Normally people give consideration to surviving a high amount of Gs for a long time for things such as space travel or turn and burn dogfights. But what about when we scale the impulse/duration of acceleration down significantly.

In my setting there's racing something akin to Wipeout/Redout (anti altitude/hover racing essentially). Racing for the most part is confined to the two-dimensional plane (the X and Y planes of a traditional XYZ planar representation). Other than terrain following and little altitude changes racing in the vertical direction just doesn't happen, so no loops and no blackouts from G-Loc.

However aside from the main thrust from the engines that push the vehicle forward, there are a series of thrusters dotted across the vehicle that deliver a large amount of power in a near instantaneous fashion. So, for example, a pilot could fire lateral thrusters to push them to the left or right extremely fast. But the thrusters don't fire for very long since they operate akin to a rocket assisted strafe/sidestep in direction change. The crux of the issue is that because humans can handle horizontal or G forces perpendicular to the spine far better, a racer can increase the instantaneous power of a lateral thruster far more than your average fighter pilot who is doing loops.

What designs for the cockpit or system would help the pilot survive instantaneous high g/ high jerk maneuvers in the lateral/horizontal direction. At present I've thought about shock absorbers since the major threat is the sudden smashing around in the cockpit. In terms of how many G's at most around 50, as in that's the upper limit of limits. Of course, the explanation doesn't have to be pure hard science since its science fiction after all. Though chucking out the pilot and having it remote controlled isn't really an option since this is for sport after all.


2 Answers 2


(note: there's no instantaneous. that would be against the laws of physics. It looks like instantaneous, for the spectators)

Protect the neck !

The weakest part will not be the back spine. The head adds a free and moveable weight, mounted on a fragile piece of the body, which is the neck. Most of the successful racers in your world will have a very short neck, rather than a long neck. Your drivers pull and hold weights with it in the gym, like modern F1-drivers do. https://www.adaptnetwork.com/sports/motorsports/how-do-f1-drivers-prepare-for-the-effects-of-g-force/

Option 1: driver uses VR inside a soft coccoon

Completely fix the driver body, with airbag-like cushions on all sides. The driver will not be visible for the public. Inside the construct, the driver will have a VR at his disposal, allowing for 360 degrees view while driving.

In the races that matter, coccoons are not used. The extra material makes the car less agile. Lots of professional drivers call the "coccoon fix" a tourist solution, for amateurs.. breathing inside is difficult, and it also adds a lot of volume to the car, which makes it slower.

Option 2: dynamic airbag/cushion pushback

In terms of cockpit design, we could use some of the freedom of science fiction: suppose the upper part of your driver seat (chair) would have means to dynamically counterforce the move, while doing turns. A very fast and strong servo system will prevent neck bending in real time and push back with a cushion or airbag, on the opposite side of the move. This has to be a dynamic and fast action, because it the cushion would block the view as well. When a sharp turn or sideways move occurs, it will work very forcefully, it feels like a counter punch really. You have to be trained and skilful, to keep concentrated on the driving, when it happens. Inexperienced drivers will need months of practice to handle the system.


There will still be certain limits, even inside a coccoon. When regarding human physiology, any longer accelleration will push the driver to one side, as will happen with the internal organs. Certain tissue, like muscle and arteries could get strained, or even break. To protect against that, your drivers can use certain medicines. This is called G-doping.

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding your second suggestion: modern Sports cars already do this (albeit to a lesser degree). They'll inflate and stiffen the seat dynamically to prevent the driver from sliding off in a hard turn. So turning this system up to 11 in sci-fi seems like a very elegant solution. $\endgroup$
    – RancidCrab
    Mar 15 at 10:10
  1. I yet offer an option with the transfer of consciousness to another creature, which is the real pilot in cockpit, genetically specially created for this type of racing. AvatarMovie.

  2. Rotate the cockpit towards turns and strafes, so abrupt acceleration-based G-force will affect on the pilot by the strongest axis of resistance to this g-force of the pilot. You probably saw it in the InterStellarMovie in the Ranger ship.

  3. Special suits or/and cockpits with special liquid-like water or jelly which absorbs sudden movements of a pilot in it caused by strafes and gradually returns him to initial position (center). So there must be devices with cables connected to a pilot or remote controls for race car. Something similar Pacific Rim Movie but with jelly instead of 'joysticks' connected to limbs.


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