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In GTA Online, F1 cars really can drive upside-down

It’s said that the aerodynamic design of Formula One cars generates so much downforce that you could, theoretically, drive one upside-down. In reality, nobody seems willing to risk vehicle and vertebrae to attempt this stunt. But in GTA Online, we’re mere bytes so of course driving on the ceiling (oh what a feeling!) was one of the first things people tried when the first F1 car arrived last week. It is possible, and it’s great fun. I won one myself and frankly am now more interested in F1 stunting than the F1 races launching this week. Come see.

While F1 races don’t start until this week, the first F1 car arrived on Thursday as the podium prize on the Diamond Casino’s lucky wheel. I scored one and generally had a great time pootling around Los Santos. I don’t play F1 racing games but I do half-want to after feeling quite how nimble those cars are. And after seeing they can drive on the ceiling. Which they can. Like this:

The boost isn’t strictly necessary but I do find it it handy to get started bumping up onto the walls. I saw Neostyx on Reddit ride the roof first and now I can’t stop. GTA is far from a serious physics simulation, of course, but it’s still nice to live the science myth. The BBC gabbed about F1 car design a few years back:

“The forces reacting on an F1 car push it into the ground and make it lean on its tyres but the car doesn’t care if the ground is above it – or below. So in theory the car could probably drive along upside down in the roof of a tunnel at about 120mph and it would support its own weight, which is how aerodynamics work in aeroplanes.”

Though others say that with a real car, on a mechanical level beyond physics equations, gravity being flipped would interfere with the intended movement of fluids and other such pedantry but look, I’ve been driving F1 cars upside-down all day and it’s great.

This is not helping my reputation as a proud collector of crap cars, is it?

The Open Wheel Race Series is due to start this week in GTA Online. You won’t need to win or buy yourself a car, as these races do always provide a generic one. I will definitely have a go but man, I hope Rockstar will also create stunt races for this magic flying car. Even if the fins and bodywork so essential to generating downforce are apparently made of paper, so flimsy that bollards will strip a car in a split-second:

Disclosure: Like half the population of Edinburgh, I have a few pals who work at Rockstar. Not sure what exactly they do there. THINGS?

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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