We went to Madrid for the Gymkhana Grid finals and didn't sleep for 48 hours because of Ken Block and his rally car driver buddies.
For those of you who don't know, Ken Block is a professional rally driver and co-founder of DC Shoes, who catapulted to fame after the success of his Gymkhana videos.
The whole point of Gymkhana is memorising a course and completing it as fast as possible, all the while tackling obstacles and performing tricks likes donuts and figure 8s.
Ken Block is ridiculously good at all of these things.
To date, the videos have acquired over 250 million views on YouTube and, today, the sixth in the series went live. And it's mentals:
Here's what we learned when we hung out with Ken and his racing buddies in Madrid:
01 There are already more Gymkhana videos in the pipeline.
"We've already started working on Gymkhana 7," Ken told us in his trailer. "The concept is much harder and longer to plan out. It takes years to make movies because, if you try to do something very dynamic, it takes a lot longer in the creative process. With the next Gymkhana, it’s a bigger, broader concept that requires more time but it’s coming along fairly well...
I don’t know how long the popularity will last in the viral landscape, but I’ll keep making them as long as a) People keep watching them and B) My sponsors keep funding them and wanting me to make them. I’ve got lots of creative ideas that I want to do."
02 The Monster girls are far from what their names would suggest.
03 As brilliant drivers as they are, mistakes do happen. As Ken demonstrated to us in Madrid.
"I’m really jealous of people like Sebastien Loeb who have very consistant luck," he later told us. "It’s just not that way for me. Today, I had the fastest lap times all weekend and then go to race against the other top guy and my transmission decides not to work. I can’t help that. I did everything that I could to prepare and win but at the end of the day, if the equipment isn’t going to cooperate, there’s nothing I can do."
04 Terry Grant is a British stunt driver who is pushing 50 and performing tricks like this. What's your excuse?
05 Rally car drivers party HARD.
And flying with a hangover when you've had no sleep is unspeakably awful. And terrifying for the strangers sitting next to you when you start dry-heaving during take-off and landing.
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