Ken Block and his 1977 Ford F-150 hustle up Tianmen Mountain

Ken Block
Ken Block and his 1977 Ford F-150 Hoonitruck on their way up Tianmen Mountain | Hoonigan Racing photos

VW’s ID.R race car isn’t the only high-performance vehicle to challenge China’s daunting “Big Gate Road” and its 99 hairpin turns recently. Ken Block and his Hoonitruck also did a run up Tianmen Mountain.

The Hoonitruck is a somewhat modified 1977 Ford F-150 with 914 horsepower and, with support from Toyo Tires, Forza Motorsport and Omaze, Block and his vehicle staged Climbkhana Two: Tianmen Mountain, and have video to share of the experience.

“About five years ago, I found a photo on the internet of this crazy road made of multiple switchbacks that actually crossed over itself,” Block is quoted on his website. “Before I even discovered where in the world it was, I knew we had to go film there.

“As we did more research, I realized we may have found the greatest road ever. It’s like a European tarmac rally stage – but turned up to 11 – and, it’s set in a wild scene that looks stolen right out of the movie Avatar.”

Turns out the location is Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China, a region that actually inspired James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi film. 

The Tianmen Mountain Highway climbs 6.7 miles and is considered so dangerous that the Chinese public is forbidden to drive it. 

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“While similar in basic design to the location for the first film: Pikes Peak, this road is almost half as wide in most places, and the consequences way more frightening,” Block’s website points out.

“Over the past couple years, a few other projects have been filmed in the region, but we really wanted to bring our unique style of filmmaking and Ken Block’s wild driving to this road to show it in a way it hasn’t been seen before,” said Climbkhana Two director Brian Scotto. “This road is amazing, but also very unforgiving, which ironically is its best attribute.”

“Of all of Ken Block’s vehicles, the Hoonitruck seemed the least suited for this incredibly narrow road, which at some points is skinnier than the highly modified, AWD truck is long,” Blocks website reports. “But its massive proportions only make the feat even more impressive.”

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. I look forward to seeing the making of this video. If you follow these Gymkhana videos, you know that they are never shot in one take. It’s just edited to look like they are. He invariably smacks into something. Still crazy impressive though.

  2. Mr. Block is the most highly skilled, post-high school high schooler living.
    What he does takes pubescent just-drivers, and their skateboard fantasies, and turns this into a living study of willpower, art, and absolute control of an automobile.
    No one does this better. Not Tanner Foust and the "drift kings", not Lewis Hamilton and the F1 circus- no one.
    There’s a lot of regrettable "music", "fashion", and "kultur" that Block could be held accountable for, but his car control, and image control, are unequalled.
    Dude’s got excellent taste in motor, and quick fast skilled hands in control.
    Hard to dis a cat like that, dorky tag (hoonigan) ‘n’ all.
    I was privileged to have seen him drive at Pike’s Peak. Privileged. ‘Nuf said.
    Man can wheel- dorkaramic social media hype don’t matter, no, not at all.
    Dumb ass internet crap will fade; Ken Block will be seen as one of the premier wheelmen of the age- and I’d bet that he knows.
    And doesn’t care. Too busy having fun.

  3. Holy crap !!!! This guy is sick !!! ( the good kind , lol, or maybe not) about FAITH.. need to really trust your equipment , your ability , and I hope GOD.!!! THANK you for the video..


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