Ken Block’s cross-continent racing tour, season 2016, will include a full season in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Block will have Ford Performance factory support for the Hoonigan Racing Division entry, in a usual Monster Energy-backed Ford Fiesta ST.
The news, however, means he won’t return to the domestic Red Bull Global Rallycross for a full season as he has in years past. Conceivably, he could still make one-off appearances.
The full release is below:
Hoonigan Racing Division, in conjunction with Ford Performance, is pleased to announce that professional rallycross driver, Gymkhana star and Head Hoonigan in Charge, Ken Block, will extend his factory partnership with Ford Performance to pursue the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“For a big portion of my career I’ve maintained a mixed focus and kept a diverse race calendar, but now I’ll be focusing myself fully on one single championship,” said Block. “I’ve been stoked with what my team and I have accomplished so far with my Ford Fiesta ST racecars and I’m excited to see what we’ll be able to do next season with factory support. It’s going to be a very exciting 2016 and I can’t wait to get started. Thanks again to Ford for being an awesome partner.”
Block stands out as one of the top competitors in the world of rallycross and is among the winningest drivers in GRC, coming within five points of winning the 2014 championship. In 2015, Block scored three events wins, led the championship for 10 of the 12 rounds and was the leading points contributor in helping Ford secure its fifth GRC Manufacturers Championship.
In 2014, Block competed in his first World Rallycross round in Norway, where he celebrated a podium finish (third) in his maiden event. He then followed up with an appearance at the 2014 French round, finishing fourth overall and setting the fastest lap of the event. With his renewed partnership with Ford Performance, as well as their factory support, the team’s goal is to compete for a world title.
“I’m stoked to be able to compete for an FIA World Rallycross title!” said Block. “I’ve really enjoyed my past six years racing with Ford and to renew my relationship with them moving forward, as well as receiving an increased level of involvement from Ford Performance, to compete for a World Rallycross Championship, well, I couldn’t be happier!”
“The past year we have been working hard to celebrate Ford Performance as a global brand serving enthusiasts with world-class products and motorsports fans with on-track success around the globe,” said Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance. “In looking at the great success we’ve had with Fiesta ST in the Global Rallycross Championship—29 race wins and five manufacturers’ championships the past five years—everyone felt the time was right to take on a new challenge of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
“Ken is more than a driver or a partner to us, he’s a member of the Ford Performance team. He continues to be an advocate for enthusiasts around the world and we engage him frequently in product and motorsports discussions,” Pericak added. “We know Ken’s team is the right one to help us pursue our goal of winning an FIA World Rallycross Championship title and tell the Ford Performance story. Ford and Ford Performance are global brands, just like Ken, so it’s a great match for all of us involved.”
Block and Ford Performance will begin their pursuit of a World Championship when the 2016 WorldRX race calendar kicks off in Portugal, April 16 and 17. Be sure to tune in between now and then however, as there will be plenty more announcements in the near future.