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Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/4/22 1:15 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

He stopped track driving because his friends were not supportive of how cool it was to shut down our event while we literally had to dig his car out of the dirt because he was being an idiot. 

I have seen a lot more carnage at CA track days than I have elsewhere.I've certainly never had someone dive-bomb an apex here but I've learned to expect much more aggressive moves in CA.

When I raced motorcycles (Willow Springs) they started parking guys for frequent off-roading. The local PCA group will ask you to leave, I've seen them boot more than one person.

As for CA track days I'm not sure if it's a CA thing or particular to the groups themselves. There are two groups out of California that I feel are way to open about people's driving. One of them I flat refuse to run with and the other I run down a group because that has restricted passing.

What I always marvel at is folks who look at my vintage race cars and or my motorcycle racing background and think that's nuts. Yet they are going around a corner at 100mph in a car with no cage, no cell, no fire system and an open face helmet..............welcome to 1964 silly.

 

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 1:30 p.m.

It truly sucks for this poor guy.  He made a series of poor decisions, but probably didn't realize that at the time.  I am honestly surprised we don't see more of this kind of thing these days when even a base Mustang GT has well over 400hp in a big heavy car.

Random connected thoughts.

  • Back in the 90's I did a fair number of track days, a season of racing, and a lot of autocross.  I was young and dumb so I thought that made me good enough to be an instructor.  First time out with a 'student' was fine, the person listened and had good basic skills.  Second guy was in his 30's (I was younger) but had a brand new 996 C4S and was a night mare.  Didn't listen, way over drove, and the only reason we survived without damage was because he was braking early so was slow into the corners, but absolutely mashed it at every corner exist getting all out of shape, only saved by nannies and the cars amazing traction.  I will never 'instruct' again, and those who do get in other peoples cars to instruct deserve a whole lot more respect, compensation, and coverage provided by the event organizers (including medical and life insurance while instructing)
  • Went to another track day and a guy turned up with a TT C5 (still in production at the time) who put it in the wall on the out lap like this guy.  Spent most of the day hitting it with a hammer, zip ties and duct tape to make it out in the final session.  Did the same thing again, cold out lap, same corner.  Some people don't learn.
  • When I first started doing track days there was no requirement for tuition or instruction, and when that trend started I was (stupidly) opposed to it.  These days with the capabilities of even 'slow' cars are so high that it's irresponsible to let people out without tuition.
  • I did my only track day in may years last year.  After going out in my Volvo, a friend tossed me the keys to his new GT500 and I took a friend of his with me (only ever planning to go at most 8/10).  Guy starts telling me how to switch off stability, traction, etc.  No, no, no, I stopped him right there and pointed out I was driving a friends $80K, 760hp car and not only was I not going to go anywhere close to flat out, as my name isn't Prost or Hamilton, I am in no way a good enough driver to consider turning those things off in a car I've never driven even if it was a 200hp E36 M3box.

 

When we go on the track, especially when less experienced and/or younger, we may accept the fact that we may stuff up the car, ourselves, or even worse another person, but its more of an abstract though, without the true awareness of just how possible that is.  Many studies have shown that the majority of people consider themselves 'better' at any task/skill than they really are WRT to the general population, and this is proven more so with men (especially) and their driving skill.  The difference between the above vide and a successful day may have been 5deg tire temp, 0.5degrees steering angle, 50less hp, 5mph in wind speed or a combination of things.  That difference takes a lot of seat time to understand and interpret.  You just don't have that starting out.  Almost worse is when you get some experience and things start to come naturally.  I think the highest risk for pilots is once they get to about 2,000 hours.  They've been flying long enough for everything to become second nature and people start to get over confident, then when something happens, they suddenly discover at the wrong time that they aren't as skilled or knowledgeable as they thought. 

