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Thread: HPDE instructor killed, 2 injured at Summit Point

  1. #21
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    I actually believe a stock GTO is safer in this case. The car hit the tree sideway, so your standard HANS won't help. GTO has side air bag (I think, I owned one, but don't quite remember) race car do not. I have a feeling race car safety equipment would not of helped in this case.
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  2. #22
    Sir flink
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    Nope, no side airbag.

    How hard is it to prepare a racetrack so the cars don't hit trees. Sigh.

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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    If Formula 1 doesnt drive on a certain track, it means it is just not safe enough. If you drive on tracks that F1 holds their races on, chances are that the track is one of the safest ones in the world. Probably 30-40 of these tracks exists worldwide...
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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    lesson learned...DONT GO OFF SIDEWAYS when trees are 40-50ft away waiting to keel you...

    If i were to go off, i would rather go head on into a tree than sideways. 4-5ft of bumper/engineblock/chassis > 2-3in of thin door...
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    Senior Member bikeindirt's Avatar
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    I was sort of being sarcastic.. My point was car+tree= serious bad news...

    The last WRC driver/co-driver to die "in the car" was tree related. that was in 2005, so safety tech has improved, but I would think a 2005 WRC car is still way ahead of a current club racecar, and lightyears ahead of HPDE cars... and street cars? forget about that.

    Hitting a wall has got to suck(never done it),,, and on courses without "enough" run off are 9/10th for me(Infineon as an example)... but a freaking tree? You have to be joking... There is no reason to take that risk. put up a wall, cut down the tree... whatever.

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    Long thread on this on another forum but here is some more info one of the instructors that survived:

    " Todd is doing ok. He's in a hospital in Fairfax. He had surgery on his finger last night (not sure how much of that he lost). Other than that and a major concussion he is doing well. Not sure when he will get out - most likely in a day or two. I'll let you know more after I talk to him today."

    So I guess the femur is okay, and it looks like Todd is going to come out of this without much more than a wrecked car and a fantastic story.

    Also.... several people here have made vague mentions of how important safety equipment in this thread, but I really feel like we should be more specific in this instance, because it might save somebody's life. Todd was using an Autopower cage (I'm pretty sure it was a bolt-in), and it completely failed. The driver's side downbar punched right through the floor, and on the passenger side I saw that the weld from the main hoop to the upper forward bar ripped under the strain. When you compare that to X's car, or Mike F's S2000 from last year, where the cars were destroyed, but the cages fully protected the drivers, it makes it clear that those Autopower ones are just not up to the task. As a result of the cage failure his head was the only thing that kept the roof from collapsing further, and he was literally inches from this thread being about what we'll miss most about him. I used to run Autopower cages in my old CRX race cars, so I'm not claiming to be better than anybody else here, but after seeing Todd's car... our lives are worth the extra money for a real cage."


    On that same thread someone brought up the topic of maximum connection points for a roll cage. Seems like there is limit on max, not minimum. I know Gordon had to cut off a few welds near the seat belt towers on Kitty to be legal with NASA at one point.
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Brian, you don't have to go back that far.
    The death of Allan Simonsen in the 2013 24hrs of Le Mans was caused by the barrier having 0 gap from the tree that was right behind it.
    And that was an Aston Martin factory team car, built to FIA GT/WEC spec and a driver that had every bit of safety equipment around him.
    Trees are bad.

    I do not, however, agree with William about the OEM protection working better than race car protection.
    There are certainly a number of examples of HPDE cars having a mix and match level of prep where just leaving the OEM features alone is indeed safer, but a curtain air bag works quite similarly to a window net, and I doubt a window net for the instructor would have changed the results much.

    This however, does bring a question for all guys who have full gear for the driver and a passenger seat in the car - how many of you have a window net for the passenger?

