Ken Block to test drive Pirelli F1 car


Ken Block with Paul Hembery, Motosport Director for Pirelli.

Ken Block has a habit of pushing any car he drives to the extreme. So we were interested to hear that Pirelli plans to hand the keys of their Toyota F1 car over to Block in August for a test drive at Monza, Italy. Formula One Gymkhana in the works?

In the world of high performance car racing, there are cowboys and jockeys. Cowboys like Block ride maddened bulls at the rodeo. Jockeys pilot carefully conditioned thoroughbreds in precise paths. With Pirelli's F1, Block saddles astride a million dollar 700 hp machine which launches from 0-60 in about two seconds. "The level of acceleration and grip in F1 is insane, so just experiencing those types of extreme forces will be something new and challenging for me," said Block. "I just hope I can get my neck strong enough in such a short time!"

Home for Block is shredding tires on dirt or abandoned air fields for the World Rally Championship or Gymkhana. For F1, Block will be crossing the train tracks to the good side of town. Monza is the premiere Formula One race, known for blistering speeds over 230 mph. Surrounded by a green forest, spectators of the Grand Prix sip on wine with flower arrangements on their tables while cars whizz by in rhythmic laps.

Expect more than a couple of fast (but boring) laps from Block. Pirelli wants Block to test a few different types of tires for them ranging from sticky soft (more traction) to hard (more fun). From the sounds of it, Block has some plans of his own. "You know, it's funny, because I was speaking with some of the engineers about doing some donuts or drifts with the test car and they just gave me these funny looks. I'm not sure they're gonna be stoked on me trying to get some hooning in during the test," said Block.

"I have been a big fan of F1 since I was young and I've got so much respect for those drivers because the level of precision they're maintaining at those high speeds is unreal," said Block. He is just in the middle of his rookie WRC season, and is his affection waning already? "Personally, I love sliding and jumping rally type cars which is why I love rally and Gymkhana so much," said Block. "So I think racing in Formula One could be fun, but for the time being I'm going to stay focused on all the things I am already doing."

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