Climb Dance

Friday Video | Even closer to the edge – Ken Block’s Climbkhana

What’s the best way to tackle the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb? With a 1,400hp twin-turbocharged Ford Mustang, obviously.  
KB Climbkhana (C) Hoonigan Racing

ESM doesn’t quite know what to make of Ken Block. Here’s clearly an immensely talented driver, and proficient businessman, yet success in top-level motorsport has eluded him.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. He’s built up an empire from DC Shoes, and created a number of toys to play with, like the latest Hoonicorn V2 Mustang.

In his latest video in the Gymkhana series, Block reenacts the epic Climb Dance short film created in 1988. In it, legendary WRC driver Ari Vatanen set a new record at Pikes Peak, when the course was still predominantly loose dirt and gravel.

Kenny B had the benefit of Pikes Peak being paved all the way to the top, but that doesn’t stop it still being an epic drive. Climbing some 4,720ft along a track measuring over 12 miles, Pikes Peak requires skill and concentration to master. Oh, and bravery, for when you get a little too close to the edge:

Is it more dramatic than the record-setting run by Sébastien Loeb in 2013? Undoubtedly. Is it as achingly cool as Ari Vatanen’s 1988 effort? Hmmm, we’ll let you be the judge of that…

Image: (C) Hoonigan Racing

That Whole Sebastien Loeb Pikes Peak Thing

Yesterday Sebastien Loeb, the Frenchman who brought the World Rally Championship to its knees by winning everything, set the fastest ever time at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The previous record stood at 9 minutes 46.164 seconds; Seb managed a rather incredible 8 minutes 13.878 seconds.

Loeb set his time in the “Unlimited” class which, as the name suggests, means pretty much anything is fair game. As a result, this meant his weapon of choice was an 875hp Peugeot 208 T16, complete with 4WD and some of the biggest spoilers you’ve seen since people began tweeting during TV shows.

Red Bull were one of the key sponsors of the Loeb/Peugeot Pikes Peak project, so decided to bring the hill climb event to the masses through it’s internet channel. The less said about tha shambolic effort, the better. As ESM remarked on Twitter, Red Bull can film a man jump from the edge of space, but not someone drive a car up a hill. Regardless of that, Red Bull have now released a video showing Loeb’s full run up the hill from onboard mounted cameras. For your viewing pleasure, here it is:

Impressive? World beating yes, dramatic…I’m not so sure. The Pikes Peak hill climb road wasn’t always paved. Up until 2011 the route was a mixture of tarmac and dirt, with the highest (and scariest) sections loose gravel and sheer drops. For comparison, watch the famous Climb Dance below, featuring Ari Vatanen setting a record time in 1988, using the Peugeot 405 T16 GR:

Vatanen only managed a time of 10 minutes 47.77 seconds, but it’s clear which run looks more dramatic. I didn’t see Loeb driving one-handed, the other shielding his eyes from the sun, whilst navigating treacherous gravel roads. C’est la vie.