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So I'm thinking about doing some track days...

Old 09-08-08, 05:57 PM
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So I'm thinking about doing some track days...

Found this on another site. From my old home track, Mid Ohio, end of the back straight. This is why I don't use street cars on the track and why I cringe when I hear people use the title phrase.

Driver is fine, says he just has a bump on his head, wallet is much lighter now though. The brakes just went away after an initial stab that brought him down from 130 to about 95mph.

Look at this series of shots before you try to run even 8/10's on the track in your street car.

http://picasaweb.google.com/jeffdegr...dOhioSept2008#

Last edited by jgrewe; 09-08-08 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 09-08-08, 09:00 PM
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Racers push their cars a lot harder than most recreational lappers. I do know that a great many instructors are getting concerned over how stupidly fast some street cars are getting without the benefit of a cage, harnesses, etc. You'll see way fewer accidents at a track day as a result.

Yes you should think twice, but crashes are the exeption, not the rule.
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Old 09-08-08, 09:10 PM
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Earlier this spring I was at MSR Cresson when a RUF Porsche GT3 street car went end over end a few times and then caught fire. Driver walked away but looked pretty depressed about the incident as the car was obviously totaled. His buddy the passenger left the track quickly. He put a wheel off and over corrected, lucky for both of them they weren't seriously hurt. That 350Z looks pretty bad.
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Old 09-08-08, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Black91n/a View Post
Racers push their cars a lot harder than most recreational lappers. I do know that a great many instructors are getting concerned over how stupidly fast some street cars are getting without the benefit of a cage, harnesses, etc. You'll see way fewer accidents at a track day as a result.

Yes you should think twice, but crashes are the exeption, not the rule.
Absolutely, I've been around track events and have probably seen thousands of miles covered by cars on the track without anything like that happening.

I've also seen worse stuff where guys have been helicoptored out from a Porsche school.

It used to be that the fire-breathing-twin-turbo-what-ever mobile was the exception at these events. Now I see novices show up with these things because they can write the check to have them built and want to have fun with them. Its great they want to learn about car control etc. but its like putting a 12 year old kid in a strip club. They get all excited but don't have the knowledge or skills to do what they want to do.

Be safe, be smart, keep it below 7/10ths without the extra safety equipment and don't think you need 500hp to have fun at the track. 100hp can scare the crap out of you in most cases the first time out. You get a few turns where the pucker factor is high you realize you could hold yourself in with a trailer hitch ball in the middle of the seat instead of a belt. After you get over that, then make the car faster.
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Old 09-08-08, 11:30 PM
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Indeed, that's one reason why I haven't gone for big power or traded my car in for something a lot faster (the other big reason being money). I've also added a roll bar and am planning on installing some FIA rated seats and using harnesses in the future. When it comes to the track it's also important to keep the mods balanced, starting out with suspension, wheels, tires, brakes and safety gear before going for extra power (this is the route I've taken). I certainly manage to have fun with my relatively slow car as I'm getting passed by people with more expensive, faster cars.
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Old 09-09-08, 09:27 AM
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Okay, okay. I'm giving the cage builder a call next week.

At my last track day I saw a street 350Z running wide slicks and gobs of power completely rupture (as in two pieces) a rear brake line (he was running stock lines!!). Thank goodness we were on a fairly slow course (the "roval" at Rockingham) and not something like VIR, or the result may have looked a lot more like the pictures in the first post.

The slight irony is that at the same event I'm running my car through tech (NA FC, gutted, roll-bar, fresh 6pt. harnesses and properly braced Kirkey seats for both driver and passenger) and they give me a little grief in that they don't like seeing cars "at this level of prep" without full cages. Now I will conceded that a full cage would be safer, but I'm running 150 rwhp (with a good tailwind) and 205 width Toyos. And they don't bat an eyelid at the high HP street monsters they are letting out there?!

This was at an SCCA PDX event, so the tech folks were a little club racing centric.

With my driving level right now, I think more power would just end up scaring the crap out of me and not making me any faster. I mean there is something to be said for that feeling of just laying on the power coming out of a corner and launching down the straight. But for me the real thrill is going through the corner on line, right at the limits of the tires and using all the pavement at the track out.

And then cruising down the straight, pointing all the Vette owners by...

-bill "feel free to pass" rankin

Last edited by wrankin; 09-09-08 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:39 PM
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Awesome set of photos. This discussion shows a serious flaw in most tuners thinking. People will drop thousands of dollars on performance items, but will always look for a deal on safety equipment.