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newold_m View Post
    Also.... several people here have made vague mentions of how important safety equipment in this thread, but I really feel like we should be more specific in this instance, because it might save somebody's life. Todd was using an Autopower cage (I'm pretty sure it was a bolt-in), and it completely failed. The driver's side downbar punched right through the floor, and on the passenger side I saw that the weld from the main hoop to the upper forward bar ripped under the strain. When you compare that to X's car, or Mike F's S2000 from last year, where the cars were destroyed, but the cages fully protected the drivers, it makes it clear that those Autopower ones are just not up to the task. As a result of the cage failure his head was the only thing that kept the roof from collapsing further, and he was literally inches from this thread being about what we'll miss most about him. I used to run Autopower cages in my old CRX race cars, so I'm not claiming to be better than anybody else here, but after seeing Todd's car... our lives are worth the extra money for a real cage."
    This should be required reading for every track rat out there making this type of compromise and living with the illusion that they are protected.

  9. #29
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    A rally cage definitely has more required door bar "features", but coming up close and personal with a tree sideways at speed puts a tremendous load on a narrow cross section.

    finished_rs_cage_002.jpg

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Good cages are not exclusive to rally cars, you can have a good cage in a road race car too.
    e46m3w1.jpg
    More pics in this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
    Good cages are not exclusive to rally cars, you can have a good cage in a road race car too.
    Attachment 7371
    More pics in this thread.
    Nice. Is that Mark's E46 M3?

  12. #32
    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    So sorry to read about this. The reinforces my choosiness over where and who I instruct.

    I know a few drivers in NC and GA who will not go on to Summit because of legitimate safety concerns. I know we have had another conversation about how open the tracks are in CA in the desert versus the ones on the east coast or midwest that are encircled by walls with trees close behind. It was a shocking reminder after moving back here from CA. The amount of runoff certainly had my attention at the first few track days. Also, I know the area north of me, near Summit, had recently had a dorecho (?) with a LOT of rain, so that grass would have been pretty slick and the ground under it fairly saturated. Going off on that would be similar to ice.

    From my experience, the greatest fear rally drivers and codrivers have, besides losing, is sliding door first into a tree. A classic instance is a similar hit killing Mark Lovell in the mid '00s during a ProRally. The concentrated surface area and limited crumple zone doesn't leave a lot of room for error, even with an excellent cage.
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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    yea so you people that HPDE/Race/Track on the east coast...just don't go off sideways...mmkay? 99% problem solved. If you do go off sideways...perhaps stop doing that...
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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Again, it is ultimately the participants' choice, including the instructors, how they feel about a track, event, and conditions as to whether or not you feel safe out there.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    ^ Then again, people are ignorant and don't know the type of dangers that veterans do. They know there is an element danger, don't get me wrong, but they don't know how close they are from 1 mistake from getting seriously hurt or killed.
    Noobies don't know any better. If it happened to someone who have been doing it for 5, 10+ years, then shame on him/her. He/she should have known better.

    Well this event wasn't a typical normal HPDE event. People were throwing beer cans from a bridge and that caused an earlier 2 car wreck, which sent 1 guy on a medivac ride. So there was some sort of gathering/event going on besides the HPDE.
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  16. #36
    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pure EvoIX View Post
    ^ Then again, people are ignorant and don't know the type of dangers that veterans do. They know there is an element danger, don't get me wrong, but they don't know how close they are from 1 mistake from getting seriously hurt or killed.
    Noobies don't know any better. If it happened to someone who have been doing it for 5, 10+ years, then shame on him/her. He/she should have known better.

    Well this event wasn't a typical normal HPDE event. People were throwing beer cans from a bridge and that caused an earlier 2 car wreck, which sent 1 guy on a medivac ride. So there was some sort of gathering/event going on besides the HPDE.
    Death on a race track can be completely indiscriminate. I don't care how good a driver is, they can still make mistakes, have a lack of judgement or concentration, other cars on track can do something unpredictable, cars can break (I know this first had), and unseen contaminates can lay on track surface.

    You seem to think you can control whether you go off straight or sideways, that your experience will protect you, etc. That false confidence and complacency can be deadly. Always be afraid. It is the best protector we have. Generations of DNA development have assured that sense. Follow it.
    Last edited by Olitho; 06-09-2014 at 05:29 PM.
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    Sir flink
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    Senior Member bikeindirt's Avatar
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    holy crap....

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    That poor soul.
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    That's just awful.
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