Successfully piloting an automobile around a giant loop is no easy task, but it’s just not spectacular enough for the crew of Top Gear Live. Billing it as a world-first event, the live show’s stunt drivers will attempt to spin their way through a giant loop twice in succession during the Top Gear Festival in Durban, South Africa on June 16 and 17.
Dubbed the Deadly 720, the loops themselves stands 26 feet tall and weigh eight tons. A custom-made buggy featuring an accelerator lock that allows the driver to put all his concentration on navigation will enter the loop between 24 and 26 miles per hour. Any deviation from that predetermined speed will result in a failure by the event’s calculations.
“There are absolutely no margins for error, which is probably why no one has ever been mad enough to try it before,” says Top Gear Live Creative Director Rowland French. Read all about the planned stunt by scrolling down below.
– Deadly 720 is the World’s first double loop the loop stunt and will be attempted by the Top Gear Live Stunt Team during the Top Gear Festival staged in Durban, South Africa on 16-17 June.
– The two loops are each 8 metres tall and comprise of 8 tons of steelwork (16 tons in total).
If you uncurled both loops, the total length of track would be 58 metres.
28 tons of ballast weight is used to prevent the loops from moving during the stunt.
The buggy is fitted with special hand controls to lock out the accelerator pedal during the stunt as, during testing, the extreme G forces involved forced the driver’s foot to bury the throttle and resulted in the buggy crashing on exit of the loop.
– The dashboard is fitted with a large shift light that goes from red to green when the buggy is at sufficient speed to complete the loop. If you think that takes the fun out of it, think again; with only a 30m run up the shift light will be changing to green a mere five metres before going vertical – not a lot of time to jump on the brakes and abort.
– The buggy must enter each loop between 24 and 26mph to successfully complete the stunt. Failing to achieve the minimum 24mph risks the buggy falling out at the top of the loop. An increase of speed from 26mph will result in an extra G of force on the driver and could cause him to black out.
– The buggy must exit the first loop with sufficient speed to enter the second loop at the prerequisite speed, a challenge that’s far easier said than done. The buggy needs a minimum 30 metre run up to gain enough speed to complete the first loop but only has 8 metres between the two loops to regain the few mph lost during the first 360.
Entering the loop has been likened to hitting a flat wall at speed as it takes less than a second for the buggy to go vertical.
– Suspension is everything: if the car bottoms out during either loop its chassis will grind the steel floor and swipe off vital MPH just when the driver needs it most. This is well known because the team destroyed two buggies due to suspension issues when testing the single loop in 2009.
– As the team was so concerned regarding the potential dangers when first designing the single loop in 2009 the engineers created a full size, remote control buggy that could be sent through the loop – and potentially fail – without injuring a driver. Only once it had successfully completed a number of loops was a real driver allowed behind the controls.
The awe-inspiring Top Gear Live Stunt Team is taking another deep breath and is aiming for a further World Record when it attempts to become the first to successfully complete a spectacular double loop-the-loop feat.
Called the ‘Deadly 720′, the nail-biting stunt has never been performed before and will be staged in front of record 15,000 strong live audiences during four action-packed shows at this weekend’s Top Gear Festival in the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa (16-17 June).
The Deadly 720 is the latest in a succession of daring exploits performed by the Top Gear Live Stunt Team as an integral component of the hugely popular Top Gear Live Shows that have wowed more than 1.2 million fans at venues all around the globe.
The daredevil team was the first to successfully complete a single loop-the-loop in an in-door arena but now is attempting to ‘do the double’ for the first time in history.
“We’ve designed some pretty outlandish car stunts over the past four years from car bungees in Moscow’s Red Square to jet propelled pushbikes, but this double loop the loop has the greatest chance of going wrong,” admitted Top Gear Live Creative Director, Rowland French. “We’ve completed a single loop the loop as the climax to the previous Carmageddon Tour more than 80 times, and you know barring any acts of God, the buggy will make it through. Adding the second loop, though, multiplies the danger by more than two and creates the very real possibility of the buggy falling out from the top of the second loop. There are absolutely no margins for error, which is probably why no one has ever been mad enough to try it before.”
The extreme stunt will be attempted in a specially converted buggy fitted with hand controls to lock out the accelerator pedal during the stunt as the extreme G-forces experienced would thrust the driver’s foot onto the standard throttle and result in a near-certain crash. Speed is one of the critical factors and the dashboard is fitted a large light that switches from red to green when the buggy is travelling at precisely the required velocity to complete the loops. Meticulous calculations have revealed the thin line between success and failure: enter the loop 2mph too slowly and the buggy will fall out of the top of the loop; a small increase in speed results in extra G force and could cause him to black out.
“Absolutely everything has to be in perfect alignment from the suspension compression and precise steering angle to the exact speed of entry,” confirmed French. “If one element falls out of sync, there is no chance of the driver making the second loop. It is this split second nature of the stunt that allows so much to go wrong, and what terrifies me.”
Sources: Top Gear Live, autoblog