategy.”
Surely all we’re waiting for now is the announcement of a fourth team member to join Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekström in Saudi Arabia in January…