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Fcar flips at LRP

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by FasterIsBetter, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
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    Steve W.
    I was just reading the thread about the tragic death of Ben and Corey in California. I'm a long-time track/autocross enthusiast, and sometimes we take what is an inherently dangerous activity for granted and become complacent. Hearing about a sad loss of life like Ben and Corey brings things back to reality.

    This past weekend I was up at Lime Rock Park in Northwest Connecticut at a two-day Jaguar club track event. The weekend was open to other marques, and I was there with my Fcar, along with several others. On Friday afternoon, while waiting on the grid for my group to go out on the track, a 550 Marenello in the group before us missed the turn at the bottom of the downhill before the main straight and somehow came hurtling across the grass in the infield, hit the berm at high speed, flipped over the tire wall, landed on its roof, flipped again and landed upright, backwards over the tire wall in the infield. Amazingly, the driver climbed out of the car and was unhurt.

    The truly scary part of all this was that the roof pillar on the driver's side bent and a good portion of the roof on the driver's side caved in. It is nothing short of a miracle that the driver was not seriously injured. Also amazing is that the air bags did not go off, despite a heavy impact in the nose. The frame and rear suspension were bent badly, and the car is probably totalled.

    As with all these events, there are plenty of minor excursions off the tarmac. No one gets hurt and cars are not seriously damaged. When something like that happens, though, and you see a car flip over and get totalled, it reminds you that this sport IS dangerous. Driving fast anywhere is dangerous, even on the track in controlled situations. Very much a reality check.

    So sad to lose Ben and Corey. Thank God the driver at LRP walked away unhurt. Cars can be replaced. People can't. Have fun, but be safe out there, gang.
     
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  3. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
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    HUBBSTER
    WOW, I lost it there years ago in a formula ford, its a scarey turn mostly because of all the bumps at the apex.

    Ive felt my cars get quite loose at the bottom on rare occassion but luckily Ive avoided any damage there.

    Glad to hear he is ok

    What color was the 550 ? Did you get the owners name ?
     
  4. SrfCity

    SrfCity F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,842
    Orange County, CA
    That guy is very lucky. Thanks for the reminder.

    What is the deal with insurance and those events? Someone said if it's considered a "drivers education event" then you're covered i.e. instructors there. Are insurance companies that gullible to fall for that one? Somehow I'd doubt it and think they would decline in a heart beat. So in this guy’s case that'd be $100 + g's down the drain.
     
  5. GWat

    GWat Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    251
    USA
    Thanks for the post and the reminder that track days can have there downsides. In the recent events at Fontana (Ben and Corey RIP) and now your story, I am a bit apprehensive over a track day that I have organized, coming up this Wednesday. Although the safety aspect of a closed circuit is far and above greater than that of an equal experience on public roads, one must always take into account the “what ifs”, that go along with the speed and potential loss of control.

    Judging from what I’ve read about the incident in California, a series of events culminated into a very tragic situation. Whereas in the case of your flip over example, a slight miscalculation resulted in a hefty price paid (albeit monetary) for the owner who luckily escaped without injury.

    As Scott indicated, I don’t pretend to think that my insurance company would pay me for wrecking my Stradale on the track; therefore I intend to drive it like a street car and not a race car this Wednesday. Seven or eight tenths is as close as I plan push things, leaving two to three tenths for the possible mishap. If I want to drive like a racing driver I will get into a race car, with a full cage and fire suppression; something I wouldn’t cringe at knocking off a few corners on. This leads me to my point; a street car driven on the track does not make for a proper racing experience, for that is left up to driving a race car on the track. My Stradale is NOT a race car, it IS a street car and that’s how I will drive it.

    For those who would say that the Stradale was meant to be driven at 10/10ths, I say you are probably the same fools that couldn’t identify 10/10ths from 12/10ths and you are a danger to those around you, so stay away from me on the track (and on the road for that matter.)

    I plan on sharing my thoughts with the people at my track day in the hopes that the loss of life in the past week may set into their minds and possibly lower the level of risk at my event. Thanks for your post.

