Armed with a set of Toyo R1R tires and 600 horsepower, Ken Block put on a characteristically nutty demonstration at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. With long tugs of his hydraulic handbrake and a heavy right foot, the rallycross ace and motorsport icon easily converted his R1R tires into a cloud of white smoke, which filled the well-packed lot at the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex in Tokyo, Japan.
Julie Sediq, Sr. Manager of Marketing Communications at Toyo, added, “This was Ken Block’s first appearance at the Tokyo Auto Salon. He and the Hoonicorn V2 appeared in the Toyo Tires booth. Ken signed autographs for attendees, he participated in a media and fan Q&A during the show, and he conducted the driving demonstration featured in our latest video. After the show, Block visited Toyo Tires Headquarters in Itami and did a photo shoot at Edo Wonderland.”
Just as impressive as his sideways antics, is the steed of choice for the event: his rallycross-spec Fiesta, nicknamed RX43. The car was initially developed by M-Sport as Ken Block’s rallycross car for the 2013 Global Rallycross Championship and X Games rallycross events. Based off a 2015 Fiesta, M-Sport seam-welded and reinforced the chassis, before adding their own homologated FIA-spec rollcage and fitted their custom body, complete with bespoke underbody protection. Perhaps this car is best known for its appearance in both Gymkhana SIX and Gymkhana EIGHT. RX43 is optimized for low-end torque, quick sprints from a dig, and reverse-entry drifts.
A highly-strung machine ought to be tailored for every event it attends, and so the Reiger suspension, Sadev differentials, and Cosworth engine management are tuned to suit each track. With a Sadev six-speed sequential and closely-stacked gears, the low-speed acceleration is remarkable — 60 mph is hit in under two seconds! In addition to the low-speed sprints, torque and tire smoke are what matter during a demonstration like this, and with some 650 lb-ft available from the Pipo-designed, 2.0-liter 4 cylinder, there wasn’t much difficulty putting on a hazy show for the eager fans.