Ken Block Drove a Pre-Production Ford GT at Le Mans Last Weekend
This is one of the perks of being a world-renown Ford rallycross driver.
The ties of entrepreneur, hoonigan, and professional driver Ken Block to Ford Motor Company are well-known. Currently, he drives the No. 43 Ford Focus RS RX in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, and each of his Gymkhana cars since the third installment of the ever-popular YouTube series have worn a blue oval on its nose. We guess that's why Ford gave him an opportunity last weekend that few of us could ever hope for: to drive a pre-production Ford GT supercar on the famous Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe before the start of the 85th 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For someone so used to traveling most everywhere sideways, we imagine it was a change of pace.
"It was a pretty amazing experience to be able to drive this circuit in the GT and have the whole thing to myself," Block wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend. He was told to restrict his speed out on the track, but that didn't stop him from, as he puts it, having "a little fun through some of the corners," or from hitting 160 miles per hour on a straightaway. "I had to try at least once," he said in the video.
Interestingly, the road-going version of the Ford GT actually makes more power than its race-spec counterpart, as the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)—the governing body that sanctions the World Endurance Championship—sets a limit on the amount of boost pressure that can be run in its races. The street-spec supercar peaks at 647 horsepower, which is enough for a 216-mph top speed. Otherwise, the racing and grocery-getting versions of the GT are essentially the same, sharing a common twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 and carbon-fiber monocoque.
And really, if you were going to drop $450,000 or more on a Ford, wouldn't you insist that it basically be a street-legal race car?