Competing in a rear wheel drive car for rally competition at the age of 16 is an impressive feat. For Lia Block, a return to the racetrack isn’t just about competition. It also commemorates her father, Ken Block, who was killed earlier this year in a snowmobile accident that sent shockwaves through the automotive world and briefly left a question about the continuation of the Block name in rally racing.
The break was short indeed, as both daughter Lia and her mother, Lucy, were just as invested in racing and car culture as Ken. “This year is going to be a tough one,” Lia Block said on her Instagram page when she unveiled the new car. “But I’m happy to be able to give back what my father loved and what I still love.”
For the 2023 season, Block will be partnered with Rhianon Gelsomino, a championship-winning navigator who most recently sat in right for Travis Pastrana. Gelsomino’s husband, Alex, is also a navigator and has raced with Ken for years. He will race alongside Lucy Block, also in American Rally Association events.
Block started racing at the age of 15 and made seven races in her Ford Fiesta, finishing as high as third in her class. For 2023, she moves to competition for the first time in a RWD car, a Subaru BRZ. Recent social media posts showed Block and Gelsomino getting some practice in the back row at the Dirt Fish rally school in Washington state.
“It will be fascinating to see how Lia’s obvious and natural fit translates to the new car,” Block’s team manager, Derek Dauncey, told Dirt Fish.
For the first race of the season – the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri, an event that Ken has won seven times – Lia pays homage to her famous father by recreating the snow camouflage and gold accent livery that he wore the first used in 2005. A Subaru WRX STI. Ken is missed by his family and his community, but the Blok name is still racing.
Senior Editor, Features
Like a sleeper agent activated late in the game, Elana Scherr didn’t know her calling at a young age. Like many girls, she planned to be a vet-astronaut-artist, and came closest to that last one by attending UCLA art school. She painted images of cars but did not own one. Reluctantly getting a driver’s license at age 21, Elana discovered that she not only loved cars and wanted to drive them, but that other people loved cars and wanted to read about them, which meant someone had to write about them. Since receiving activation codes, Elana has written for numerous car magazines and websites, covering classics, car culture, technology, motorsport and new car reviews.