One week ago today, race car driver, purveyor of Hoonigan Industries, star of the viral Gymkhana video series, former Ford partner, and all-around car guy Ken Block tragically passed away after a snowmobile accident. Block spent a decade with The Blue Oval before the two parted ways in early 2021, owning a number of amazing Ford vehicles in those years as well. However, Block is perhaps best known to many for his motorsports endeavors in series such as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and now, that same organization has decided to retire his number – 43 – as a tribute to the larger-than-life personality.
“Given the enormous contribution our great friend Ken Block made to motorsport and the fact that he was held in such high regard by people the world over, it is entirely appropriate that his #43 will be withdrawn from use during the 2023 WRC season,” said FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “While it’s a small gesture, we hope that it is one that will bring some comfort to his family and friends at this time. Ken was a true legend and the memory of this true legend will live with us forever.”
“The impact that Ken had on rallying in taking our sport to an all-new audience cannot be underestimated,” added WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel. “For Ken, fan engagement was paramount, making him a beloved figure of the WRC. As a sport, withdrawing the number 43 – a number synonymous with Ken – is our small mark of respect for Ken’s family, friends, and fans.”
Block made his FIA World Rally Championship debut in Mexico back in 2007 and started 25 rounds at the pinnacle of the sport, mainly behind the wheel of M-Sport Ford cars. By the end of 2007, Block had achieved 19 podiums and 8 overall victories in various rally events, and he went on to earn many, many more accolades while skyrocketing to worldwide fame thanks to his driving prowess both on and off the track.