Heroes are hard to have, but Ken Block was an easy idol. Those words kept circling in my head this morning after reading the news. I never met or knew Ken, but as someone tied so closely to the things he did and loved, I feel this loss on a level I didn’t think I would.
In a world where nearly everyone famous seems to have a hidden dark side waiting to show itself on the internet someday, Ken was a rare dose of purity. Car culture and motorsport needed that, and number 43 became the wholesome but absolutely bonkers ambassador for seemingly the whole automotive world at times.
Though his accomplishments behind the wheel and antics shredding tires drew the world’s eyes, Ken’s later work with his daughter Lia and the apparent pride he had in her growth solidified my love of the man and the public figure. It’s rare to see someone involve their child in professional media activities, and even rarer to see them encourage that child to do the same. Ken’s love of lifting her up through videos and car builds is evident and is one part of his legacy I’ll always carry with me.
Ken Block was an easy idol, and it will take a long time to see the bottom of the hole his death leaves in the car community. His work inspired my career and even guided the direction of this site. Seeing him involve his daughter and family through the years was important to me on a personal level. Still, seeing the colleagues and friends he lifted around him in the automotive world is something I strive for daily in my professional life and is a big reason why Your Test Driver exists today.
Even if you didn’t care for Gymkhana or watching rally racing, there’s a Ken Block moment to give you hope on a bad day. My thoughts go out to Ken’s family, friends, and colleagues. I hope you take the time to reach out to someone you care about and that you take Ken’s appreciation for life and growth with you going forward.