Ken Block may be used to sliding his car around corners, but on August 5, the gymkhana star has to restrain himself when he drives around the famed Monza Formula 1 circuit in Italy using Pirelli's F1 test car.
"I've been lucky enough to do some pretty spectacular stunts in my career so far, but this is something else," exclaims Block. "Everybody talks about Formula 1 being the pinnacle of world motorsport, so I can't wait to discover it for myself. I'm very grateful to Pirelli, which has been one of my partners since 2010, for this amazing opportunity. These cars are so specialized that I need to be realistic about what I can do, but I know that it's going to be a lot of fun to take hooning to a whole new level."
Block will be driving a Toyota TF109 that the Italian carmaker has used to test its tires since its Formula 1 program was announced in June 2010. Although the car competed in the 2009 season, it has since undergone aerodynamic and weight distribution modifications to simulate the latest Formula 1 regulations which the current P Zero tires are designed for.
By the time Block takes the wheel for his one-off drive in Monza, the car will have just completed two days of testing with Pirelli test driver Lucas di Grassi, who will be assessing the latest P Zero products for the future. Di Grassi will then remain on hand to give Block some tips and advice as he makes his Formula 1 "debut".
Block will first be running the test car using Pirelli's softer compounds to give him "the grip and confidence he needs to get used to the car" before he gets the chance to try out the harder compound tires that, according to Pirelli, can handle gymkhana-style donuts.
"We’re absolutely delighted that Ken is making his Formula 1 driving debut with us, and where better to do that than in Monza? I hope that he thoroughly enjoys the experience of driving these awesome cars," says Pirelli's motorsport director, Paul Hembery. "We're really looking forward to finding out what he thinks about our Formula 1 tires, and I'm sure that the millions of his fans around the world can't wait to see him behind the wheel of a grand prix car. Ken seems to be a person who has done more or less everything in his career up to now--so I'm very glad that we were actually able to find a new experience for him!"