Drifting Through San Fran

“This guy’s insane, and so is San Francisco for letting him do it.” That’s what I thought after stumbling upon this car drifting display in the new Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground – San Francisco video from DC Shoes and Ken Block.

I love imports, drifting cars, Formula D and extreme driving, so I entered “car drifting” on YouTube and up pops this 650-horsepower Ford Fiesta HFHV engaged in some serious hoonage. I was hooked, and obviously wasn’t alone, since this video that showcases professional driver Ken Block drifting in hi-def had more than 25 million views.

The City had closed down several streets for the shoot. Good thing, this was the ultimate display of drifting cars engaged in a zero-to-60-in-1.8-seconds performance…and it was a massive undertaking. I followed this car drifting performance through a seemingly, never-ending off-ramp, launching across the Golden Gate Bridge, pirouetting around two moving trolley cars, and using Potrero Hill as a personal landing strip. The Fiesta with Ken Block at the helm made for one killer, high-performance event that brought new meaning to the art of drifting. As I watched in amazement, I wondered how many tires they smoked, how many car shocks they replaced, and how much equipment was destroyed just for the sake of the shoot. On that note, not even the cameras were safe, as one got ejected from the rear bumper—even the best car shocks can only help so much! I especially enjoyed the camera shots delivering the view of the car suspension and wheels on takeoff and landing.

Witnessing the abuse the car suspension withstood got me to thinking about my own car shocks. Automotive experts recommend replacing car shocks every 50,000 miles, but according to an article in Modern Tire Dealer, 86% of vehicles arriving at junkyards still have their original shocks and struts. That’s crazy, especially when you consider how car shocks impact braking and cornering ability, as well as tire wear. A study by Monroe found that even if one of four car shocks is degraded by 50%, stopping time can increase by 4.3% and stopping distance by 5.7%. That’s major.

While I’m sure Ken Block can get new shocks and equipment whenever he’s in need, I need to start planning my next purchase—my ride’s been bouncing around a little too much these past few days!

If you want to see some crazy moves, watch Ken Block’s Gymkahna spectacular.  However, if you want the scoop on how he drives it and other background on Ken,driving and motorsports, watch this Shakedown interview with Ken and Leo Parente.