Archive for the ‘Gymkhana’ Category

One million views in 24 hours, as of today its up to over 2 million views since it came out. Ken Block’s “Gymkhana 4” takes us on a wild ride through the backlot of SoCals Universal Studios, past familiar sets and backdrops. We even get BACON!

Chock full of special effects, it makes sense that they used Universal Studios as the backdrop for his latest video

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out and tell us what you think

DC SHOES: KEN BLOCK’S GYMKHANA FOUR; THE HOLLYWOOD MEGAMERCIAL

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I have to say, I am actually disappointed in the game Dirt 3.
On the packaging it states more rally content then ever before in the series, when the first game alone was a 100% rally game. Not to mention it’s heritage predecessor the colin mcrae series.
So far I have done like three rally stages in the career mode, and that’s another thing I’m not a big fan of. Now I know that racing games aren’t known for their career progression, but I really think they should be, because if you aren’t racing you’re looking at menus and choosing where next to race.
It’s so linear. Unlike Dirt 2 where you really only had to do the races you are a fan of, the third instalment gives you a path to follow. Not only that, but the game is based on the archaic point system, so they force you to “race” races you don’t want to but also pretty much forces what car you will drive just to make the points to progress (driving certain cars gives you more points).The reason why I put the word race in quotes is because half the time you are in a gymkhana. I like watching Ken Block’s videos, but it’s not as fun to play, especially when you have to place just to move forward.Though I must add, the soundtrack is exceptional 🙂
That’s my spiel

Check out this video with the Royal Purple’s Forum Wars with NASIOC vs. EvolutionM!

Here’s a great video from the Zenkai Motorsports / Subaru of Las Vegas group from their experience at Gymkhana Grid! Enjoy!

Our friend Yuji, from Subaru of Las Vegas / Zenkai Motorsports have this massive photo gallery of the images he ‘s taken at the Gymkhana Grid event! They’re beautiful photos and I think you’ll all enjoy them!

To see rest of the photos, check it out HERE.

From starting out as a weekend track day driver to now a fully sponsored pro-level driver, Thomas Smith is easily considered as one of the rising stars in the Time Attack / Gymkhana scene and with his 2009 Subaru WRX STi built by Subaru of Las Vegas and Zenkai Motorsports. Thomas Smith is now making a noticeable mark. Thomas was kind enough to take some time out and talk to Subie-Life.com about his recent event at Gymkhana and also about his recent Time Attack season. Whether or not you know Thomas Smith now, you will always remember him with his million dollar smile and his infamous backflips.

Q: We have Thomas Smith here, driver of the Zenkai Motorsports / Subaru of Las Vegas Subaru STi! Thomas, you just ended your ended your 2010 season but tell us about your history in racing.
A: I started out autocrossing in 2005 and still do today. I started doing open track days a few years after, and I participated in my first TA (Time Attack) at the 2008 Subiefest. Then I started racing RTA (Redline Time Attack) with my personal car this year and finshed out the year racing the Zenkai Motorsports STI. I have also participated in number of local karting races, including at couple endurance races. As of this pass weekend I participated in my first Gymkhana Grid competion.

Q: Your 2010 Season was pretty busy. Tell us a few of your accomplishments and high lights so far.
A: Begining this year I had a couple of good finishes and a podium in my personal litely modified STI in the RTA series. Shortly after the Zenkai Motorsports/Crawford Performance STI had finished being built. I placed 1st and set a class record at round 2 of the Super Lap Battle series, which was actually the first time the car had ever been on the track. I also placed 1st and set a class record at round 8 of RTA, after that event we ran Subiefest 2010 and again took home a 1st place and a class record. We also got invited to the Gymkhana Grid media/test event, had a awesome time and received an invite to the Gymkhana Grid/ Ken Block Invitational. I’m really proud of the team this year, honestly no one on the team thought that we would build a brand new car and do so well for the first season out.
Q: The Subaru STi you drive is pretty noticeable with its bright orange graphics and great styling. Tell us about the build and what’s done to the STi.
A: The Zenkai Motorsports powered by Crawford Performance STI is mostly bolt on idems. It is a 2008 STI, it has the Crawford Performance ultimate street car engine package. It is a 2.5L S3L block, with a GT35R turbo tuned on E85 with Motul fluids, C West aero kit, Racetech 4009 seats and Racetech 6 & 5 point harnesses, GTspec bracing, K&N air filter and GoPro cameras. It also fitted with a weld in 6 point roll cage. Graphics were all done by Grafik Impact. Paint work was all done by Pacific Custom Paint.
Q: As you were testing and tuning the STi, what was your impression on how your team built the car?
A: It was a great team effort to get the car done. Crawford Performance built, tuned and helped with the race prep & setup. With their knowledge of Subaru’s and experience from there race car we had a great platform to start with. Zenkai Motorsports performed the rest of the race prep and also installing the hydraulic e-brake for the Gymkhana Grid invitational thanks to Crew Chief Rob Wohlfeil.
Q: So here comes Gymkhana Grid and you had to prepare your car for the “Try out”. How did the first event of Gymkhana go?
A: At the first Gymkhana Grid media/test event we just took the car as it was. We didn’t really have time to install an e brake, so that made it a little difficult. LOL We made some suspension changes to help the car break out more, but mostly I just had to use a lot of weight transfering to slide the car.
Q: When time got close to the Gymkhana Grid invitational event, what kind of emotions and thoughts were going through your head?
A: As the event got closer I got more and more excited and to be honest a bit nervous. But as always once I’m behind the wheel and get started the nervousness goes away quickly.
Q: Of course this kind of event is different from what you were normally used to (road track) and it was done in front of an audience. Did you get nervous at all? What was going through your head?
A: I was alittle nervous, but not to much. I just wanted to do well for the team, because they all put in alot of hard work for us to be ready for that event. I was really excited and honored to be invited by ken block, and to drive with/against such skilled driver’s.
Q: After this great event, how do you feel about Gymkhana Grid and what do you think the future holds for you and this event series?
A: I had a great time participating, seeing and talking with all the great friends and fans. Well, the Gymkhana Grid is planning on having a series for next year that will run across the country. I would love to be a part of it again, I think for me and all the people that were there watching or watching online it was very exciting. I believe the series could have a great future ahead.
Q: Speaking of the future, what are you plans for 2011?
A: As of right now the only thing that is kinda on the schedule for next year is probably Gymkhana Grid and maybe some close TA events. As some people might of seen at Gymkhana Grid Invitational is that I was recently picked up by Monster Energy Drink. I am extremely happy to be part of the Monster family! So 2011 could hold some big things for me, So keep an eye out.
Q: Thank you very much for taking time to talk to Subie-Life, Thomas. Is there anyone you would like to thank for the 2010 season?
A: I would like to thank: Crawford Performance, Zenkai Motorsports, Everyone @ Subaru of Las Vegas, Tein, Carbonetic, C West, 5 Zigen, Motul, Racetech seats, GTspec, K&N air filters, GoPro, Racing brake, Pacific Custom Paint, Grafik Impact, Subaru performance tuning(SPT), Garage Uehara, DCB, Monster Energy, Falken Tire, Mike Garage, ALL of my friends for the endless support and motivation and My Family.

