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DATE News (chronologically)
07/26/11
Racing News
Ken Block rolls out new hybrid Rally Car

Ken Block revealed his newest weapon—a multi-purpose race car, built specifically to compete in stage rally, rallycross and gymkhana events—this past weekend at the Gymkhana World Tour in Los Angeles, California. The Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle (H.F.H.V.), or just ‘Hybrid’ as it has been dubbed, gets its name not from its method of propulsion, but instead from its ability to transform and race at the highest level for each of these motorsport disciplines, making it one of the most unique and versatile competition vehicles ever built.

“Many people may not realize this, but despite the fundamental similarities between stage rally, rallycross and gymkhana, in order to be the best at each, you must have specific built vehicles,” says Block. “My WRC Fiesta just can’t do what my Gymkhana Fiesta can, and vice versa. But having to campaign three separate cars is a nightmare, so we built one car that can be transformed to suit each form of racing I do on the highest level.”

The chassis of the H.F.H.V. is based on M-Sport’s current 2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, but in order to achieve the power outputs required for both rallycross and gymkhana, the 1.6L engine has been replaced with a Pipo Moteurs-built 2.0L, inline-four cylinder. This mill is based off the power plant found previously in the Ford Focus RS WRC car, a motor that has over 10 years of development. The result is a massive 600hp and 665 ft. lbs. of torque when using the 45mm restrictor required by the Global Rally Cross series. While the 2.0l engine makes the H.F.H.V. ineligible for WRC competition, the addition of a 34mm restrictor will allow the car to compete in the Rally America series. Engine management is handled by Cosworth Electronics.

Mated to the Ford EcoBoost motor is a custom AWD system designed by Sadev. The drivetrain features a 6-speed Sadev sequential transmission and three adjustable Sadev mechanical differentials. Different gear ratios are used for each of the Hybrid’s three modes. To handle the varying surface conditions, specific Reiger suspension set-ups have been developed for each of the three modes.

“The H.F.H.V. is the best of all worlds for me,” says Block. “The current WRC Fiesta is the greatest handling car I have driven, but it lacks the sheer grunt that the 2.0L engine in the WRC Focus created. The H.F.H.V. brings those two things together, and the result is a manic beast that is just too much fun to drive.” 

The transformations from each of the modes range from half a day, to a whole day’s work. The rallycross and gymkhana set-ups are the most similar, but each discipline still requires different gear ratios, entirely different suspension settings, as well as a different wheel and tire combo in addition to engine mapping adjustments. The conversion to stage rally, however, is even more involved, including an entire relocation of the cooling system from back to front, a smaller brake set-up, the addition of a Recaro Ultima seat for a co-driver, a smaller turbo and items such as functional headlights to replace the faux lamps to make the H.F.H.V. road worthy.

The H.F.H.V. was a collaborative project between the Monster World Rally Team and a assortment of some of the world’s top technical partners.

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