Pioneered by Ken Block in his groundbreaking series of viral videos, gymkhana is a spectacular form of showmanship in driving that includes all kinds of jumps, drifts, and other stunts. For the seventh straight year, Gymkhana Grid marries stunt driving and drifting with racing with Saturday’s World Finals.
What is Gymkhana Grid?
Gymkhana Grid is the racing version of gymkhana: an event that pits two cars head-to-head against one another on a compact version of the elements that have made Block’s videos so legendary. It’s still about style, but the winner isn’t the one who does it the prettiest; it’s about who can get to the finish line first.
Where is the event being held?
The Carnival City Resort, just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, returns to host today’s Gymkhana Grid World Finals. The sport has had a number of host venues over the years, notably including Irwindale Speedway in 2013, where it was a part of the final X Games Los Angeles.
Who are the defending event winners?
This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s watched an FIA World Rallycross race over the past few years: Johan Kristoffersson is the defending AWD champion in Gymkhana Grid. Coming off of a nearly perfect World RX season in which he won 11 of 12 races, he’ll look to defend his crown in the same Volkswagen Polo that he just used to win World RX’s South Africa season finale. In RWD, Luke Woodham is the man to beat, as he goes for his fifth Gymkhana Grid victory in a row.
Who else is on the entry list?
Many of rallycross’ biggest names show up for Gymkhana Grid in the AWD class, and 2018 is no exception. Kristoffersson’s World RX teammate Petter Solberg, a former World RX teammate himself, is also on the grid, as is his son Oliver, who won the Nordic RX title this year. They went 1-2-3 in seeding. Frequent World RX and ARX competitor Oliver Bennett is also seeded sixth on the AWD grid.
Behind top qualifier Woodham, the RWD entry list includes Daigo Saito and Steve “Baggsy” Biagioni, who placed second and third in Friday seeding. And, uh, yes, Block will be there, driving the Hoonicorn V2 that has earned so much notoriety in his video projects in the final.
What does the course look like?
Like past years, the Gymkhana Grid course features a number of obstacles based on Block’s Gymkhana videos and sponsorship props. From donut boxes to drifts around cones and barrels, drivers will be expected to make a number of drift, figure eights, and even reverse driving maneuvers. The biggest addition to this year’s course: the ball tap from Gymkhana 6 is part of the layout.