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Monday, June 20, 2011

Hot Wheels and Tanner Foust Launch Truck 332 Feet From Giant Toy Track at Indy 500 [VIDEO]

May 31, 2011 at 12:16pm by Alexander Stoklosa

As if the Greatest Spectacle in Racing needed more spectacle, toy-car maker Hot Wheels decided to toss in a giant ramp and a stadium truck. The idea was to capture a new world record for four-wheeled vehicle distance jump, and the whole thing took place as part of the Indianapolis 500‘s pre-race festivities. For added flair, the attempt was made using a larger-than-life section of orange Hot Wheels track hanging from the top of an equally humongous door; together, they rose 100 feet above the raceway’s infield. Adding to the anticipation of the jump, Hot Wheels kept the identity of the driver a secret, referring to him only as the “Yellow Driver,” and one of four drivers for “Team Hot Wheels.” The team drivers—the others are Green, Red, and Blue; we think they might be moonlighting from Power Ranger gigs—strive to accomplish outrageous drift, Moto X, and rally-based feats that fans can watch in short webisodes on the Team Hot Wheels site.

The Indy jump went off without a hitch this past Sunday, and the Yellow Driver—later outed as American Top Gear host and rally pilot Tanner Foust—and his stadium truck sailed 332 feet for a new world record. The Hot Wheels crew didn’t simply put a truck on a huge ramp and cross their fingers, though. Foust put in three months of practice before the public stunt, and as one can imagine, the jump is a bit more complicated than driving flat out down a ramp. The truck’s transition onto the steep ramp can make its rear wheels go very light, and in a worst case scenario could send the thing nosediving into the ground. Furthermore, Foust actually doesn’t hit full throttle until the bottom of the ramp, at which point the truck “bottoms out” and larger contact patches provide a big uptick in grip; the focus during the 100-foot trip down the ramp is on keeping the rig pointed straight. The ramp is just 40 feet wide, and after leveling out, Foust has just 90 feet to accelerate to more than 100 mph before hitting a 16-ft kick-up. During the trick, he was in the air for four seconds.

In all, the jump was a well-executed childhood fantasy brought to life, and you can check out the video of the record-breaking stunt below.

Tags: Indianapolis 500, stunts, Tanner Foust |

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