It’s a generally accepted fact that cars like keeping all four wheels on the ground. Clearly, they’re not the right shape for flying, and if you’re geeking out, then it’s likely the suspension will break on landing. But sometimes, it happens. Whether trying to set the fastest time on a rally stage or just cocking about, these guys are masters of the skies.
The 2008 Jim Clark Rally in Scotland featured a massive jump that caught out the driver of this Subaru WRC. Taking off at a huge 136mph, the Scooby flies through the air for several hundred feet. Somehow the driver keeps control on the incredibly heavy landing, whilst the car survives almost completely undamaged. Unlike the driver, however, who seriously injured his back (but made a full recovery).
Lowriders are an acquired taste, but there’s no doubting that cars can do some crazy things on hydraulic suspension. Sitting in the weeds, riding sky-high, cocking a wheel three feet into the air, or skipping. This Oldsmobile hops high enough into the air to swing a skipping rope round it.
The Car Jump Championships
Yes, such a thing really does exist! Held at the Arena Essex banger racing track, the idea is to jump a car over eight parked cars. Sounds simple, but it really isn’t. Most of the competitors fail miserably, coming up short. But Glen Beevis sails through the air in his knackered old SEAT Toledo and takes victory.
You’ve got to love America sometimes. There isn’t anywhere else you could find the space and time to build a massive earth slash snow ramp, just to see how far you can jump your Isuzu Rodeo (Vauxhall Frontera). The first attempt’s a bit rubbish, but the second is truly majestic.
Drifting through the air
Drifting is hard enough with all four wheels on the ground. But that doesn’t stop drifting god Daigo Saito launching his car over the notorious crest at Ebisu, completely sideways. Even better, he keeps the drift going on landing. Legend.
The Man With The Golden Gun
It’s the most famous jump in film history. James Bond (Roger Moore) is chasing down dangerous assassin Scaramanga, but needs to cross a river. The only bridge has collapsed, but that doesn’t stop Bond. He charges at the ramp and corkscrews through the air. Famously, the film’s producers had to ask NASA to work out the speed and angles needed to make the jump… which was then performed by the car’s mechanic, as the stunt driver was ill. How convenient.
Former NASCAR racer Robby Gordon has become a regular on the Dakar Rally in recent years, driving Hummers. He’s become something of a crowd favourite too, always putting on a fantastic show with his spectacular driving style. He lives up to his reputation with this enormous 120+mph jump, somewhere in the Argentinian countryside.
Sticking with the Dakar, trucks are easily the most amazing vehicles that compete on the rally. The 9-tonne monsters are almost as fast as the cars. But because they are so much heavier, the forces involved are a lot larger. The impact on landing after a jump can be huge and you’ve got to test the truck to see if it can cope. How, you ask? Go to the desert, find a big-ass jump and charge over it at 100+mph. Le Mans winner Jan Lammers did just that with his GINAF and the result is glorious.
Colin McRae became a favourite of World Rally Championship fans the world over, living by his mantra ‘if in doubt, flat out‘. There’s a particular jump on the Sagen stage of Rally Sweden that McRae always took as fast as possible. His flights made such an impression that the spot has been named Colin’s Crest in his honour. Since 2008, the Colin’s Crest Award has been given to the driver who flies furthest (Ken Block holds the record at 37 meters).
Foust, that’s a big jump!
In 2011, all-American nice-guy Tanner Foust set a world record for the longest jump in a four-wheeled vehicle. Starting his run at the top of 10-storey high ramp, he pelts down to the jump in a heavily modified Trophy Truck, he takes off and flies like an eagle.