Pirelli has confirmed that Ken Block – best known for his Gymkhana videos and his exploits in the World Rally Championship – will make his F1 debut during a test at Monza in August.
The American will be at the wheel of Pirelli's development car, a 2009 Toyota which has undergone modifications to simulate the current F1 regulations.
Block will appear on track on 5 August on what will be the final day of a three-day test, with former Virgin Racing driver Lucas di Grassi on track during the opening two days to test the latest evolution of Pirelli's F1 tyre.
Block will start his test using Pirelli's softer compound tyres but could then make use of the medium and hard compound rubber during his time behind the wheel.
“I've been lucky enough to do some pretty spectacular stunts in my career so far, but this is something else!” Block said. “Everybody talks about Formula One being the pinnacle of world motorsport so I can't wait to discover it for myself. I'm very grateful to Pirelli, which has been one of my partners since 2010, for this amazing opportunity. These cars are so specialised that I need to be realistic about what I can do, but I know that it's going to be a lot of fun and take hooning to a whole new level…”
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said he was pleased to give Block the chance to sample the F1 machine.
“We're absolutely delighted that Ken is making his Formula One driving debut with us, and where better than Monza?” he said. “I hope that he thoroughly enjoys the experience of driving these awesome cars. We got to know Ken through our partnership with the Gymkhana programme and the World Rally Championship last year, where he impressed us with his dedicated approach, his technical feedback and his unique way of marketing the sport.
“We're really looking forward to finding out what he thinks about our Formula One tyres, and I'm sure that the millions of his fans around the world can't wait to see him behind the wheel of a grand prix car. Ken seems to be a person who has done more or less everything in his career up to now – so I'm very glad that we were actually able to find a new experience for him!”