Drifting and Weightlessness

Tonight I was finally watching The Grand Tour, and the Hamster was learning how to drift. During the segment, they showed the car moving around the wet circle of pavement from above and I noticed that it was the same motion as orbiting the planet earth. Richard was trying to keep the car moving in a force vector beyond the center of the circle in much the same way we humans orbit the earth.

If you don’t know, orbiting the earth is about trying to fall back without really falling back. What? Yes. I’m right. We continually fall to Earth without getting to point in the fall where we actually “fall.” Drifting a car is the same concept, only on a horizontal plane. The idea is to keep the force vector pointed beyond the point where the car would rotate around and stop. If you are successful, the car will pivot forever (until you run out of gas) around the center without actually getting there!

I love physics!


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