Ken Block and the Hoonicorn take on a wicked Nova


Ken Block has been pitting his twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive 1965 Mustang, the Hoonicorn, against a wide variety of opponents in a series of heads-up drag races. We covered his matchup with a McLaren Senna and Rob Dahm’s four-rotor RX-7—both extreme machines, though one hails from the factory and the other is custom-built. In Ken’s latest challenge, he and the Hoonicorn take on a car that was actually built to drag race.
Chris P. from Aint Skeered Racing brings his 1966 Chevy Nova to Hoonigan’s improvised dragstrip to see whether his street-driven drag car can launch hard enough to keep up with the Hoonicorn. Chris’s Nova is powered by a naturally aspirated 632-cubic-inch Chevy big-block that breathes through a monster Dominator carb atop a high-rise, single-plane intake. According to Chris, it’s good for 1075 horsepower—and he revs it to 7200 rpm. With a 4.75-inch stroke, that is some serious piston speed! Backing up the big-block is the venerable Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission and a beefy pair of drag slicks. With Chris behind the wheel, the car weighs 3595 pounds.

In the other lane sits Ken Block’s Hoonicorn, which weighs just under 3000 pounds and boasts 1400 horses thanks to a twin-turbocharged 410-cubic-inch Roush Yates V-8. Think of it as a NASCAR small-block without the rulebook that has a pair of Garrett turbos thrown on for good measure. It has a sequential six-speed transmission for clutchless shifts, a rather exotic all-wheel-drive drivetrain, and some seriously wide Toyo rubber to put it all to the ground.

Despite the Hoonicorn’s power and weight advantage, we gave Chris a fair shot at taking Ken down, especially on the shorter races that are won or lost on the launch. Indeed, Chris makes the most of his slicks and gets a jump on the Mustang, but it’s still close.

Once the race distance is increased to a thousand feet, the Nova’s advantage is gone. Ken is able to leave hard and Chris keeps it close—until the power and weight advantage of the Hoonicorn allow it to pull ahead. Unfortunately, engine trouble brings the Nova’s racing day to an end. Perhaps Chris was scraping for every last bit of power and revved the big-block just a bit too high? While it couldn’t survive to take the win, Chris’s Nova did upset the Hoonicorn in the shorter race and we’re sure it will live to race another day.

What do you think the Hoonicorn will take on next time?

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