THE KIWI CON­NEC­TION

NZ Performance Car - - Contens -

TAKE A LOOK INTO THE BUILD OF KEN BLOCK’S IN­TER­NET-EX­PLOD­ING HOON­I­CORN AND THE KIWI TEAM BE­HIND THE PROJECT

If you’re read­ing this then chances are you have watched one, or more likely all seven of Ken Block’s Gymkhana videos, which year on year over the past seven years have ex­ploded YouTube upon their re­lease. Each video took an­other step into fur­ther into insanity, but none more so than the lat­est —and in our minds great­est Gymkhana 7. Ex­actly why we think it’s the best video to date comes down to the hard­ware. Sure, the Subarus and Fords used in the first six were awe­some per­form­ing ma­chines, but Ken’s 1965 Ford Mus­tang — dubbed the Hoon­i­corn — stole the show, ba­si­cally be­cause no one ex­pected Ken to build an all-wheeldrive tube-framed Ford Mus­tang pow­ered by a 630kW, 6.7-litre (845hp, 410ci) Roush Yates V8, breath­ing through a Kinsler eight-stack ITB sys­tem, and putting power to all four fif­teen52 wheels through a be­spoke Sadev se­quen­tial six-speed all-wheel-drive gear­box, just to burn some tyres. Then there’s the stance — look­ing as ex­treme as it does, how could it not be­come the most talked-about car of 2014? You ei­ther love it or hate it — there’s no mid­dle ground.

It is now widely known that the Hoon­i­corn was built by North Carolina–based ASD Mo­tor­sports, but what is rel­a­tively un­known is New Zealand’s con­nec­tion with the car via a cou­ple of blokes from Christchurch.

As some of you may be aware, ex-pat Kiwi Ian Ste­wart is the man be­hind the hugely suc­cess­ful ASD Mo­tor­sports com­pany, and he was com­mis­sioned by Ken Block to build the car that would be­come the Hoon­i­corn. Ja­son Burke is the direc­tor and mas­ter fab­ri­ca­tor at Christchurch-based Burke’s Met­al­works. He was specif­i­cally cho­sen by Ian as the man for the job of trans­form­ing sketches and CAD ren­der­ings into some­thing tan­gi­ble.

We talked to both Ian and Ja­son to get some info on the build, and to find out how th­ese Christchurch boys got in­volved in con­struct­ing the most po­lar­iz­ing car of 2014.

Au­tosport Dy­nam­ics Be­fore we can get to ASD’s in­volve­ment with the Hoon­i­corn, we need to start with ASD. Ian grew up in Christchurch, and has been fas­ci­nated with rac­ing since he was a kid. His dad was friends with many of the guys who raced at the lo­cal dirt track, Wood­ford Glen, and that was where Ian spent most of his Satur­day nights when he was grow­ing up. By the age of 16 he’d built his first race car — an of­froad buggy. His dad had a re­pair shop, a small fam­ily busi­ness, and grow­ing up into that — along with his love of rac­ing — prompted Ian to be­come an ap­pren­tice me­chanic in Christchurch’s CBD. By the age of 22 Ian had flown over to the UK with the in­ten­tion of get­ting a job in Bri­tish For­mula 3. At the time the top team was West Sur­rey Rac­ing, owned by Kiwi Dick Ben­netts. Ian found em­ploy­ment as a me­chanic at a Ford deal­er­ship, and over the next few months con­vinced Dick to give him a job as a num­ber two me­chanic. From be­ing a num­ber two me­chanic on Mika Hakki­nen’s car, Ian was taken on by Dick as a sort of trainee race en­gi­neer, work­ing on Chris­tian Fit­ti­paldi’s car. “It was a kinda bull­shit po­si­tion he cre­ated, to be hon­est with you. He did me a huge favour, and I owe him a lot,” Ian said. It was there he be­gan to learn more about the

en­gi­neer­ing be­hind a race car and team.

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