If you know anything about The Fast and the Furious movies, you know that when it comes to cars, they don’t exactly value realism. (The importance of family, though, they get spot-on.) Vin Diesel’s Plymouth GTX shouldn’t be able to yank two cars into each other so hard that they flatten into pancakes—but it does. Spinning out a competitor by knocking into them is just as likely to give you a flat tire as it is to land you in first place. What you might not know—and what Wyatt Knox is happy to explain to you—is what elements of reality, precisely, are being ignored.
Knox is a former rally racing champion, but also an instructor at the Team O’Neil driving school in New Hampshire. And so when he watches some of cinema’s wildest driving scenes, he does more than break down what’s realistic (the footwork in Baby Driver, James Bond’s corkscrew jump in The Man With the Golden Gun) and what’s not (the footwork in The Transporter, James Bond’s Aston Martin punching through another car in Spectre).
In the latest edition of WIRED’s Technique Critique, Knox tells you how to pull off such moves better than the actors (and stunt drivers). If you’re going to launch your Dodge Charger into the air, keep both hands on the wheel, unlike Bo Duke. Yes, the Mini Cooper is a great car for going down stairs, but slow down on the approach, lest you flip over. If you insist on using wheel spikes to gnash your competitors’ tires, make them out of high-strength steel—aluminum’s not up to the task. As the family in Vacation learned the terrifying way, handbrake turns don’t work well in minivans. If you want to learn how to properly spin your ride around, it’s best to tap Knox for a real-life lesson. Otherwise, just enjoy the video.
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