Do you remember playing with Hot Wheels cars when you were a child? Carefully spending time setting up a lengthy track around your parents house with a loop-the-loop for the cars and then firing them off and watching them whizz around it. Ever wished you could do that for real? In a real car? Well, the guys at Hot Wheels not only wished for it, they really did it. Although the venue wasn’t my parent’s house.
Rally driver Tanner Foust and Motorcross racer Greg Tracy, put theory into practice by completing a real world double loop using two real Hot Wheels cars. The track was based upon Mattel’s Double Loop Dare Hot Wheels toy, but unlike the toy, the loop stretched up over 60 feet and had the potential to kill both the drivers if the many engineers, scientists and stuntmen who’d planned the daring world record had got their maths wrong.
The cars were Hot Wheels AWD Advance Rally Spec Coupes with four cylinder, 2.0 litre AD9 Turbocharged engines producing 375 HP and 550 lbs of torque. However, they didn’t really have to enter the loop travelling that fast. In fact they had to be a little careful at the speed they did enter the loop. Hitting the loop at a mere 52 mph meant the drivers had to fight off the pressure of 7 G’s – which is a similar amount to that encountered by a fighter pilot. 4 G’s is enough to make an average human being pass out so the drivers had to undertake a lot of specialist training just to get used to the forces they’d encounter. This included some 10 G flight tests to acclimatise them to what the stunt would feel like. If they’d had to travel much faster than 52mph they’d have had to deal with an unreasonable amount of G-force at the top of the loop and they could easily have passed out, whilst driving upside down, which would almost certainly have ended badly for all involved.
The black line painted along the track was added to help the drivers from getting disoriented and markers were placed strategically along the line so that the drivers could tell how far upside down they were. You wouldn’t want to make an error while travelling upside down at 52 mph, pulling 7 G’s and on the verge of losing consciousness.
The 214 metre track and six story high double-loop made from 125 tons of steel and plywood were covered in 500 gallons of bright orange paint for an authentic toy-styled look. From enough of a distance it could just about have been mistaken for the Hot Wheels track from your childhood. The track from the double-loop ran into a final jump much like with the Hot Wheels toy. For something that is essentially childish, it has taken a massive team effort and an incredible amount of thought, planning, training, engineering, and let’s face it – some serious amounts of courage from the drivers to accomplish this fantastic stunt.
Even the drivers were initially a little dubious when first approached. Hot Wheels driver, Greg Tracy, apparently laughed, “I didn’t believe the 22-year-old engineer who said we needed to be travelling at 52 mph at the top of the loop – I said to him ‘You’re crazy. Go back to University, get a master’s degree and we’ll talk.'”
Obviously the 22 year old engineer managed to find a way to convince Tracy that the maths were sound, or perhaps he went off and got himself a master’s degree then came back and talked!
As you can see from the video the two drivers executed the stunt to perfection, completed the loop and finished off with the final jump to the finish line.
So while this is nothing but a dangerous, irresponsible, childish, idiotic stunt, all done for the marketing benefit of Hot Wheels, all I can say is – Thank you Hot Wheels. You’ve brought one of my childhood dreams to life.
Photo’s from Mattel Hot Wheels.