Gymkhana 2022 was a worthy addition to the popular viral Gymkhana video series started by Ken Block, featuring many crazy stunts performed by Travis Pastrana in his 1983 Subaru GL called the Family Huckster. But nearly every stunt in the video almost didn’t happen.
The Subaru of America YouTube show Launch Control does a three-part behind-the-scenes look titled Road to Gymkhana 2022 that shows just how difficult it has been to overcome injuries, mechanical issues and just plain bad luck. Note that this second episode was filmed before the death of series creator Ken Block.
Trouble began when Pastrana was injured trying to BASE jump off a Fort Lauderdale building for the video. A parachute malfunction resulted in a hard landing that hospitalized Pastrana and put filming on hold for six months. Despite being bedridden, Pastrana was remarkably optimistic given his years of experience putting his body on the line.
Travis Pastrana drives a Subaru at Gymkhana 2022
“Travis has an unusual amount of injury experience,” Subaru of America motorsport manager William Stokes said in the video. After his recovery, he had no problem getting back behind the wheel.
After filming restarted, there was a problem filming a drag race between Pastrana and YouTube personality Cleetus McFarland driving a 3,000hp Chevrolet El Camino. An error in the Chevy’s engine mapping meant it refused to start hard, and then the Family Huckster started having problems too. This was particularly problematic given that the race was being filmed on a closed-off public road and there was limited time to shoot.
Another time constraint was daylight. As everything was set up to film Pastrana performing stunts in tandem with a monster truck, the sun was setting and the clock was ticking. That left time for two or three tries that could easily be eaten up by multiple takes looking for the right camera angles or by mechanical issues.
In this high-pressure situation, Pastrana cut into a concrete barrier, damaging the suspension and rear axle. Subaru’s mechanics switched to rally pit crew mode, mounted the wounded car and got it running again in time to get the shot.
If you’ve seen Gymkhana 2022, Subaru’s behind-the-scenes videos are definitely worth a look to see how much effort goes into making something as dangerous and unpredictable as a Gymkhana video.