Ken Block channels Steve McQueen
Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco – now onlineGerry Malloy
Published: July 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:14 PM
Ken Block's Gymkhana video franchise is one of the greatest viral successes of the Internet age, with something north of 135-million views for its four different iterations plus cuts, teasers, etc.
Now Gymkhana FIVE is here. And it promises to be every bit as popular as its predecessors, with more than nine million viewers in the first two days after its release.
This time, Block took his H.F.H.V. Ford Fiesta to the streets of San Francisco – not only emulating but one-upping the iconic Steve McQueen chase scene from Bullit.
"The goal is to always make the next one better, which is tough, because every time I finish one of these I think it’s the best one yet," said Block. "I've always wanted to film a Gymkhana video in a city and there are few places as unique and iconic with such amazing topography as San Francisco."
When he found out that San Francisco was actually available as a location, he said, "That’s when the gears started turning about what we could do, how we could utilize the unique terrain within the city. Once I knew I’d be able to jump streets I was able to envision certain tricks, like the jump drift."
A first-ever look at what it took to bring Gymkhana FIVE to life in a special behind-the-scenes edit is expected to be released in late August.
Before Block filmed the epic routes highlighted in Gymkhana FIVE, he scouted the routes in a production 252-hp Ford Focus ST.
"The Focus ST was a lot of fun to rip around San Francisco in, especially with all of the torque on those hills. It’s nice to finally be able to drive the same hot-tuned Fords that Europe always gets, here in America," said Block.
Ford’s partnership with Block has expanded into additional integration plans with the launch of the Focus ST in North America.
"I’m actually working on a top-secret project with both Ford and one of the top names in small car tuning here in the States," he said. "I can’t tell you much more than that right now though!"