Gymkhana 3.2! l'Autodrome in France

Ken Block is back with another Gymkhana video, and this time it's shot in France at l'Autodrome. Using his Ford Fiesta rally car, Ken Block was able to literally burn the tires off in what is turning out to be the best Gymkhana yet. Within the first three days of being posted on YouTube, the video has already brought in 3.7 million views! Dwarfing the track record of previous Gymkhana videos, Gymkhana 3.2 "the ultimate playground" is a great video for Ford and Ken Block fans everywhere. Subaru fans like myself might be a little disappointed in the weed whacker sound emitted from the inline Ford motor, but hey we can't have everything we want. If we really must split hairs, the Fiesta is much, much faster than the Subaru in almost every way. Sad but true! All in all, the video is pretty good. Before we get into the highlights of the video, let's learn about the unique track used to shoot this instant viral video.
Previous Gymkhana videos:
About l'Autodrome, France (Source: Wikipedia)
l'Autodrome, France, or officially known as Autodrome de Montlhéry was built in 1924 by industrialist Alexandre Lamblin and designed by René Jaminunder under the official title "L’autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry"; but known back then as "Autodrome parisien". Located just outside of Paris on the south side, the resides between the two towns of Linas Bruyères-le-Châtel and Ollainville with a total population of about 15,000 residents. Originally, the track was a one and a half mile oval track designed for vehicles weighing around 2,200 pounds and traveling at 140 miles per hour while banking at a maximum of 51 degrees.

Later in 1925, the track was updated with a road course to accommodate the 1925 French Grand Prix. The track's pride was brought to an end as World War II took over Europe and the track was sold to the French government in 1939 who then turned around and sold it to Union technique de l’automobile et du cycle (UTAC) in December of 1946. Due to the track's unique appeal and lasting story throughout the war, a book was written by William Boddy called Montlhéry, the story of the Paris autodrome (ISBN: 1-84584-052-6)

Gymkhana 3.2 review

Staying true to the Gymkhana series, the video starts out with the typical ignition sequence followed by some comic relief and statistics. A few buttons and a couple clicks later, the 2011 Ford Fiesta prepared by Olsbergs MSE comes alive. Generating 650 horsepower and 660 foot pounds of torque at the wheels, the Gymkhana Fiesta can zip from zero to sixty miles per hour in a mind blowing 1.9 seconds! Preparing himself and us for the extremely quick launch, the Fiesta lines up just outside the entry port into the track. A classic showdown between driver and course; who will win?

As the video starts out, it appears that the track takes a lead thanks to a fender bender at 1:26 during a slide. Followed by a quick swerve off the track and a high speed run, the Fiesta shines brightly under embanked conditions at high speed. How fast was he going? It doesn't say, and I feel a speedometer clip would have been appropriate at this point. After a quick high speed blast, Ken performs what most drifters would consider to be a very difficult task; ;drifting a 50 degree embankment. The problem with drifting an embankment is the weight change of the vehicle from side to side drastically increases due to the steep angles. Traction is compromised, and the complete feel of the vehicle is changed. This is where Ken Block's driving skill comes into play and instantly defined him as not only a professional driver, but one of the best.

After he's done playing on the circle track, he takes to the road course originally designed for the French Grand Prix. This is a tight track with winding corners, unforgiving walls, and steep hills. Jumping, sliding, and mastering the course Ken's rally Fiesta also gained credibility during this shoot. To maintain such swift speeds takes a well tuned driver and car; something that is very obvious in Gymkhana 3.2! Then just when you think the film is all about cars, Ken throws in a political stab at our president with a decal that says, "Obama can't gymkhana". What does this mean? I'll let you decide, but just think about it (hint hint).

After the Obama slamming Segway drift, Ken takes Gymkhana to a new level by performing 1440 degree spin at 3:09. That's a slide which spins the car completely around four times without stopping. A truly unique stunt that requires wet pavement, it was pulled off perfectly and is considered the best scene of the entire video by many viewers.

The rest of the video consists of the typical Gymkhana style footage; sliding, tire burning, spins, drifting, and finally a donut scene where Ken etches his presence into the surface of l'Autodrome. Consistently spinning the car at high RPM, the tires finally blow. Riding on destroyed rear tires and rims, the car is shooting sparks in every direction! A dream of many drivers but only performed by a few, the sparking donut is a classic in automobile hooliganism. Enjoy the third video in what is now a trilogy of excellence known as "Ken Block's Gymkhana".

Video content: Gymkhana 3.2! l'Autodrome in France

Previous Gymkhana videos:
Source: Tampa Sports Car Examiner

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