The Ford F-150 is no stranger to performance mods. The base F-150 Raptor is already a Baja truck for the ‘burbs. Then tuners like Hennessey Performance and Clive Sutton add even more crazy. But drifter, rally racer and Internet icon Ken Block may have beat them all. He and his Hoonigan team recently took production to China’s Tianmen Mountain. There, they filmed “Climbkhana 2”, a hill-climb film that brings to mind images from Pikes Peak’s olden days. And Ken’s weapon of choice? A 914-hp drift truck named ‘Hoonitruck’—and it just might be the fastest Ford F-150 ever.
The origins of Climbkhana
Over the past decade, Ken Block and the Hoonigan team have become famous for their extremely well-produced Gymkhana videos. The word ‘gymkhana’ refers to a specific kind of automotive racing. A gymkhana course features various obstacles—barrels, cones, etc.—and jumps, which each competitor has to navigate around. But they have to do it in style, with drifts, 180-degree turns, and so on. Originally, Ken used gymkhana courses to train for rally races. But soon, the Hoonigan team’s films became viral sensations. There’s even an Amazon Prime series about their production.
After the release of Gymkhana 9, Ken’s team and sponsor Toyo Tires announced they wanted to try something new. So, they took the highly-modified all-wheel drive tube-frame ’65 Mustang Hoonigan built for Gymkhana 7, the ‘Hoonicorn’ and modified it even more. Fitting two turbos onto the V8, and adding methanol injection for cooler running, jumped power output from 845 to 1400 hp, reported Road & Track. Why the twin-turbo setup? To tackle the high-altitude Pikes Peak for the original Climbkhana film.
Despite Ken’s experience and the now fully-paved road surface, he nearly lost it at several points in the climb. But survived he did.
And the team wanted to make a sequel.
Climbkhana 2 setting
The road they chose goes by several names, according to Jalopnik. Some call it Tianshan Mountain Panshan Highway, others Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road. But the most common name is Tianmen Mountain, aka Heaven’s Gate Mountain. Named so for an arch (the world’s highest naturally formed one), it was also where Volkswagen shattered a world-record with its electric ID.R race car.
Although shorter than Pikes Peak, Tianmen Mountain is arguably more dangerous. The 6.78-mile route may only climb 5000 feet, but there are 99 extremely sharp switchbacks along the way. The roads are also narrower than Pikes Peak’s.
The Hoonicorn wouldn’t do. Instead, Ken brought the star of Gymkhana 10: the Hoonitruck F-150 drift truck.
The Hoonitruck: the 914-hp fastest F-150
Technically, the Hoonitruck is a 1977 Ford F-150. But, like the Hoonicorn before it, it isn’t really an F-150. Rather, it’s the body of ’77 F-150 draped over a custom tube-frame chassis. But if Chevrolet can call their NASCAR race car a Camaro, Hoonigan can call this an F-150.
Hoonigan collaborated with Detroit Speed over two years, according to Road & Track, to finish the build. Underneath is a custom all-wheel drive system, and it rides on custom Fifteen52 beadlock wheels. The engine is actually a 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6, but it apparently derives from the Ford GT supercar. Ford Performance 3D-printed a custom intake manifold for it. And it’s apparently putting out 914 hp.
Why a 1977 Ford F-150? Because that’s what Ken Block learned to drive, and apparently burnout, in.
So, how did it handle Heaven’s Gate? See for yourself.