Do we know anything about this driver, experience?  Time in that car on track? Organizing body for the track day?  All need to be looked at.  While it may chafe on some, I think all track day organizers need to step up training, instruction etc.  Not that I want to advocate for a nanny state, but especially given how the A pillar folded back, this could have just as easily ended with at least one of the people in a wheelchair for life, or worse, dead.  With the number of track days, especially in places like So Cal with lots and lots of car culture, enthusiasts, and ready supply of cars with crazy capabilities, it's possible to imagine a scenario where you may literally have dozens of these type of incidents.  Then if say 10-12 people were killed in the course of a year, just in California, then I can easily see politicians jumping in to limit what can happen on track days.  If you think that's impossible, New York State (I believe) already mandates closed face helmets on track, and there's at least one state that limits car racing (not Karts) to people over 16 years old.  So States can interfere with what happens on private closed courses.

At the end of the day I'm happy no one was hurt in this crash, I also have empathy for the guy who's lost his car, but I do not feel sorry for him.  He made choices and is (luckily) living with the consequences.  

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/4/22 3:03 p.m.
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) said:
hybridmomentspass said:
CAinCA said:
trucke said:

I'm surprised they allowed a passenger to 'hold' a camera.

And wear a dirt bike helmet on track.

I noticed that but wasnt sure. 

I was surprised because it looked like, and I hate to be ugly, some cheap helmet thats probably not anything certified. 

I do like that SCCA requires SNELL, no matter how you feel about it vs ECE etc, it's another hoop to jump through and it gives me peace of mind. 

 

I dont feel horrible for this guy. I hope im never in this situation, but in the few Ive done Ive always been very cautious on the out lap, knowing my tires were cold. Hell, even on the street Im like that. 

Wrong tool for the job here, but Arai helmets are not cheap. Sucks for the owner of the Vette.

Aware, I have an Arai for motorcycle racing. I didnt see the logo on this one, didnt know the passenger's helmet was an Arai. 

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/4/22 3:11 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

Incidents like this have always made me hesitant to track one of my cars, since I tend to subscribe to the "if you can't afford to walk away from it, you can't afford to track it" premise.  However, I have somewhat reached that point with my current MINI, so I can't really use that as an excuse anymore.  If I wrecked the car, it would annoying, but it wouldn't have an adverse effect on me financially. I also know a few guys who have wrecked cars at track days.  While it's simple to say, "take it easy" that is not really the point of doing a track day, now is it?  I don't know...  I have NJMP not far from me and they host a few Track Night in America sessions during the season. 

To me, people arent saying 'take it easy,' theyre saying, 'take it easy on the first lap or so and get some heat in your tires'

They start the same, but two very different meanings. 

Go to NJMP, do a TNIA session - they're cheap, fun, you'll get a shirt and stickers too! 

To me a track day is about pushing harder than I would on a public street, having an opportunity to see what the car will do, learn how to handle the car better. It's not a race, dont go into thinking that. There's no prize money, youre not going to lose sponsors afterwards if you dont do well enough, it's just a fun day. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/4/22 3:14 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

My opinion of nannies is that, if they need to engage, I'm probably overdriving the car...

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
2/4/22 6:46 p.m.

I totally agree with Keith.  There aren't any trophies for DE.  I go there with a specific plan in mind, to improve on a few corners and maybe improve my overall lap time.  I don't drive anywhere near 10/10th's and tend to throw away the corners with high consequences.  I never go 4 off and can't remember the last time I went 2 off.  I'm there to have a good time, at 51 years old McLaren isn't gonna be calling me.

I've also stopped instructing.  The cars are simply much too powerful and I wasn't having fun doing it anymore.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 8:27 p.m.
hybridmomentspass said:

To me a track day is about pushing harder than I would on a public street, having an opportunity to see what the car will do, learn how to handle the car better. It's not a race, dont go into thinking that. There's no prize money, youre not going to lose sponsors afterwards if you dont do well enough, it's just a fun day. 

I get what you mean... but I guess my fear is pushing it more and more over the course of the session until I push it just a little too far.  I've learned when to call it a day when riding DH at a bike park - but that was a lesson learned through pain and broken bones.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/4/22 8:36 p.m.

I enjoy using my cars and not getting tickets on public roads.  That's my main impetus to do car events.  I also don't enjoy destroying my own stuff so I tend to drive accordingly.  I could never ride with random strangers.  I only ride with people I know and have seen how they drive.  I also only let people ride with me that I know.  I ask people that can help me get better to ride along too.  I can overdrive the heck out of my junk and keep it on the right path, but that's because I know the car and know myself and wherever I am driving. 

