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Thread: Track day damage liability

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    Senior Member psychoazn's Avatar
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    Default Track day damage liability

    Short version: At a casual HPDE, if you are asked to drive a car, and damaged is caused as a result of a mechanical failure, who is liable? Who should be liable?

    Long version:

    I was asked to give a female friend of an attendee a ride in the attendee's car. The car being an S2000, I initially noted that fuel was low as I got in the car, but the owner said not to worry about it. I stated that I would bring it in if I got any signs of sputtering.

    During the ride, in the bowl at Streets of Willow Springs (CCW), I hit fuel cut moments after I turned in for the second apex. The abrupt loss of power got rear end to around the other way (rear going left), and debeaded the tire from the left rear rim, as I later found out. I immediately straightened the car out, and the car was driving straight, and the brakes still functional, albeit, with shuddering, so I proceeded to pull off-line, and off the course to a safer location. Initial assessment, while I'm driving the car indicated that the engine and brakes were okay, and I did not come to a complete stop off-track, as I was still not in a completely safe area. The car was still able to accelerate, so I pulled back on track at the first available safe opportunity, and proceeded to limp back to the hot pits at a slow speed. The alignment was clearly off, but the car moved under it's own power okay, with no crazy noises, just a lot of shaking that got worse with speed.

    Once we were in the pits, the debeaded tire was clearly evident, as was the scuffing on the rim. Simply connecting a compressor was enough to get the tire re-seated, so that the owner could at least drive home, and a quick test drive (by the owner) yielded nothing unusual other than a bad alignment.

    I informed the owner that the knuckle may also be bent from the wheel hitting the ground, and told him to send me a bill for repairing the wheel and replacing the knuckle. He said that he was going to re-align the car anyways, and not to worry about it.


    Weeks later, the owner is now telling me that the front underpanels were damaged as is the front radiator support, but the bumper is completely intact, and I am being asked to pay for the repairs. The damaged area is well inside the bumper cover. I would make an educated guess that that damage indicated cannot be caused without damaging the bumper itself, or other significant front end damage. I am unable to determine if this was caused by another off by the owner, or pre-existing damage from the original owner of the car (owner of the car is not the first owner). The car has had body panels replaced by the first owner, AFAIK.

    What are your thought? I figured I was doing the right thing by offering to pay for the damage, but now this is getting excessive.


    S2000 CR
    Rear wheel was a stock 17x8.5 with a 255 BFG Rival at 32psi per the owner.


    Last edited by psychoazn; 07-17-2014 at 05:02 PM.
    pucsicsal - The fastest unit of speed measurement is not the speed of light, it is the speed of flatout. Hence the BRZs limit.

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    Get a written damage waiver before driving someone else's car. I think Aaron Bitterman has a form for that.

    I think the owner assumed the risk that you would damage the car when he asked you to drive it on a racetrack, which is inherently dangerous. Moreover, it's his fault. He told you to drive it in a condition where fuel starvation was the cause of the damage. I'd tell him to pound sand . . .
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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    Senior Member psychoazn's Avatar
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    I'll have to ask Aaron for a copy of that to use for any car I'm asked to drive...
    pucsicsal - The fastest unit of speed measurement is not the speed of light, it is the speed of flatout. Hence the BRZs limit.

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    One reason I rarely drive other peoples' cars is that I can't afford to replace them. If I destroy my car, I don't go to the track again until it's fixed or replaced.

    Not saying it's your fault especially given the story you told but there's always a chance something will go wrong.
    bawareca likes this.
    99 Mazda Miata SuperMiata #515 - AKA Sparky SOLD
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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychoazn View Post
    I'll have to ask Aaron for a copy of that to use for any car I'm asked to drive...
    Or even better-dont drive any other than yours.
    MikeColangelo likes this.

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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    stop driving other people's car and stop letting people drive your car. No more issues. I swear this is like the 3rd time, something like this happened. Like someone driving your car or you driving someone else lol. Alex P., Tony F. lol.
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

    1:53.396 @ BRP CW13 - 11/14/13
    1:47.2xx @ Laguna Seca - 11/28/10
    2:03.026 @ Thill CCW Bypass - 12/20/14
    2:05.100 @ CVR CCW - 1/16/11
    1:58.151 @ CVR CW - 5/5/13
    1:25.56x @ WSIR - 10/13/13
    1:23.128 @ SOW CW - 7/27/14
    1:22.2xx @ SOW CCW - 7/26/14
    1:46.0xx @ ACS Roval - 11/23/14
    1:11.299 @ ACS Infield - 5/18/14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pure EvoIX View Post
    Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
    Murphy was an optimist . . .
    bawareca and Loose Caboose like this.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  9. #9
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    He asked you to drive it, you didn't screw up, you don't owe him anything. I wouldn't have offered to pay for the wheel.
    Pure EvoIX and slodrew like this.