    That said I extend my deepest condolences to the friends and families of Ben and Corey.
     
  6. beast

    beast F1 Veteran

    May 31, 2003
    8,965
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    Rob Guess
    As an event photographer i shoot a lot of Motorcycle trackday events. One thing the are very adimant about is the fact that this is a track day and not a race. But it is still quite shocking to see rideres pusing the limit and then wrecking and getting hurt.

    The worse thing for myself is the fact that i am standing near a hot track taking photos in the hope that participants are willing to purchase some of them. My worst fear is someone riding way over there head going off of the track and taking myself out.

    One thing to remember about a trackday is there are people working in the corners and pits that dont have the level of protection that you do in your car or bike. It is shear luck that this FCar did not hit one of the track workers.

    So please lets all be safe out there.

    Rob
     
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  8. Dr Tommy Cosgrove

    Dr Tommy Cosgrove Three Time F1 World Champ
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    May 4, 2001
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    I really hope this sort of thing doesn't come in 3's
     
  9. ghost

    ghost F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    9,845
    Singapore
    And a little scary. :eek:

    Glad to see that the driver is ok. And thanks for the sober reminder.
     
  10. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Sep 18, 2002
    15,401
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    Tom
    main problem is this. I have seen it almost everytime I go to a track event. People become over confident, and very competitive. They want to beat the guy who either pissed them off, or they just have an issue with. Wether it be a thought "look at at the pretty boy..I'll show him". Or, "thats the guy that cut me off on the way up here"

    It does not matter that it is not a race..to them it is. This will cause them to push their limits and many times with bad results, sometimes tragic. Showing off also falls into play here aswell. Wanting to impress the nest guys girlfriend or wife, or the girl at the hotdog stand.

    When you have a group of people in high powered sports cars, stuff like this happends its basicly a fact of life. Everyboy wants to be the best driver out there,turn the quickest lap time amongst the people they are with. This is now one of the reasons I stay away from these events now. Too many egos in too small a space and it gets quite stuffy in there.

    I like the track, but I prefer to go by myself. I will meet people there and there will be no ego's involved..because most times I will never see them again, so its just me and the car..no pressure..all fun. I'm not Mario Andretti and I will never pretend to be.
     
  11. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
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    That's the first question that everyone asked -- "Will his insurance cover it, as this is a 'driver education' event?" Well, the answer is maybe, or maybe not. It really depends on which insurance company he has and what the exclusions are on his policy. It is very important to actually READ the fine print in your insurance policy BEFORE you go to the track. Years ago, the policies only exluded "racing". Today, many insurance companies have very specific exclusions for anything that happens on a track, even parade laps. I've seen policies that define "racing" as any type of event inside a track facility, plus autocrossing, rallying, etc. Effectively, once you drive onto the track premises and sign that waiver of liability form that all tracks or other driving events require, your insurance ends. Some companies will cover you for anything except the time you are actually running on the track, so accidents in the pits, parking lots or inside roads would be covered, but accidents while running would not be.

    Knowing the extent of your coverage is extremely important. Every insurance company has different policy language on this subject. If you are not covered, you are not covered for property damage both to your own car and other people's cars as well as to the track facilities (most tracks will make you pay if you damage their walls, rails, etc.), and also liability to third parties. So effectively, all the risk of loss and liability rests with you. That's why it is important to know what your policy says.

    I also understand that several companies are offering track insurance. However, I've heard that it is very expensive, for obvious reasons, especially when you are dealing with high value and high horsepower cars.

    BTW, it's important to check your PIP and health insurance coverage, life insurance and disability insurance policies as well to be sure that if you are injured on the track, you will actually have coverage.
     
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  13. boxerman

    boxerman F1 World Champ
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    May 27, 2004
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    I used to think I knew about speed and driving fast, and for thre open road i was probably OK. The track is a very different enviroment, with much higher relative speeds through corners and much shorter braking distances. The fact is nearly everybody starts to push much harder on the track.

