It is not often that Ken Block has to phone a friend. Ken Block is the master of the Gymkhana videos, where he is seen throwing cars into and out of seemingly impossible situations with regularity. Well, he has a daughter that is ready to lay some tire tracks down of her own as she turns 14. But, to teach her that the performance aspect of a vehicle involves more than going in a straight line, Mr. Block bought a Ford Mustang and called a friend, Vaughn Gettin Jr., the Formula Drift Champion.
Driving is a critical milestone when we are young
When we were young, there were some critical milestones in life that we were looking to achieve. Those are pretty much the same for everyone. They were finishing school, making our own money, and learning to drive. That last one, learning to drive, is something that tugs on a young person’s heart almost daily since having mom, dad, or an older sibling drive us around gets old. Now imagine that a family member is a professional race car driver. Imagine seeing that family member hooning almost daily for work. What is that like on a young family member waiting to get behind the wheel? Well, the anticipation is almost certainly amplified as it no doubt was for Ken Block’s daughter.
Calling a friend even though you are already a capable driver
Ken Block has moments of brilliance behind the wheel of a car frequently. There is no doubt that he could teach his daughter how to handle a car. But he also has a friend who is a professional drifter that could teach his daughter. So, he phoned Vaughn Gettin Jr. to instruct her how to drift a Fox-body Ford Mustang convertible for her 14th birthday.
The Fox Body Ford Mustang
The Fox-body Ford Mustang was available for model years 1979 through 1993. Engine choices ranged from a four-cylinder all the way up to V8. For the driver training lesson, Mr. Block and his team found an example of a GT trimmed Fox-body Ford Mustang and prepared it for drift duties. It is equipped with the 5.0-liter V8. Then it was up to the professional drifter to bring the young lady up to speed on throwing the car around but still maintaining control.
The cooling system and suspension of the Ford Mustang complained
The instruction had only just begun when the cooling system of the Mustang decided to complain. It did so by dropping its coolant. The determination was made that there was not enough airflow for the torture that the pupil and student were putting on the old platform. So, with a drill in hand, the Mustang’s front facia was opened up to create a more direct flow of air to the radiator.
Trackside repairs would continue a short while later when the shock tower and wheel came in contact with each other during a full-lock steering situation. After a quick repair, the Mustang was put back out on the course only to run out of gas. But, the progress of young Miss Block is noticeable at this point as she was able to begin to drift donuts. The video is below.
Moving from donuts to drifting figure eights in the Mustang
The repair delays had pushed the training time into darkness. But, that didn’t stop the drifting instruction. From donuts, Miss Block then moved to drifting figure eights. At this point, her throttle control training kicked in and she was able to put several figure eights together before finishing off the night with a donut and ramming some cones for fun.
As a birthday present, I am sure this training exercise was a big highlight for the 14-year-old. It wasn’t just an opportunity to drive a car in the safe environment of a race track, but also the time to take a Ford Mustang GT convertible out for some extreme handling rigors. She can be seen at the end of the video smiling and high-fiving the people around her. Indeed, so would I. Well done, Miss Block, and happy birthday!