If you've ever wondered if a Corvette could fly, there's a driver who would like to share his experience with you. The good news is that after going airborne in a 4,000-horsepower Corvette with the world's most useless wheelie bar, he managed to ride gravity down to a safe landing, but those brief moments in orbit are absolutely jaw-dropping.
After you watch the first lift-off, make sure you pay attention to the multiple angles and GoPro footage to get the full effect of this amazing flying machine.
At the start of the race, both vehicles rear up as massive amounts of horsepower transfer to the rear wheels. The driver of the heavily-modded black car on the left has to hit the brakes early to get his front end down and regain control. Only a moment later, the red Corvette that appeared to be in the lead gets air of its own.
Whatever caused the 'Vette to lift off at this point didn't give the driver much time to react. By the time he hits the brakes, all four wheels are off the ground and he is along for the ride, soaring vertically over the track. Luckily, the vehicle wasn't designed to fly perpendicular to the planet, and the force of the lift causes the front end to break off. Without the front acting like a parachute, the remaining parts of the vehicle land safely in the correct position. Had it not, the driver likely would have continued flipping and landed on his roof.
This is probably one of the few situations in which many people are happy that a car came apart at the track. Following the gravity-defying stunt, the driver was able to walk away from the crash while the car lay twisted on the track until they could load it up on a flatbed. From the reactions of his team mates, it's clear that this was just as shocking to them as it was to everyone else watching.
Next time someone says drivers "just sit there," feel free to let them peek at this video to understand the fine appreciate for physics required in racing world.
This post was originally published on April 3, 2017.