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    Senior Member julian's Avatar
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    looks like someone else caused the front end damage. the owner seriously believes you did that, yet the plastic front fascia has no damage? wth

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    enjoys driving fast Jack Olsen's Avatar
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    These discussions sometimes get ridiculous. If you want to eliminate the liability risk from track driving:

    1) Never drive anyone else's car.
    2) Never drive your own car on a track with other cars present.
    3) Make sure you own the track you're driving on, and never allow spectators on the property.

    A more reasonable approach is to accept that life carries all sorts of risks, and use good judgment from there. If someone asks you to drive their car, make it clear that outside of gross negligence or willful damage, anything that happens to the car while you're out there is their responsibility.

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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    yep. tell them to fly a kite or pound sand or get lost...whichever they prefer.
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

    1:53.396 @ BRP CW13 - 11/14/13
    1:47.2xx @ Laguna Seca - 11/28/10
    2:03.026 @ Thill CCW Bypass - 12/20/14
    2:05.100 @ CVR CCW - 1/16/11
    1:58.151 @ CVR CW - 5/5/13
    1:25.56x @ WSIR - 10/13/13
    1:23.128 @ SOW CW - 7/27/14
    1:22.2xx @ SOW CCW - 7/26/14
    1:46.0xx @ ACS Roval - 11/23/14
    1:11.299 @ ACS Infield - 5/18/14

    Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at WSIR
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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    Was there in car footage of this?
    Zhong (Evo IX) | Angry Panda Racing

    1:53.396 @ BRP CW13 - 11/14/13
    1:47.2xx @ Laguna Seca - 11/28/10
    2:03.026 @ Thill CCW Bypass - 12/20/14
    2:05.100 @ CVR CCW - 1/16/11
    1:58.151 @ CVR CW - 5/5/13
    1:25.56x @ WSIR - 10/13/13
    1:23.128 @ SOW CW - 7/27/14
    1:22.2xx @ SOW CCW - 7/26/14
    1:46.0xx @ ACS Roval - 11/23/14
    1:11.299 @ ACS Infield - 5/18/14

    Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at WSIR
    2nd Fastest Limited/Mod Class Evo in Time Attack at BRP 13CW

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    Senior Member albertg's Avatar
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    This is a tough one. I'd probabaly offer to pay as you did since you spun the car and went off. Fuel cut is not really an excuse (I've cut out there a few times in my S2k) as you knew the level was low before you got on track and didn't seem worried that it would cause an off.

    I've smashed the radiator support before, and you have to hit pretty hard for that to happen. I am guessing you would know during the off. I usually check my chassis after loud bumps and can usually pinpoint the location of contact.
    1990 S2 SuperMiata

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    Guys. He's not asking for advice for next time.

    In this instance, if you raised the low fuel and they told you not to worry about it and keep going....then tell them to rack off. They have a huge cheek demanding you pay. They ask you to drive their car, you haven't paid for the privilege, yada yada yada.
    Richard EVO likes this.

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    Senior Member pucsicsal's Avatar
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    Delete this post and tell him to have an accidental off on a deserted road somewhere.. It's his responsibility, he needs to find a way to deal with it. I'd still offer to replace the wheel and tire or whatever though.

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    Senior Member psychoazn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertg View Post
    This is a tough one. I'd probabaly offer to pay as you did since you spun the car and went off. Fuel cut is not really an excuse (I've cut out there a few times in my S2k) as you knew the level was low before you got on track and didn't seem worried that it would cause an off.

    I've smashed the radiator support before, and you have to hit pretty hard for that to happen. I am guessing you would know during the off. I usually check my chassis after loud bumps and can usually pinpoint the location of contact.
    There was no actual spin. I don't think I actually ever got more than 15 degrees sideways, but the sudden load change in the bowl was enough to pop the tire off the bead.
    pucsicsal - The fastest unit of speed measurement is not the speed of light, it is the speed of flatout. Hence the BRZs limit.

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychoazn View Post
    There was no actual spin. I don't think I actually ever got more than 15 degrees sideways, but the sudden load change in the bowl was enough to pop the tire off the bead.
    Tire has no business dismounting in a slide unless you catch an edge. Were the pressures crazy low?
    bawareca and rhouck like this.

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    Kam
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    Sounds like you did what you needed to do (and then some) to cover the cost of the driver error. Unless you went off (which sounds like you didn't), that radiator support wouldn't have been damaged at all.

    I'd tell him tough luck and go about your day.

    What I've learned from this is: Do not let you drive my car.
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    Senior Member albertg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychoazn View Post
    There was no actual spin. I don't think I actually ever got more than 15 degrees sideways, but the sudden load change in the bowl was enough to pop the tire off the bead.
    Yeah I'm surprised it de-beaded. Also doesn't sound like the radiator support was your fault. As I said earlier, you would know when it happened. Just explain it to the owner.
    1990 S2 SuperMiata

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