Three years ago, British motoring show Fifth Gear organized a daring loop-the-loop stunt special that presenter Tom Ford described as, “the biggest and bestest thing Fifth Gear has ever done.”
In preparation of the stunt, Fifth gear and a team that included a Cambridge physicist laid the plans for a massive 40-foot loop in a Suffolk airfield and a heavily modified tiny Toyota Aygo to do the job. The stuntman, Steve Truglia, must enter the loop at a speed of 36 mph in order for the run to be successful. Any slower, and the Aygo would plummet 40 feet before landing on its roof. Any faster, Steve Truglia may black-out from forces exceeding 6 G’s and the loop’s structural integrity may get compromised as well.
Upon successful completion of the loop-the-loop stunt, Fifth Gear claimed, “Take a moment to savor the world record for driving a car around the largest loop-the-loop. Chances are, you’ll never see it executed so perfectly ever again.”
Not so fast. On September 23, 2011, a team of Chinese thrill-seekers sought to break the record. The physics principles remain the same, except this time, the Chinese team erected a steel loop that measured 42ft and 2.69 inches in diameter, 2 feet more than Fifth Gear’s. Behind the wheel of a Lotus L5 with a full roll-cage (the same Youngman Lotus that made a bid for Saab last year), driver Li Yatao successfully completed the loop-the-loop and has now become the new record holder.
Check out the video provided by the Guinness World Records below. Please do not try this at home; leave it for the math and physics wizards instead.