As a mark of respect for rally and "Gymkhana" icon Ken Block, who died on Jan. 2 in a snowmobile accident near his Utah ranch at the age of 55, the FIA in collaboration with World Rally Championship organizers will retire the number 43 for the sport's 2023 season.
Block competed under the number 43 from the earliest days of his motorsports career, including in some rounds of the WRC during the 2000s. He made his WRC debut in 2007 in Mexico and would eventually rack up 25 starts, mainly behind the wheel of M-Sport Ford cars.
He also competed in rallycross, including in the X Games, and American, European, and global championships. However, his greatest claim to fame was his "Gymkhana" videos, the first of which was simply Block fine-tuning his rally skills in front of the camera. That was in 2006, and the concept is still going strong today.
Although Block didn't experience any major successes in WRC, the impact he had on the sport and rallying in general cannot be underestimated. Thanks to his love of fan engagement and stunts like his "Gymkhana" videos, Block was able to introduce rallying to a much wider audience, something that hasn't gone unnoticed at the FIA.
“While it’s a small gesture, we hope that it is one that will bring some comfort to his family and friends at this time,” Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA's president, said in a statement. “Ken was a true legend and the memory of this true legend will live with us forever.”