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.
“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.”