Bill, you definitely have the right mind set. I have instructed at drivers schools, and found about half the students want to learn how to drive and half think they already know how to drive.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:04 PM
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Well my first instructor that I ever had a DE event was Barry Hair (who is now the co-race chair for the Alabama SCCA) told me a story a few weeks ago that I found interesting.

He was instructing at a event and had a driver who already had seen some track days before and was "experienced". They started in on the first few sessions and right away, Barry was impressed with the guys skills and had to say very little to him in the way of corrections.

So later on in the day, Barry decided that he could let him drive by himself so he did. In the first session, he went four wheels off. They brought him in and asked if he was okay and he was so they let him go again. Within the first few minutes he went four wheels off again. Again, they pulled him off and talked to him. Then they let him out again and he proceeded to again, go way off course.

Barry got so mad that he told him to leave the track and to never come back. And the guy couldn't understand why!!! Basically what he was trying to do was to get him out of the car so he could go out their and goof off. It's guys like him that give the rest of us developing drivers a bad name.

-Vincent
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Old 09-09-08, 05:42 PM
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While I agree about being safe in a street car, that is (or was) a SCCA T2 competition car. Those cars typically have suspension, brake and safety modifications (which the latter is clearly there and saved the driver). I wouldn't use this as a case for "never doing lapping days in a street car".
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Old 09-09-08, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
While I agree about being safe in a street car, that is (or was) a SCCA T2 competition car. Those cars typically have suspension, brake and safety modifications (which the latter is clearly there and saved the driver). I wouldn't use this as a case for "never doing lapping days in a street car".
Never meant never do it, just know what happens out there. I've seen a bunch of cars at track days that have two out of the three mod types you mention with novice drivers. And the mods are serious, way more than T2 class rules allow. I bet you can guess which type of mod they do last... If you said, "safety" you are correct.

My point with the thread, don't skimp on safety because when things go bad they can be really bad at 100mph. My old FIAT X1/9 ITC car with about 90hp went 100mph at the same point at Mid Ohio that this happened.
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Old 09-09-08, 08:29 PM
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From the SCCA forum:

Here is video from in his car, up to the point where he starts to roll.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvdaMMrmkF8

Here is what the driver said:

Hey all, here are the pics of my crash at mid-o this wknd. Data said I was going about 95mph when I went off the back straight before 7. Some kind of brake failure. Had brakes for a split second then nothing. Slowed from 130 down to 95. Someone said I flipped about 9 times. Cartwheeled over the gravel trap and catapulted over the tire barrier and then over/through a 18 foot fence and ended up in the spectator area. Officials said they have never seen a car go that far out or seen a crash like that at mid-ohio. I’m completely fine though, just a small bump on head. Can't say the same about the Z. Thanks to everyone out there that helped me out especially cat killer, ralphy and ed.


Yes, i had a hans on. That's what probably gave me the bruise on my forehead. Hans stopped my helmet but my head smashed into the inside of my helmet. I had a racetech seat with wings and head bolsters. Did not have a net on the right. Had a 5 point harness (2 groin belts combine into one buckle). Car never really had a hard impact. Just kept on doing cartwheels over a long distance dissipating the energy. Looking at the in car video looks like instinct took over and i tried turning at the end of the straight so i started flipping almost before i left the concrete. Should of gone off straight into china beach and hopefully had the gravel slow me down b/f hitting tire wall. Thing that bothers me the most is not knowing what happened to the brakes. Childs is conducting a csi investigation. My data showed a 1.2 G slowdown at the 400 mark just like always but only for a split second. Pedal felt good. Then my G's gradually dropped to 0. I remember lifting and pushing in the pedal again and the data showed my G's came back up to .7 then quickly dropped back down to 0 before i turned the car and flipped. I don't ever remember the pedal just hitting the floor. Brake fluid reservoir was still filled after the crash. Looking at the in car video, the car really shimmied at initial braking, almost looking like the rear brakes were working but not the front. Only evidence we have so far is on the front left wheel, the rotor had a weird discoloration and was completely scoured and gouged as if the caliper was stuck. I don't see how this happend though b/f the crash though b/c the car was pretty dead on straight, not drifting to the left as you would expect so maybe it somehow got scoured after the crash. Car does have ABS but I don't think it ever activated. Braking was totally fine going down the keyhole just prior.
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Old 09-09-08, 08:43 PM
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If you want to see some spectacular failures, turn 4 at Mid-Ohio is one of the best in the states. Why didn't he just go off straight and still under control?

