How would you like to drive in a real-life Hot Wheels circuit, complete with a looping track? I mean those toy cars used to run through loops unscathed – it should turn out the same way in real life, right? Stuntman Steve Truglia probably had the same question and drove his modified Toyota Aygo through a 40-foot “Death Loop” to answer it. The way he pulled the trick off is more surprising than you think.
Filmed for the British motor show Fifth Gear, the stunt was shot at the Suffolk Air Base, where the 40-foot contraption was built. The stunt team included a Cambridge physicist, who helped the driver figure out the right speeds to execute the loop-the-loop gracefully. As it turns out, the best way doesn’t even come near having to step on the gas like a madman.
While our first thought at having to drive anything like this is to go as fast as humanly possible, that’s apparently the wrong strategy. Instead, you had to drive the various stages at just the right speed. Go in too slow as you hit the high point and your car drops down in a demonstration of gravity. Hit too fast a stride and the G-force will knock you unconscious (Steve, in fact, did endurance training with jet pilots to learn how to deal with the centripetal forces, so he wouldn’t black out).
To run the loop, Steve had to enter at precisely 37 mph and slow down to 16 mph as the car took to the pinnacle and went over it. Want to see the stunt? Those in the UK can see it Saturday when the episode airs, while the rest of us can wait till someone nice enough posts it on YouTube.