This guy didn't appear to know the car, the track or have any self discipline at all.  Part of me thinks he felt the car getting out of shape and just wanted to show off for the passenger that he could correct it.  That's about the only way I can imagine this happened.  Most people I know or ride with would've let up after the first time the rear end broke away and gathered it up and driven more sensibly until things settled down. 

Being an instructor and jumping in random cars with people you know nothing about sounds like a very frightening day. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/4/22 9:16 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

I pretty much only do novice and students; I won't instruct at Willow Springs or Cal Speedway.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 10:22 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

One of my mtn biking buddies used to be a SCCA driving instructor.  Often at Pocono Raceway - where there are a lot of hard things to hit.  He has some stories... 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/4/22 11:41 p.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

I can only imagine. Pocono would be a place I wouldn't want to instruct at either.

 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
2/5/22 5:22 a.m.

Ya'll need to get a E36 M3 box and get on track, you're missing out.

 

MrFancypants
MrFancypants HalfDork
2/5/22 9:27 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

My opinion of nannies is that, if they need to engage, I'm probably overdriving the car...

Yeah, but with that in mind the nannies can be a good learning tool. My car has a far less sophisticated stability control system than a modern Corvette and it taught me is that my it's front end has a lot more grip than I thought it did. With smooth inputs I didn't need to shift so much load to the front to get it to turn and that it likes a lot more throttle at every point after braking than one would expect from a FWD car.

Ok sure, it is fun to kick the back out on occasion, it's just not necessary otherwise.

Also, it's a lot easier to make mistakes in some cars than others... like the Z06, I'm probably never going to drive it without a safety net. Everything I've seen or read about the C7 Z06 is that it has some really difficult handling traits when pushed to the edge.

When I have an instructor in my car the first thing I tell them is that I'm trying to get my car home in one piece, so if I'm not comfortable with something I'm going to say so. For example, my first time on Road Atlanta I was super intimidated by turns 11 and 12, which happen after a steep incline with 12 being at the base of a steep decline with a wall on the outside.. Instructor said I didn't need to shift early before cresting the hill, I said I was conserving mental pennies and focusing on getting the right line before going full yeet, instructor said: good idea. I can take that section flat out now, but that's because I know exactly where the car needs to be as I crest the hill along with every little bump on the way down it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/5/22 2:04 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

You should try Woody Creek. It has "safety boulders". 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/5/22 2:26 p.m.

In reply to MrFancypants :

I am sure your instructor's heart rate went down 20-30 after you said that, too.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/5/22 3:32 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I was involved with rally for about a decade......those courses have safety boulders as well.......of course I was always driving.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/5/22 3:56 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

Track a beater? You mean like this car I started flogging 33 years ago?

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
2/5/22 4:18 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Exactly like that! It was mainly a comment directed towards all the, "I'm scared to get on track because of XXXX (too much car/not enough prep/too expensive of a car)" comments I was reading. My first track car was a civic CX!

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/5/22 8:16 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

Yup, for the same reason I do the you don't need a 400hp car to track day.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/6/22 9:32 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

My opinion of nannies is that, if they need to engage, I'm probably overdriving the car...

You and you're hot takes lately. I guess I never overdrove my NA at the track since it didn't have "nannies."

Tk8398
Tk8398 HalfDork
2/6/22 4:49 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 It's really hard to screw up badly enough in autox to do more damage than some cone scuffs if the course is designed well.

I wish they did a better job at the ones near me, there are only a few sites left and the last couple times I went (just to watch, was not participating), I saw a spectator get hit by a car and sent flying through the air (with no changes made to the event to avoid a repeat), and a course worker trip and nobody red flag the driver on course, so he had to make a hard stop from full speed and was about 1.5 car lengths from turning the course worker into a speed bump.  After that I decided it wasn't for me.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/6/22 5:28 p.m.

In reply to Tk8398 :

WTF? What group is this? 

Tk8398
Tk8398 HalfDork
2/6/22 5:48 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

The car hitting the spectator was SCCA, then the almost run over course worker was at the same site but run by a different organization, most of the same people though.  The main problem is that it's a site that's too small, but it's one of the last places they are able to do it so I guess they just deal with it.

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