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Fast facts

The idea of a car driving upside down might seem preposterous, the kind of stunt seen in dumb action movies. However, science has assured us that it is indeed possible for a car to drive on the ceiling.

Race cars, specifically those used for Formula One racing, are designed with inverted wings. They work in the opposite fashion to aircraft wings—instead of generating lift, they generate downforce, which pushes the car down against the ground.

While this might seem counterproductive in relation to achieving high speeds, the down-force has a practical use: It allows F1 cars to take corners at a velocity that would otherwise send them flying off the road.

All an F1 car would need to do to drive upside down is to generate a down-force equal to or greater than its own weight.

But while the science is sound, there are some pretty big complications. Driving upside down would be extremely disorienting to the man behind the wheel. Moreover, the car’s engine and components are not currently designed to operate upside down.