Q: We have Stephan Verdier again, 3rd place podium winner from Gymkhana Grid from this past weekend! Stephan, congratulations on the win. First off, let me ask you what your first impression was when you heard of Gymkhana Grid event and why you decided to do it.

A: It was a great event and thanks to Ken Block for making it happen. I heard of it at the X-games and wanted to do it right away. I never did a Gymkhana in a awd car plus my car was sitting in my driveway doing nothing. I had to do it.
Q: You did the 2010 Formula Drift season and this is the first Gymkhana Grid event you have done. What are the major differences between the two events? What were your feelings about Gymkhana Grid?
A: Well the 2 big difference for me is that I drive my car in RWD for FD and AWD for Gym. There really 2 different style of racing. FD is as much angle and smoke as you can and also a judge event when Gym is the least angle but still drifting and as fast as possible since you race the clock. They both take a lot of skill to master. I really like Gym format, the clock is the only judge and it’s clear cut. Gym Grid could be a really cool sport even at the grassroots level, anybody with a RWD or AWD car can do it without risking the crash the car in a wall, and it brings both world of drifting and road-racing/rally together.
Q: Your Subaru was rear wheel drive, then back to all wheel drive for dirt, then back to rear wheel drive, and now back to all wheel drive for Gymkhana. How much work is there in getting that set up?
A:It’s actually pretty easy. I use the stock gear box in RWD and same in AWD, so the only thing needed is put the front diff and axle in and change the welded center diff to a stock one. It’s around a day of work by myself.
Q: How comfortable were you in the All Wheel Drive Tarmac set up at Gymkhana Grid?
A: I felt pretty good on Friday, but during qualifying my clutch and center diff start giving up. My clutch has been in the car since X-games and I did 3 FD (Formula Drift) events, a day at the track road racing, and  a day of Gym testing. I’m amazed it lasted that long. The center diff came from a used gear box that had 40000 miles. I think the problem with the center diff is more electronic than anything else, it would engage and realase on it’s on event in lock mode. It was really hard to be close to the barrel in the 720, the center diff will engage and realase during the donuts.
Q: When you first came up to the Gymkhana track / course, what was your first impression?
A: The only thing that got me worry was the box, it seems really small, but after doing it a few time it was no problem. The track was really challenging witch made it really fun. Both side were really close in time, maybe 1 sec apart.
Q: During your elimination rounds were you aware of your opponent’s position or how well they were doing or were you just focused on your own run?
A:That the only issue with the mirror track, you can’t see the other driver, in a way it’s good because you have to go 100% the all time or if you have radio a spotter can tell what’s going on. The only time you could see where you were was coming into the last barrel for the 720. I think they should look at making both track next to each other like Race of the Champion so the driver can see each other and easier for the fan to see who’s head.
Q: When you final round was done and you found out that you were 3rd place, what were your feelings and thoughts?
A: It was awesome, first time in a Gymkhana and I got 3rd. I know I could be much faster if I work on the car and get the right differentials, gear box,  more power and a lighter car. The car was making around 470 whp weight 2870pds and I use a stock H pattern box. The Ford (Fiestas) are 650 whp, 2400 pds and have full sequential. I had to do 11 gear changes in 1 lap, just with a sequential I can be at least 1 second faster. It’s really encouraging if they do a Gymkhana series, I know I can beat the Ford. 🙂

Q: Your 2011 season is still up in the air for drifting and you are leaning towards more towards Rally Cross. Is Gymkhana Grid is something you see doing instead of drifting?
A:I would love to stay in drifting but I need a real RWD car to be competitive, so that mean building a new car, that’s at least $80k. I don’t have that kind of money. I’m trying to found a team to drive for but so far no luck. The positive thing is that I can use my car with some upgrade in Rallycross and Gymkhana and be competitive, so yes I’m leaning towards Rallycross and Gymkhana more.
Q: Stephan, thank you for your time and we hope to see you more in 2011! Happy Holidays.

A:Thanks for following me, it;s always a pleasure to talk to you. I want to thanks all my sponors to able me to race at the GymGrid: Crawford Performance, Falken tires, Subaru, GTI, RMR, Garrett Turbo, Ignite Fuel, Sparco, APR, Seibon, Stance, Clutch Masters and K&N.