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Stuntman Steve Truglia attempts what is believed to be the tallest loop-the-loop by a real car

We've heard that 'Ring times have become the de facto benchmark for performance cars of late, but this is ridiculous. Not so much a ring as a loop, stuntman Steve Truglia just attempted to drive a Toyota Aygo through a 40-foot loop for the (other) British motor show, Fifth Gear. The stunt was filmed at a Suffolk airbase, and was planned by a team that included a Cambridge physicist.

While anyone with a Hot Wheels track growing up might know that the stunt can be done, a real-world reenactment with a real car and real driver is so dangerous it is referred to as the "Death Loop" by professional stuntmen. While it might seem that a driver could merely power in at a high speed to carry enough momentum to complete the loop, the truth is that the g-forces on the driver at anything above 30 mph can be catastrophic. So stuntman Steve Truglia trained with jet pilots to learn techniques that would help him deal with the centripetal forces.

The car also had to be chopped to increase its approach and departure angles. He had to enter the loop at precisely 37 mph, then immediately slowed to 16 mph as the modified Toyota went up and over. Did he succeed? You'll have to watch the special episode this Saturday, or at least find the torrent. We don't think we're giving too much away to say that Steve plans something even bigger for his next stunt, even though it doesn't involve a car. He plans to skydive, from space.

There's a video montage of Truglia's work, where he talks about the science behind the stunts, after the jump.

[Source: The Daily Mail]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Massive centripetal forces? Ignoring gravity, the most he's going to feel is about 1.5g's.
      30mph = 13.4112 m/s
      (13.4112)^2 / 12.192 = 14.75232 m/s^2 or almost exactly 1.5 g's. A the bottom of the loop, he'll feel 2.5 g's, but that's the most (.5 g's at the top).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. You only need more than one G to stay on the loop at the top!

        Where's a g-meter or one of those acceleration gizmos or even an iPod with a g-meter app when you need one!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Scientific kudos for using centripetal instead of centrifugal in the article.
        • 6 Years Ago
        GypC, go back to physics class. Ask for a refund while you're there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Centipedal forces are what I use to squash bugs
        • 6 Years Ago

        While your definitions of both forces are sound, the force which the driver experiences is that which is exerted ON him by the track (through the car). That requires the force to be directed towards the centre and thus is centripetal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        actually, it should be centrifugal instead of centripetal

        A brief physics lesson:

        Centripetal force is directed towards the centre of the "loop", keeps the car moving in a circular path. This force would therefore not affect the driver at all, because the car is already moving in a circular path

        Centrifugal force is directed outwards, against the track on which the car is driving. Because of this, the driver would be compressed into his seat and feel like a jet fighter pilot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How hard could it be?

      Just point the car (and it being a 1.0/1.4/whatever L engine) go as fast as you can. I can pretty much do it on the scalectrix at 3/4 throttle/squeeze.

      Anyway, it sounds like they are blowing 1/4 of their budget on one stunt which tells me the rest of the season will look pretty drab.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well they are right in that you can only go so fast. At 50 mph, he'd experience a tad more than 5g's at the bottom of the turn. He could go in at 40 and still be fine. This assumes, too, that you're going to maintain your speed the whole way through. Friction says no, so you could probably enter the curve a little faster than that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Objects in freefall fall at 30ft/s? That's like saying pi is equal to 3.
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