Ken Block Gymkhana Testing Can-Am Maverick X3

Hoonigan front man Ken Block, modern rebel Jason Ellis carve up an airport Gymkhana test course with modified Turbo Maverick side-by-side vehicles

October 2017 Feature

Hoonigan leader Ken Block, special guest Jason Ellis and his crew take us behind the scenes in a recent episode of “Field Trip.” The crew puts his two modified Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo R side-by-side vehicles to the Gymkhana test at Cable Airport in Upland, CA.

Their objective: prove that the industry’s most powerful side-by-side vehicle is worthy of its own Gymkhana spec class. In theory, this real-world test would prove whether or not a special Maverick X3 class would be possible. Did they succeed? If over two-days of screeching sounds and smoking tires, rubber-strewn corners and timed runs on a makeshift Gymkhana course don’t say yes, then the huge grins on the drivers’ faces clearly relay an answer of, HELL YES!

Have Hand Brake Will Hoon

Block, with help from fellow Can-Am ambassadors S3 Powersports, had one of his custom black-and-gold No. 43 Can-Am X3 X rs speedsters modified with a newly fitted and necessary handbrake, as well as wheel adaptors to allow for four Toyo r888r tires to be wrapped around Fifteen52 Tarmacs, making the vehicle airstrip ready. The other unit was similarly modified, except that it wore the stock 30-inch Maxxis Big Horn tires on beadlock wheels.

Side-by-side vehicle wrench Brayden Hunsaker also was on hand to dial in the Can-Am Maverick units, complete with Stage 4 kit (read: new injectors, increased boost, exhaust, BN9 “banana tune” ECU and more) for added grunt and attitude. With Block’s black stallions complete, the Hoonigan crew went to work hand building a Gymkhana grid-style course—built alongside an active runway no less.

Block shared his thoughts on his Can-Am Maverick X3 vehicle in the opening segment of the video, stating, “This thing weight transfers so easy, anyway, but this [hand brake] makes it a little more precise when you really want to put it where you want to put it.”

Course Management

The course wasn’t just thrown together either. No, it included a computer-generated engineering design sheet and all the Gymkhana requirements (slides, figure 8, doughnut box, 540-degree hurdle, water barrels, barricades, etc.). Once the course was built according to the roadmap—complete with its set prop airplane and Toyo-supplied mini tank obstacle—Block took to the course to see if he could own it behind the wheel of his Maverick X3 build. To keep it more logical, Block also did the course with the standard off-road tire-and-wheel package to determine the best offering for this extreme, closed-course driving assessment.

One thing the crew, with its leader’s help, discovered is that the X3 vehicles performed more effectively with the Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) set to Maximum and that Block loved the stock brakes. Block’s first aggressive run in the runway-ready setup produced a solid 45.02 sec. loop. The Maverick shod with off-road meats was still quick, but was not on the same level as the unit adorned for asphalt drudgery.

“Not only do I think this thing can Gymkhana, but I think this would be a great spec class for, like, Gymkhana grid,” stated Block, who called this adventure scientific fun.

Enter The ‘Brake King’

The Can-Am Gymkhana test got a little more amusing when Ellis showed up to unsuspectingly give ’er a go. Ellis, who competes and wins with a Maverick X3 in off-road races in Southern California, is no slouch behind the wheel. However, later on, he took a beating from the Hoonigan crew for his untrained driving techniques and noob status with the vehicle’s handbrake. With some time to adapt to the vehicle and course, as well as a crash course in hand brake 101, Ellis redeemed himself with a not-too-shabby final run that put him, with more practice time, within reach of Block’s best time.

“I have a whole new respect for Gymkhana videos,” said Ellis, who also added that his testing session was one of the most fun experiences he’s ever had. Sign him up!

Road Worthy

In the world of YouTube, the behind-the-scenes Field Trip Can-Am Gymkhana segment produced with Hoonigan Media Machine, Monster and other sponsors has amassed more than 630,000 views and is steadily growing. In fact, after just one week, the entire effort surrounding this special project has already delivered 3.2M+ views from all the video content and more 4.1M+ total engagements. The shorter main video posted to Facebook has earned 1.5M views alone. It looks like millions of others are as intrigued by the idea of roasting tires Gymkhana-style with a Maverick X3 as No. 43 himself. Drivers wanted?

Look ’em up:

Hoonigan YT, Subscribe:
Hoonigan FB:

Hoonigan @thehoonigans

Ken Block @kblock43
Jason Ellis @wolfmate

Can-Am @canamoffroad 

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