    Recently finished a 3 day Skip Barber racing school and learnt how little I know. Shortly afterwards watched a car club, from the little I had learnt at skip barber this club looked dangerous.

    I think driving on a track is like a sport, there is technique and parctice. The difference is that in a sport usualy you need physical ability to reach the edge so ability and edge go hand in hand.

    In a car for a few laps you dont need too much physical ability, so people with little or no experience/ability can have a car as fast as anyone else, this can lead to serious problems for them and other drivers. A ferrari driver is probably sucessful in other endevours as well so you have a high degree of ego thrown in.

    Of course even the best drivers crash at times, and no judgement on these accidents. But with the increasing popularity of F-cars as a badge toy amongst "high acheivers" and track days we may see a bit more of these unfortunate events.
     
  14. hardtop

    hardtop F1 World Champ

    Jan 31, 2002
    11,249
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    Dave
    As a track driver myself, recent events have given me pause to think.

    I am concerned that some rookie arrives at his 1st track event with a car capable of reaching 150 on a straight and he has 0 talent. Very few people have the talent to save a car that gets unsettled at these speeds (I am not one). I agree with boxerman on the comment that the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know.

    The 2nd point I want to make is that while many production cars today have performance previously unheard of outside of race cars, they do not have the safety equipment to go with it unless the owner installs it himself. Of course, any car equiped with a cage, harnesses and fire suppression would be a touch sell later on, so not many of us will not want to do that.

    3rd point. Many events are also run by amateurs who do their best, but dealing with very potent cars alongside some pretty slow cars and a variety of talent poses big potential on track problems. Add to this that many of the non pro tracks have some pretty dangerous runoff spots because they were never designed for much speed. Not much of an issue in my 328, but in a much faster car like my STI, I spend a lot of time assessing the potential harm of making a mistake in various parts of the track and think about what my strategy might be should I go off.

    I know the curve at LRP in question here. The only way I can think this happened is the driver must have panicked, lifted and spun to the inside. It seems to me, it would be better in that spot to let the car run off the outside exit and regain control on the grass going straight. If this is what happened, then we are once again talking rookie mistake. I have seen this scenario unfold at local tracks.

    Lastly, I think with today's much faster cars, track day organizers will soon have to screen drivers carefully, perhaps asking for proof of some real driving school experience before letting them on a track where they may be a hazard to themselves and others. Otherwise, I fear there will be more tragedies like last week's in California.

    Dave
     
  15. Ashman

    Ashman Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Either that or he went off on the outside and jerked the wheel right to get back on the track, really rotated and shot over to the inside going backward, which I have seen at Lime Rock a few times.

    The Downhill is the big "Man Up" turn at LRP. There is a compression just before the apex but by that time you had better be committed to your throttle and line. You do not want to lift at or just past the apex for any reason. Experienced drivers seem to recommend that you try to gently straighten out if you're off on the outside and maybe you can gradually coax it back onto the straight. If not you're on a visit to the tire wall.

    Going off on the Downhill at LRP is not nice. He's lucky he's okay.

    John
     
  16. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
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    Supposedly, this guy was experienced, but this was the first time that he had that car on the track. He apparently got loose at the bottom, over compensated, and spun out into the infield, not on the run-out side. He shot across the grass, hitting the tire wall at the berm protecting the false grid, flipped up backwards, end over end, landed on his roof on the tire wall, crushing the roof. The car then continued over on its nose, and landed right side up, nose facing back toward the track behind the tire wall.

    I spoke to the driver the next day and he really wasn't sure what he'd done. He said the rear end had moved around on the downhill and the next thing he knew, he was headed across the grass toward the tire wall. I do have to give credit to the emergency services at LRP. They were there in a minute and of course took the driver to their emergency medical facility to have him checked out even though he was up and walking around.

    Let me tell you, I was in the next group out, and my times were a couple of seconds slower than usual the first few laps until I got comfortable again with that downhill. A lot of people were being extra cautious.
     
  17. Ashman

    Ashman Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Sep 5, 2002
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    Glad he's okay. That's a nasty off!

    John
     

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