A father and son set a record for the worldâ€™s largest Hot Wheels track loop
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
When we are young, we all think we have the coolest dad in the world. Well, the kids at Blade Westâ€™s school will have a hard time topping his dad, Matt. For Take Your Child to Work Day, Matt and Blade brought their love of Hot Wheels tracks to Ford Motor Company and set a new record with a 12-plus-foot tall loopâ€”and brought the 2015 Mustang along for the ride as a witness.
â€œIt started as part-fun, part-physics lesson with my son at home,â€ Matt said. â€œWe built one in our playroom, and then built a five-foot-tall loop in our backyard. When people at Ford heard what we were up to, everyone thought it would be a great way to get young people excited about science and engineering by trying to break the world record on Take Your Child to Work Day.â€
Matt is a dynamometer tech at Ford, and he combined his love of science and cars and decided to attempt to break the previous record of 9 feet and 9 inches, which was set in Ohio.
â€œIt started as part-fun, part-physics lesson with my son at home,â€ he explained. â€œWe built one in our playroom, and then built a 5-foot-tall loop in our backyard. When people at Ford heard what we were up to, everyone thought it would be a great way to get young people excited about science and engineering by trying to break the world record on Take Your Child to Work Day.â€
â€œOn a track, a Hot Wheels car can only go so fast, so carrying the momentum of the vehicle through an entire loop is harder than you might think,â€ he added. â€œIn a world where kids are inundated with TVs and tablets, I thought teaching my son with actual moving vehicle models would be so much more rewarding, and then it took on a life of its own.â€
To help with breaking the record Matt and Blade called on Ford interior technical expert John Jaranson and CAD engineer Grant Compton. They used computer-aided design to design the loop using software called CATIA, which is often used in automotive design.
With the design in hand, they needed to actually build it, so they turned Will Brick, the general manager TechShop Detroit, a workshop and fabrication studio. They cut the plywood with a water jet.
â€œAt TechShop, we like to say, â€˜Build your dreams here,â€™â€ Will added. â€œIt was great to help Matt and to work with the Ford team to bring his sonâ€™s idea to reality.â€
You can watch a video of that reality right hereâ€¦
â€œItâ€™s an honor for Hot Wheels to have inspired Matt West and the Ford team to embark on such an epic world record attempt,â€ Chris Down, senior vice president and general manager, Hot Wheels, said. â€œFord and Mattel have a history going back more than four decades. We both have tremendous passion for pushing the limits of design, and weâ€™re happy to be involved in trying to generate enthusiasm for science and technology for kids everywhere.â€