- The announcement has come from the Hoonigans Instagram feed that Ken Block, 55, has died as a result of a snowmobiling accident today. His personal Instagram account had featured photos in the snow from Park City, Utah, over the weekend.
- The mastermind of Hoonigan and the Gymkhana video series most recently posted a drifting video on his YouTube channel featuring an Audi S1 Hoonitron on the Las Vegas Strip.
- Block had a longtime partnership with Ford Performance before moving to Audi in 2021.
In a post shared to rally driver Ken Block’s Hoonigans Instagram account tonight, the organization wrote: “It’s with our deepest regrets that we can confirm that Ken Block passed away in a snowmobile accident today. Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed.
Please respect the family’s privacy at this time while they grieve.”
A Life in Fast-Forward
The loss of Ken Block is inconceivable. He was not just a racer or a TV figure; he changed automotive culture. To skim over his biography is impressive enough. After co-founding the successful skate shoe company DC Shoes, Ken Block decided to try rally racing, inspired by his friend Travis Pastrana. He was almost 40 at the time, and within a year was finishing in the top 10 in his class. He lived life in fast-forward, partnering with winning co-driver Alex Gelsomino, medaling at the X Games, and participating in five different rally series over the next two decades. At the same time, he was appearing on television shows like Top Gear and Stunt Junkies and racing one-off events like One Lap of America.
Perhaps most life-changing, for Block and all of us, was the start of the Gymkhana video series, which began as a marketing exercise for DC. It might be difficult now to remember the days before Block’s Gymkhana, when “drift” to the mainstream was something tectonic plates did, and if you drove a Subaru, you wouldn’t get out of bed for a Mustang, let alone a lowrider.
Block wasn’t alone in blurring the lines between different racing disciplines and automotive cultures, but nobody did it with a larger audience. The Gymkhana videos scrambled car culture for the better, encouraging a mix of interests, and introducing young drivers to rare models, and legendary roads, like Pikes Peak. Block’s incredible car control lured us in, but what keeps us coming back is his obvious love and enjoyment, not just of his own cars and skills, but of all the supporting drivers, riders, and those behind the cameras capturing the images. His joy was contagious, and it was clear that he wanted to share it.
Ken Block lived life unbound. He merged skateboarding with rally cars with lowriders. He moved effortlessly between the roles of marketing mogul, serious competitor, and family man. Heck, he didn’t even follow the rules of gravity. His influence was needed, and will be missed.
Block is survived by his wife, Lucy Block, and their three children.
Preliminary Information from Authorities
The Wasatch County (Utah) Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that its 911 call center received a call at approximately 2 p.m. that there had been a snowmobile accident, and Search and Rescue and personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, the Utah State Parks, and the U.S. Forest Service all responded. The post said: “The driver, Kenneth Block, 55-year-old male out of Park City, Utah, was riding a snowmobile on a steep slope when the snowmobile upended, landing on top of him. He was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident. Mr. Block was riding with a group but was alone when the accident occurred.
“The State Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause of death. We are saddened to hear of the loss of Kenneth and our hearts are with his family and friends so deeply affected. We thank all of our first responders for their continued service.”
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