Sometimes the Stuff of Genius Looks Vaguely like the Stuff of Insanity

BY Marshall Brain / POSTED April 13, 2011
Hammerbrook - City can this really be true?
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Anyone who has ever played with Hot Wheel cars knows that there are two staples in the track layout arena: There is the loop, and there is the jump. At the Indy 500 this year, they are scaling the jump up to real life:

World-Record Jump Attempt Set for Indianapolis 500

A dedicated crew of dozens has secretly spent the past few weeks in Southern California building, testing and tweaking a custom-built truck as well as a life-sized version of the Hot Wheels toy track set so many of us enjoyed of us as kids. And if all goes according to spec, the Pro2-style truck (driven by a masked stunt driver) will jump across a gap more than 302 feet in length, breaking the world record for largest leap by a four-wheeled vehicle.

Hot Wheels builds giant ramp for real-life record jump at Indy 500

Indianapolis 500, the marketing brains at Hot Wheels will attempt to break the world record for longest jump by a four-wheel vehicle. Doing so requires a 90-foot ramp mounted on a 10-story-tall bedroom door. Dear. Lord.

302 feet is the length of a football field – it is an incredible distance. There have been many attempts in the past to make jumps of this magnitude or more, often bordering on insanity. For example…

Ken Block jumps 171 feet successfully in a rally car:

Travis Pastrana topped Block with 269 feet in rally car:

And then there’s the current record at 301 feet:

Kenny Powers attempts to jump the St. Lawrence river (1 mile) unsuccessfully in a rocket-powered car:

Robby Knievel attempts to jump the Grand Canyon half-successfully on a motorcycle:

Speaking of motorcycles, it is interesting that Robbie Maddison, on a motorcycle, has jumped 360 feet:

Why do people do this? To push the limits? Fame and Glory? Because it’s there? The genius lies in the endless human desire to improve.

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