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Top Gear’s Deadly 720 – the facts

2012-06-12 09:53

DEADLY 720 HELD IN DURBAN: The Deadly 720 stunt will be performed at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban over June 16/17 as part of the Top Gear Festival.

The Top Gear Live stunt team will be aiming for another world record when it tries to become the first to complete a spectacular double loop-the-loop feat.

Called the “Deadly 720”, the nail-biting stunt has never been performed and will be staged in front of 15 000 spectators during the action-packed 2012 Top Gear Festival in Durban this weekend (June 16/17).

The dare-devil team was the first to successfully complete a single loop-the-loop in an in-door arena but now is attempting to perform a double for the first time.

Read what it takes to perform this death-defying stunt:


The two loops are each eight metres tall and each has eight tons of steelwork (16 tons in total). Uncurled, the total length of the track would be 58m. To prevent the loops from moving during the stunt, 28 tons of ballast weight will be used.
The buggy is fitted with special hand controls to lock the accelerator pedal as, during testing, the extreme G-force forced the driver’s foot on to the throttle and resulted in the buggy crashing while exiting the loop.

The dashboard is fitted with a large shift light which indicates 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, the shift light will be changing to green a mere five metres before going vertical. This gives the driver a slim opportunity to hit the brakes and abort.

The buggy must enter each loop between 38 and 41km/h to succeed. Failing to achieve the minimum 24mph risks the buggy falling out at the top of the loop. An increase of speed from 41km/h will result in extra G-force on the driver and could cause a black-out.


The buggy must exit the first loop with sufficient speed to enter the second loop at the required speed, a challenge that’s far easier said than done. It needs a minimum 30m run-up to gain enough speed to complete the first loop but only has eight metres between the loops to regain the speed 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 critical - if the car bottoms out during either loop its chassis will grind the steel floor and the vehicle will lose vital speed.

In 2009, the Top Gear team destroyed two buggies due to suspension issues during testing of the single loop stunt.

The team created a full-size, remote control buggy that could be sent through the loop. Only once it had successfully completed a number of loops was a human allowed behind the controls.

The Top Gear Festival will be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban over June 16/17.

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