Ken Block is taking advantage of a new partnership with Audi by raiding the automaker's historic collection. After testing out some legendary rally cars, Block tried two cars designed to shred tires on pavement.
By the early 1990s, Audi had achieved success not only in rallying, but in the North American Trans Am and IMSA sports-car series. But then the powers to be in Ingolstadt decided to use racing to promote the Audi V8 luxury sedan, leading to one of the most unlikely race cars ever.
The Audi V8 was the predecessor to today's Audi A8, aiming to take the brand further upscale. A big sedan doesn't seem like the ideal choice for a race car, but Audi entered the V8 in the German DTM series in 1990, winning the championship that year.
Ken Block drives the Audi E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo concept
Unlike modern DTM cars, the Audi V8 looks largely stock on the outside, and even retains some of the stock wood trim inside. However, the rest of the interior was stripped out to save weight and make room for a roll cage, and the V-8 engine was tuned to rev to 11,500 rpm.
Like last time, Block took this car out of the Audi Tradition museum and flogged it on an airport runway. After negotiating with the Audi rep about how high he could rev the car, he got up to his usual antics on the runway, drifting in a few places and generally exercising the race car the way it was meant to be.
Next, Block moved on to the Audi Sport test facility in Neuburg, Germany where he took a quick spin in the electric Audi E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo concept. Unveiled in 2018, it's one of the many Vision Gran Turismo concepts created for the "Gran Turismo" video game series. Unlike many of those concepts, though, this one is fully drivable. Audi previously quoted an output of 804 hp, and a 0-60 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds, though the Audi rep told Block the car had 850 hp and 730 lb-ft of torque from three motors, one up front and two at the rear.
Block took the car out on the test track and, once again, drove it like the race car it is, so much so that he spun it at one point. While he kept the car safety on the track, he later said the spin was likely due to cold tires, though he also noted that the car had a very different feel than he was used to.
The vintage DTM car might have made the better sound, but the electric Vision Gran Turismo concept is likely more relevant to Block's plans with Audi. The German automaker said it hired Block to work on electric car projects, but so far both parties have been mum on further details.
Perhaps we'll learn exactly what those plans are in a future video. Until then, click on the video above to see Ken Block to drive race cars the way they were meant to be driven.