Gymkhana is a type of motorsport practiced in an increasing number of countries. Similar to autocross, gymkhana courses are often very complex and memorizing the course is a significant part of achieving a fast time.
Gymkhana events are time and/or speed events in an automobile. These can feature obstacles such as cones, tires, and barrels. The driver must maneuver through a predetermined "track" performing many different driving techniques. What separates gymkhana from traditional autocross events is that the gymkhana requires drivers to perform reversals, 180 degree spins, 360 degree spins, parking boxes, figure 8s and other advanced skills. Drifting is also encouraged where helpful or necessary. Essentially, a gymkhana is any event featuring a starting point, a finish line and some sort of "obstacle" to get through, around, or by, all within a time limit.
The driver's goal is to get through the course as quickly as possible with the fewest number of mistakes. Acceleration, braking, drifting & grip driving are all necessary. Not only does the driver have to hold control over the car, but gymkhana requires strong mental concentration and memorization.
Gymkhana courses typically involve only the use of first and second gear, where autotesting in the UK and Ireland add the use of reverse gear. A gymkhana course will typically be from 0:45 to 1:30 in length. Like autocross and autotesting, gymkhana courses are laid out with cones representing "obstacles" to navigate through. Unlike autocross, which can be considered to be a small version of a road course, obstacles in gymkhana will often consist of slaloms, 180 degree turns, 360 degree turns, figure eight turns and some times parking boxes. Gymkhana requires strong mental concentration and memorization of the track, as sections of the course frequently must be repeated or navigated backwards and or differently. The driver will use many techniques to effectively navigate a course. Handbrake technique, drifting and sliding and Left-foot braking are all necessary skills for gymkhana.
Like autocross and autotesting, gymkhanas are primarily held in open paved fields or parking lots. In Japan, small road courses and kartingvenues are sometimes used. Japan also has some facilities dedicated to gymkhana which resemble large paved parking lots that sometimes have racetrack curbing and grass/dirt medians and islands.
What’s better than watching Ken Block go sideways in Gymkhana part one, two, and three if you’re a car enthusiast? Probably nothing… until Block decides to do it live for his fans.
Known as the Gymkhana GRID Invitational, the live show will take place December 3 and 4 at the Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California. But it’s not going to be just Block driving. The Gymkhana Grid is a one-on-one showdown where two drivers attack a mirrored course designed by Block himself.
Competitors include Vaughn Gittin Jr., Tanner Foust, Andrew Comrie-Picard, Dai Yoshihara, Stephan Verdier, Liam Doran, Bucky Lasek and many more – except that (excuse us here we were influenced by the video) p*%$y Travis Pastrana, he’s forgotten how to turn right.
Check out the funny commercial after the jump (Note: Language not safe for work hours).