Whoops!

 tire-wall-damge-vir-april-2009

I was having such a great weekend, too.  Saturday was a full day in the advanced group of drivers and a new instructor.  My instructor was a very enthusiastic guy who really enjoyed what the Evo could do.  We found the cross-over of the North Course at VIR was just made for my car as it climbed the hill like a cat clawing it way up drapes.

 thsccapr-04384s

After the day and three sessions out on the 2.25 mile course I was beat, but I really enjoyed the growth in my driving.

Sunday morning the instructor came over and let me know that I had been signed off to be solo, or sans instructor for Sunday.  So off I went on the first session on my own.  Believe it or not, you can feel the difference with another person’s weight gone and I found being on my own allowed me to really focus my attention on the driving.  Not that instructors don’t have their benefits, but it does take attention to listen to their instructions as you make your way quickly and smoothly through the track.

thsccapr-00970s 

After that session I met up with him and reviewed my run.  He suggested that we pair up again for my second session so he could see for himself how I was doing.  When it was time for that session he jumped in and we headed back on the track.

He was very pleased to see how smooth my driving had become after my solo session and was interested to see how I would do trying a little different line through a set of turns known as Hog Pen.  It was a little later entry to turn 16 than I had been taking and provided a chance to pick up more speed through the turns leading to the front straight.

 thsccapr-02957s

I set the car up for 16 and then as I cleared 17 I could see I was going wide on the turn.  I kept hoping that I could pull it enough to stay on the pavement, but I slid off the left side of the track and knew it was all over.  The car started its inevitable spin and I headed to the opposite side of the track and the tire wall.  The car was facing backwards as I hit the tire wall with the left front corner of the car and I said “Shit!”.  Then the car careened back across the track and into the grassy area.  Everyone was OK and the instructor had me pull further off just in case another car might copy my move. 

We were very lucky that no traffic t-boned me as I came back across to the grass.

The corner workers and rescue folks were there very quickly and there was no fire to worry about.  I was pissed, but not damaged and the instructor was fine, too. 

After being checked out by the medical staff I sat in the driver’s seat as the car was towed back to the pits.  It could run and I parked it.  The hydraulics for the active center differential was busted and leaking and the driver’s side of the car was a mess of bumps on the sheet metal.

After I talked with the event staff I gave my auto insurance company a call and they dispatched a roll-back to pick up the car and get it to a body shop.  Life goes on.

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The instructor and I talked about it quite a bit that afternoon.  I’m sure he was concerned that I was pissed at him.  No matter, I was the guy behind the wheel and ultimately responsible.

There will be other track days for me, but it will be a while as I get the Evo repaired.

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17 Responses to Whoops!

  1. markitude says:

    Jim,

    Glad you are ok – sorry to hear about the mishap. From an outside perspective, it seems there are so many variables in getting around the track, the speed, placement on the track and conditions – a tiny bit of sand, dust – heck even pollen could probably mean the difference in what you can sucessfully navigate your way through on one lap, but not the next. The closer you get to the edge of the envelope, the more those small variables can become deciding factors.

    I realize that no amount of philosophizing from me or anyone else will be much help as you sort this out for yourself. I’m sure you know this happens now and again to everyone who puts their car on a track with any regularity and really tries to push themselves. I think it is to your character and credit that you posted the pics, and maintained your sense of decorum concerning the matter.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery – for you and the EVO.

    Maybe after I get a roof and electric power I can try to talk you into a dedicated track car. ; )

    Mark

  2. Tim says:

    Damn Jim, I’m really sorry to hear that. Glad to see you’re okay though. Hopefully insurance will take care of you…

  3. Chris says:

    Jim,

    I can’t believe it…Please tell me it wasn’t my aggressive alignment settings that got you loose? I feel so bad for you, yet glad that everything is OK….except for your feelings being hurt….they will recover nicely.

    Chris

  4. Rick Holland says:

    Sorry for your mishap…just glad that you and your instructor are OK…things were going so great. Markitude’s comments leave nothing else to be said when you are close to the limit. Take care, your friend Rick.

  5. jimsgarage says:

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. Its nice to have friends like all of you. Don’t worry Chris, the settings were working fine.

  6. Campygoob says:

    Jim,

    Sorry to see this but very glad that you’re OK.

    Campygoob

  7. Campygoob says:

    Jim,

    I decided to tell my wife about your weekend. I wasn’t going to as I feared that I would be “informed” that my tracking days were over. I told her what happened and she asked “What was the cause of this?” I replied “They didn’t pave that track wide enough.” She just kinda looked and said “OK”.

    I love her.

    Campygoob

  8. Jason says:

    Hurray for the EVO! What a great car, and what a great job it did protecting us when things went a little crazy. I can’t wait to see the both of you back on the track…

  9. Jim's Sister says:

    Just thought your friends might be interested in knowing that when you called to let us know about the mishap, I was very concerned about the Evo and hoped the damage wasn’t too severe. It was my granddaughters in the back seat of my car who had to remind me that I hadn’t asked if YOU had gotten hurt. I am so glad you came home in one piece, and I am grateful for every safety devise that is standard for those behind the wheel (or in the passenger’s seat) while racing.

  10. Kevin says:

    She loves you really Jim !!

  11. Noel says:

    Hey Jim, Sorry to hear about the shunt but the main thing is that you’re OK. The EVO will be repaired and all will be good again.

    I know you’ve been playing the whole event over and over in your head. That’s OK and good to do because it’s part of the learning process. And you’ll be an even better driver for this experience. The edge of the envelope is a place where things don’t always go the way one likes, but it’s also the place where you learn a lot and raise the bar on skill.

    Remember one thing: The purpose of life is not to arrive at the grave in a well-preserved body, but to slide in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “holy shit, what a ride!”

    Noel

  12. Judy K says:

    Thank God you’re okay…bet you were pissed! Bet you’re more philosophical about it now.

  13. Noel says:

    Geez, Jim, you think it could be that bad? From the pics it looks pretty well pranged but of course we’re only seeing the sheet metal, and it’s what’s under the skin that matters.

    Sorry to hear you might be facing that kind of loss, though. That’s a hard one to absorb. My thoughts are with you.

  14. Judy K says:

    Rats…I didn’t realize it could be bye bye for the E. I hope not.

  15. Judy K says:

    Honestly…a little voice in my head just shouted “it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye”!!

  16. jetgirl says:

    e30!!!! (behind you!)

    sorry, that sucks about your evo, glad nobody was hurt thats a really nice car!

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