Those pictures make me think twice about instructing or riding along with noobs, especially since alot of them think they're the next Michael Schumacher.

Have a good potion of novice drivers always been cocky or is this just today's society?

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Old 09-09-08, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by YaNi View Post
Why didn't he just go off straight and still under control?

Those pictures make me think twice about instructing or riding along with noobs, especially since alot of them think they're the next Michael Schumacher.

Have a good potion of novice drivers always been cocky or is this just today's society?
Read the above, he clearly had some kind of brake failure. Apparently ABS failure like this (speculation of course, but sounds very similar) is common with 350Z's which have massive brake knockback due to the sticky tires and poor wheel bearing/hub design.

Originally Posted by M Workz
When it happened to Tarzan he said to get rid of the ABS system. He said in Japan there have been a bunch of 350Z's destroyed by ABS system failure and most teams don't run it anymore.

I still am, but I am changing bearings and sensors pretty often.

The Unitech 350Z's in Grand Am change bearings every 2-3 weekends also and they run ABS.
From http://www.trackhq.com/forums/showth...?t=1443&page=3
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Old 09-09-08, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jgrewe View Post
Never meant never do it, just know what happens out there. I've seen a bunch of cars at track days that have two out of the three mod types you mention with novice drivers. And the mods are serious, way more than T2 class rules allow. I bet you can guess which type of mod they do last... If you said, "safety" you are correct.

My point with the thread, don't skimp on safety because when things go bad they can be really bad at 100mph. My old FIAT X1/9 ITC car with about 90hp went 100mph at the same point at Mid Ohio that this happened.
I guess I see no reason to scare people with something like this.... This is more of a "racing incident" than anything. i.e. this person has most likely more skill than a novice and was pushing the car a lot harder than a novice could even if he tried. Even if a "street car" as the same or more mods, typically a SCCA racer has "smarter" mods and generally has a better mechanical understanding of the parts/car... i.e. most street cars just get mods put on them because they are cool, not necessarily useful.

Now something that a novice could or would do would be more like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkiGhOvgYtQ

FWIW, I've heard several stories on the video above over the years. The one talked about the most is that it wasn't brake failure but an improper attempt at rev matching (not enough toe, way too much heal). You hear he never really gets off the gas.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:18 AM
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That Viper vid is interesting! It is hard to tell just what the drivers feet were doing. It sounds like gas and brake at the same time? Which would give you no vacuum assist and a hard pedal.

Back to the Z car, it is a racing incident because it happened during a race. Notice the car wasn't fighting for a position into that corner though. It don't know if he was trying to keep someone behind him from the vid or pictures, that would change my thoughts a bit. It just looks like it is something that could happen at the end of any fast straight even after being "waved by" by a slower car.

We all know that pointing a car down a straight a flooring it takes no skill. The more experienced driver will exit the previous turn faster and probably brake in a different spot(not necessarily later), that's where the lap times will differ greatly.
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Old 09-11-08, 09:12 AM
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I guess the problem I have is how your initial post is worded. It's basically like you are saying don't get on track unless you have a full blown race car which I think (and it's just my opinion), wrong. That would be like posting a link to the Scott Kalitta (God rest his sole) YouTube video and saying that it's scary to know people drag race in street cars and they should never drag race unless it's a purpose built drag race car. It's apples to oranges.

I do agree that you should push that people putting their cars on a road course should consider one of two options:

1. Keeping yourself in check (i.e. realize there is no F1 contract waiting so no need to set a land-speed record at the track)

2. Upgrade the car's safety equipment in case of the unthinkable

There are many more examples of failures (driver or car, or other) which show the dangers of road racing. The Mini driver who was killed a few months ago, the Porsche Carrera GT driver who was killed along with his instructor a few years ago, and the list goes on. However, instead of trying to scare people, educate them.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-11-08, 06:43 PM
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Good post with good points Mahjik. I probably could have been a little more specific with the term "street car".

I had visions of all the cars I've been seeing that have all kinds of performance mods and very little thought to the "what if..." at the end of the fast straight, or turn with very little run off.

We all start out making the cars more capable and faster for the street. When these guys get to the track they don't realize what kind of weapon they've built. You can go way faster on the track than you ever dreamed of on your favorite highway on ramp.
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Old 09-11-08, 11:51 PM
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What scares me most about mods is when people who go and add a buttload of power without upgrading the wheels and tires, brakes and suspension.
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