Felix Baumgartner became a household name when he bailed out of a perfectly good, balloon-borne craft and parachuted back to earth from 24 miles up. While that certainly took nerve, his latest stunt shows his prowess with the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo-105 helicopter, and I gotta say, the man has mad skills. Felix chose Polish racer Jakub Przygoński for his drifting skills in a slightly modified Toyota GT 86 to serve as his “worthy opponent” in this little skills battle. All Felix has to do is keep up with a 1,000-horsepower race car – sounds simple, right?
The event, simply called “Red Bull Heli Drifting,” took place at the Debrzno Airfield, where the athletes and film crews would have plenty of room to work. (Face it, nobody wants to be too close if the heli and the car get tangled up.)
The resulting video footage will have you on the edge of your seat, and even non-pilots can appreciate the skill displayed by both men. My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, took one look at the stillshots and said “I’m glad I’m not mother/wife/girlfriend!” Little does she know that I would do this in a heartbeat if I were even half as good as Felix.
Red Bull is known for original events that drive the imagination as well as the adrenal glands, so its partnership with Baumgartner and Przygoński on this project is not unusual. But this stunt marks the first time that a helicopter and race car were matched up in quite this way, and the video is sure to serve as the standard for subsequent efforts, by this team or even another party. So, while it isn’t exactly a sport or a race, it is cool to watch these two go at it!
2013 Toyota GT86
Toyota GT 86