Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
September 25, 2017
Photos By: Courtesy of TOYO

For just about every person visiting this website Ken Block needs no introduction. However, if you’re just coming out of a long soap opera-like coma then all you need to know is that Ken Block is one talented driver no matter what he’s driving. He’s made millions of fans with his regular Gymkhana YouTube video releases and over the past year he’s worked with a new video, titled Climbkhana, where he tackles Pike’s Peak.

Presented by Toyo Tires, Climbkhana is a melding of Block’s previous Gymkhana video driving style with a melding of rally-inspired driving segments that will feature famous and unique roads around the world, with Pikes Peak being the debut venue. The Pikes Peak Highway, just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is of course THE road that the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is run on. The annual event is billed as America’s second oldest, continually running race (the Indianapolis 500 is first), it’s also one of the first places Block ever raced in his career.

“When I was young, I caught the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on TV once or twice,” said Block. “Even as a kid I remember dreaming about racing there some day because it looked so epic. Eventually I did, back in 2005, but it was in a Group N rally car which didn’t have much power up in that high and thin air! It was an underwhelming experience because of the horsepower issue, but I loved the road and mountain - and I had always wanted to go back and do it right. So, to drive it like I get to drive in my Gymkhana videos—and do it in the Hoonicorn with 1,400 horsepower—well, that truly is a dream come true!"

For Block, filming Climbkhana at Pikes Peak was a unique opportunity. While the road closes once a year for the Hill Climb, no one has ever been given the access to turn the landmark location into a playground. For production duties, Block once again brought his long-time friend and business partner at Hoonigan, Brian Scotto, to direct, but they also added a new face to the Hoonigan Media Machine formula: Eight-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion and Radical Media Director Jeff Zwart.

“I have raced at Pikes Peak for 16 years and through the years I thought I had seen everything, but to witness Ken’s skills on basically my home mountain and get to direct him at the same time, it was truly something amazing,” explains Jeff Zwart, Climbkhana’s co-director. “Nothing but respect for him and his whole team, both on the racing side and production side!”

The elevation change driving up Pikes Peak Highway represents a challenge to most vehicles and Block’s Hoonicorn RTR, based off of a 1965 Ford Mustang hardtop, would be no different. The nearly 800hp AWD machine was upgraded with twin turbos and reconfigured to run on methanol fuel. Unfortunately, extreme engine builds and altitudes can prove challenging. Block and his crew experienced multiple production setbacks, having to go to the mountain on three separate occasions over 12 months due to both weather and development issues to be able to finish the film. When the dust cleared Hoonicorn V2, including a revised livery, was born and the monster now puts down 1,400 horsepower to all four tires! Toyo Proxes R888R tires at all four corners (P295/30R18 at all four corners) do their best to keep Block going in the direction he’s steering for, but all we see in the video is tire smoke—from all four wheels simultaneously at that! Learn more about the Proxes R888R DOT competition tire and find a dealer at www.toyotires.com/tires/competition-tires.

“This car is insane,” said Block. “I feel it genuinely wants to kill me! Before we added the twin turbos, it was the most fun car I’ve ever driven. Now it’s still quite fun to drive, but it melts tires ridiculously quick. To have this thing be such a beast and then take it to this very dangerous mountain, well, I thought I’d maybe finally taken on a project that might be too much for me to handle. This is the most powerful AWD-type car in the world to be driven this way, so I’m genuinely glad I didn’t die making this video!”

Ken Block ready to tackle Pikes Peak in his 1,400hp Hoonicorn RTR V2 Mustang.
The Toyo Proxes R888R tires are sticky DOT competition rubber that features high grip with a wide center rib for directional stability. The Hoonicorn RTR V2 wears P295/30R18s at all four corners.