Professional rally driver and co-founder of Hoonigan, Ken Block, has died after a snowmobile accident. The 55-year-old car legend’s passing was confirmed in a statement by the official social media account of Hoonigans, his brand and the name of the rally team that he founded in 2010.
“It’s with our deepest regrets that we can confirm that Ken Block passed away in a snowmobile accident today,” the Instagram post read. “Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed. Please respect the family’s privacy at this time while they grieve.”
Just days earlier, Block had tweeted an image of his ranch caked in snow, along with information about his property maintenance equipment. The Sheriff’s Office of Utah, where the fatal accident occurred, confirmed that Block was “pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident”.
News of Block’s death has sent shockwaves through the racing community, with tributes pouring in for the Hoonigan founder. Automotive YouTuber Gavin Trace Simon described Block as an “incredibly huge inspiration” while rapper and car lover T-Pain revealed his “whole driving/drifting passion was built” off Block’s extraordinary skills behind the wheel, and he wasn’t alone. Seven-time world F1 Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton took to social media to express his heartfelt sympathies for Block’s family, sharing some of his fondest memories of the outlandish automotive icon.
“Today I received the news over the loss of a dear friend,” Hamilton wrote. “I’m devastated to hear of Ken Block’s passing. He was such an amazing person, always lived life to the fullest. I remember our first time working together and how positive he was. So much talent behind the wheel. Years ago we had an amazing time heli skiing and snowboarding in Canada. We held so much respect for one another. He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful family. Gone too soon. Rest in peace Ken.”
Block’s rise to prominence was, much like his driving style, completely out of the box. Joining the American Rally Championship later in life, the steely-nerved driver made an immediate impact, nabbing the Rookie of the Year award for the 2005 season and helping to reignite a fresh enthusiasm for the sport. The Utah native’s unique ability to push the boundaries saw him finish runner-up three times across his lengthy career, falling desperately short of a maiden championship, however, it mattered little. Block was able to transcend the traditional parameters of the sport entirely, making his way into the video game world, first as a playable character in 2009’s Colin McRae: Dirt 2, along with his Subaru Rally Team USA Impreza, before featuring in Dirt 3 and 2015’s Need for Speed.
For many motorsport fans, however, the introduction to Block came via his incredible work behind the wheel in motorkhana. The ‘Head Hoonigan’ had a natural flair for the extreme, coupled with a god-given gift for viral marketing, which catapulted him and his collection of small-body Fords into superstardom. In 2010, Block formed the Monster World Rally Team, which was later renamed the ‘Hoonigan Racing Division’, before cutting ties with Ford in 2021 and returning to Subaru.
More recently, Block had set his sights on improving motorsport operations for women. A tireless advocate for youth participation, Block was in the midst of releasing a video series that featured his 16-year-old daughter Lia, an aspiring rally driver in her own right, tearing down, rebuilding and driving her ‘85 Audi Ur Quattro.
With news of the 55-year-old legend’s passing, the automotive industry has been plunged into sadness, mourning the loss of one of the sport’s last true heroes. Ken Block is survived by his wife, Lucy, and three children.