It’s a sad start to 2023 in the automotive world. Ken Block, the legendary rally driver, Hoonigan founder, and Gymkhana star, has died in a tragic snowmobile accident aged 55.
Ken Block killed in snowmobile crash
Hoonigan announced Ken Block’s death in an official statement on Instagram: “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 a husband. He will be incredibly missed.”
According to Wasatch County Sheriff's Office, Block was riding a snowmobile up a steep slope in Wasatch County, Utah, when the vehicle upended and landed on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries.
Block began his motorsport career as a rally driver in 2005. While he never won a WRC title, he secured numerous podium finishes at the World RX
Outside of rallying, he competed in motocross, skateboarding and snowboarding, and co-founded DC Shoes in 1994.
Block rose to fame with his viral Gymkhana YouTube series, in which he performs daring precision driving stunts around obstacle courses in modified cars.
Watched by millions, Gymkhana hugely influenced car culture in the 2010s, quickly establishing Block as an automotive icon and social media sensation. His skill and car control was second to none.
Racing game developers pay tribute to Ken Block
Tributes to the late rally star from racing game social media accounts have poured in as developers react to the tragic news.
“Devastating news about the loss of @kblock43 - he was a legend in Motorsports and will be dearly missed. Our deepest condolences to his family and the team at @TheHoonigans,” the Forza Horizon Twitter page wrote.
The Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, and EA Sports Rally pages also paid tribute to the late rally star, with Gran Turismo calling him "legend lost too soon."
In the world of racing games, Ken Block had a huge presence in the Forza and DIRT series.
After the death of Colin McRae, Block became the face of Codemasters’ DIRT series, appearing as a driver in Colin McRae: DiRT 2, DiRT 3, and DiRT Showdown. Gymkhana challenges became a staple of the DIRT games, recently featuring in DIRT 5 albeit without Block's involvement.
Hoonigan cars driven by Block including the 1400-hp Hoonigan Ford Mustang have appeared in the Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport games too. Block also played himself in live-action cut scenes for the 2015 Need for Speed game.