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The Zero Gravity Pit Stop | Time for tea?

Red Bull might give you wings. But for real weightlessness you'll need a Ilyushin Il-76 MDK...

By Dafydd Wood / Friday, November 22, 2019

Having broken the world record for an F1 pitstop for the third(!) time this season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull is understandably keen to make a fuss. But while footage of Max Verstapen's franky ludicrous 1.82-second stop may seem impressive enough on its own, for a brand which spends its marketing budget on everything from sponsoring edge-of-space skydives to buying football teams, there was clearly a bigger stunt to be pulled.

So, with a 2005 RB1 racer in tow, an Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pit crew were packed off to Russian space agency Roscosmos to attempt to repeat their feat once more - with one slight twist. The team had 20 seconds to do what should take them just 2, but the pit stop would be attempted on board an Ilyushin Il-76 MDK cosmonaut training plane. Flying to a height of 10,000m, the aircraft completed a series of parabolas - in which the plane climbs at a 45° angle, then falls in a ballistic arc at 45° - allowing the pit crew to experience zero G.

With each period of weightlessness lasting around 22 seconds, it was within this time frame that the pit stop needed to be successfully completed - the team completing a stomach-churning week's worth of flights to get it just right. You can read more about their gravity-defying exploits here or, in true PH fashion, stick the kettle on and take in the slightly surreal video below. Enjoy!


 

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