DRed Bull's Formula One team is known for spectacular PR promotions. But what the racing team has come up with for their latest stunt goes beyond all limits. The so-called "support crew", which is responsible for the use of cars at show events, had to complete a pit stop in zero gravity – aboard the Zero G-Il-76 of the Russian space agency Roskosmos.
It took a lot of preparation before the car and the mechanics could float through the air, completely detached from the earth. The 16-man squad had to travel to Russia at the Yuri Gagarin Training Center in the Star City near Moscow to complete a one-week cosmonaut crash course.
The team decided to use a converted 2005 Red Bull RB1 as the car of choice. The team's first car was taken from the moth box at Milton Keynes for the action because it is slimmer and lighter than the later models. Before loading, all innards were removed from the race car – including the engine and all fluids.
Red Bull racing car floats without engine
So the team members were able to maneuver the valuable cargo in the belly of the Ilyushin Il-76 MDK easier. Although the special transporter with a wing span of more than 50 meters is not considered a light aircraft, the space in the disguised cargo hold above the specially for parabolic flights reinforced hull structure was limited. In addition to the 16 mechanics, the Russian cargo plane took on a ten-member camera crew.
Then the rollercoaster flight could finally start. In order to create the effect of weightlessness, the Il-76 had to alternately rise at a 45-degree angle and then switch back to the controlled dive. Each parabola was rewarded with 22 seconds of "Zero-Gravity," in which the mechanics and the Fimlcrew could get down to business.
But because the car and the tool had to be lashed fast and fast before the return of gravity and the main characters had to be placed in a safe position, each time only about 15 seconds remained to get a scene in the box. So it became the most complicated "show-run" of all times for all participants. Seven flights with a total of 80 parabolas were needed to capture all the sequences for the film.
The craziest of all Red Bull actions
"My stomach was fine, but I felt like my head was going to explode," said Mark Willis, the support team coordinator. "It took two or three tries to understand what's going on. My brain could not process that right away. We've been to remote places and done some crazy things – but this is certainly the oddest thing, and also the most unique. There is nothing like it! "
Red Bull chief mechanic Joe Robinson was also enthusiastic: "This project has challenged us harder than I thought. You only realize how much you rely on gravity when you have no more! You are forced to think and act differently. It was incredible, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Honestly, I could have stayed the whole month and I can do it again and again. "
In the video we show you some scenes of the crazy action. In the gallery you will find some more spectacular pictures. And no, these are not Photoshop fakes, even if it may seem so at first glance.