The eleventh installment of the Gymkhana series is both a departure from past videos and a return to the show’s essential spirit. The tire-slaying seems to never subside, but Ken Block has left the driver’s seat and allowed Travis Pastrana to slide in, buckle the five-point harness, and rip the handbrake. The results are exactly what you’d expect.
The new driver represents the break from the show’s past, but the star car does homage to much earlier episodes. Pastrana is wheeling a fully-prepped Subaru STI, just like the original “gymkhana testing and practice” video in which Block slid around an abandoned airfield. There aren’t any planes this time, but there are boats—a fitting choice, since this video is set in Pastrana’s hometown of Annapolis, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.
The opening jump is certainly the highlight of the video, but don’t let the epic nature of the massive canal leap overshadow the driving clinic Pastrana puts on for the rest of the film. There are a few of the same gags that make it into every Gymkhana flick—the donuts around a rolling object, for example—but familiarity shouldn’t breed complacency. Both Block and Pastrana make sliding a car through these precision gaps look so routine it’s easy to forget the insane difficulty of even some of the “basic” moves in this video.
Overall, the production has changed a bit. This video incorporates fewer of the highly structured and meticulously placed stunts of the later Block videos and instead makes more use of the natural landscape. We dig it, and are curious to see what Pastrana and the team have planned for the next installment.
Have a favorite stunt from this nine-minute tire-smoke show? Tell us in the comments below.