EVs can be pretty dang fun, as we’ve experienced with the Porsche Taycan – but that’s not exactly what most people think of when you say “electric”. So in an effort to “rebrand” EVs, Audi has now enlisted the help of a certain Ken Block to help convince the non-believers.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll most definitely know who Ken Block is. But just in case, here’s a quick recap: Ken Block is a 53-year-old drifting extraordinaire most known for his over-the-top Gymkhana videos on YouTube.
He’s a rally driver by trade, and has competed in the World Rally Championships and World Rallycross Championships (and the electric Projekt E counterpart) with his team, Hoonigan Racing Division. Got it? Great.
Ken Block says that the partnership with Audi closes a circle for him, as watching the Audi Quattro’s dominate in the WRC was what inspired him to become a rally driver himself.
“Audi is the brand that ignited my passion for motorsport. I am extremely excited to start this new chapter,” said Block. “Together, we will develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.”
Exactly what the partnership entails hasn’t been made clear yet, but Audi says that the 53-year-old drifting extraordinaire will work with the brand on “exclusive joint projects in the field of electric mobility” – whatever that means.
What we think truly convinced Block, though, was the chance to finally drive some of the brand’s most historic race and rally cars, including the Audi Sport Quattro S1, Audi V8 Quattro, and the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo, which he already did on his very first visit to Audi HQ.
We’re kidding, but still – let’s hope that the video footage for the drives will see the light of day soon, preferably in the Gymkhana style.
Ken Block was also given the keys to the Audi RS e-tron GT during his visit, the most powerful fully-electric car currently in the brand’s model line-up – and of course, he only had good things to say.
“The Audi RS e-Tron GT really surprised me. The design is exquisite with great attention to detail and a perfect finish. The driving experience is amazing: the car is incredibly fast and handles very well. The centre of gravity is very low so you can change direction quickly.”
“Electric mobility is the future,” says Block. “I see the electric car as a leap forward for us as a society in order to create something that can not only reduce emissions and hopefully make the planet a better place, but not only that: it’s also about performance.
“I love anything that makes me go faster. Electric cars can do that. And as far as sound goes, I have kids who don’t care about that. They think that the sound of electric cars is just as cool as the sound of internal combustion engines.”
“Ken Block shares our love of performance,” says Head of Audi Brand Henrik Wenders. “He has the ability to inspire people. With his progressive thinking, he will accompany us on our way into an electrifying future. Welcome to the team!”
Back in January, Block announced the end of his 11-year-long partnership with Ford Performance, who supplied many of the fuel-guzzling, tyre-slaying drift monsters featured in his Gymkhana videos. Perhaps his stint with the electric rally cars in the RX Projekt E series and the 2020 Dakar Rally has finally convinced him to dive into EVs.
Hopefully, that means we’ll still be seeing more tyre smoke madness in his Gymkhana videos, just without the engine noise – ironically similar to what Ford has done with the Mach-E 1400.