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      07-19-2014, 12:36 AM   #1
Triple M
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Safety Reminder

We place a lot of emphasis on performance, technique, going faster and faster which is great and keeps the sport fun and interesting. Whethers its my first HPDE 1 years ago where I was told "This is not racing", I quickly realized a year later that although I wasn't racing others on the track, I was "Racing myself" as I strive to improve. Safety became more & more important

I was just browsing through the RRT blog when I came across this sad story. It became a quick reminder and a reality check of how things can go quickly wrong, EVEN AT AN HPDE!
We almost never hear of tragedies like these unless it happens to famous racecar drivers. My heart goes out to his family.

http://www.rrtracing.com/tragedy-racetrack/

http://www.your4state.com/story/d/st...BE-k0_5mfp9cAQ


Yes, our sport is still safer than driving on some of the roads we commute on everyday, but it's heartbraking to hear that someone lost their life even at an amateur level in an otherwise controlled environment.

Over the past year, I've developed a newfound respect for tech forms as my car accumulates mileage, and I drive long distances to track events, and even slowly coming to terms with maybe needing to get a myself a trailer (If I'm serious about keeping it fun. As things do go wrong at times).

Getting into someone else's car (where you don't know how well maintained their car is) is always something that has always made me nervous and I tip my hat off to all you instructors who trust your lives to complete strangers while trying to make them better drivers.

Realizing your driving skill level when taking expert advise is very important to me, as some of the best that ever raced (Senna, Earnhardt, Whledon etc) have lost their lives doing it. I doubt anyone would ever question their skill level at the end of the day.

Again, my condolence to his family, and I wish everyone a safe events this summer, fall, winter and future.
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      07-19-2014, 01:20 PM   #2
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Good post. Very tragic. Too bad it happened in the last session. That's why it's important to dial it back in the last session. Usually drivers are fatigued maybe dehydrated etc at the end of the day so you want to be careful. Very sobering story.
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      07-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #3
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Link to an earlier thread on this topic where it was discussed:

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=995722
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      07-20-2014, 05:39 AM   #4
Triple M
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Esq View Post
Good post. Very tragic. Too bad it happened in the last session. That's why it's important to dial it back in the last session. Usually drivers are fatigued maybe dehydrated etc at the end of the day so you want to be careful. Very sobering story.

Sorry I didn't see the previous, but thanks for bringing it to my attention Estoril Blue. It was my first time seeing it on RRT and it really turned my inside out that I felt I need to post it. I'm glad there was already another thread regarding this allowing other instructors and fellow track colleagues to chime in, bring insight, and hopefully bring up more topics of safety.

Last edited by Triple M; 07-20-2014 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Wrong member response
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      07-20-2014, 06:28 AM   #5
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Hopefully tracks all over the country that still have potential for tree exposure will be forced to create proper barriers. The same thing essentially happened four years ago at CMP when a PCA instructor was in a car that impacted a tree on his side.
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      07-20-2014, 07:01 AM   #6
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Don't push your luck or limit and be safe out there ...
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      07-21-2014, 03:50 AM   #7
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I'm glad you mentioned pushing the limit. For many years I was reluctant to leave the intermediate HPDE level as I watched many "advanced" level driver fly off the track "pushing the limit" (it's no coincidence the safety requirement in EVERY racing organization from amateur to pro level), even though at that time my lap times suggested I should move up, not enough to make me do it (plus it gave me a chance to learn some of the passing exercises bmwcca & skip barber taught me . I think we need to recognize that these tragedies doesn't just happen to "beginners overdriving their limit" which should be very obvious to a good instructor before the first lap is over, or "it only happens at badly organized event". I remember a pca lead instructor last year at spring mountain hode event during drivers meeting pleading for everyone to be safe (even if the slow guy ahead of refuses to let you pass), and reminding us in the process the sad story of porsche factory driver Sean Edward who died while coaching another driver (An ideal way to learn). Bottom line, it's not always driver error. We push these cars way beyond their factory limit at times. It's amazing how trusting in your skills doesn't always mean your equipment will never fail you. PCA of las Vegas requires all advance drivers to wear a fire suit (most of us still don't like it, part of our learning curve I guess. We give every excuse in the world it's hot etc). Does the thought of a faster car behind me at the end of long straight losing is break make me think twice about putting on that damn suit? Probably . I usually sit out the last session of most HPDE as I find my reflexes getting slower, doing better with keeping up with the fluids at times between working on the car & download meetings, not leaving my tech till last meeting, and finally doing better getting sleep the night before.
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      07-21-2014, 07:37 PM   #8
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I think all too often drivers show up with very poor car control skills. The speed and lap times become the focus. Then there are these DE orgs who just ask about experience without verifying. All too often, drivers and many instructors forget about the HPDE culture which is a team sport.

Unfortunately, you'll see more of this in the future.

How many people really take a lap to see what's of track? Very few. That should tell you which corners you can go 100% in and which ones where you might want to leave a little on the table.

I've had plenty of offs but they have been in pretty safe places. Haven't spun near a wall for a reason...because I dial it back.

It all comes down to being ahead of the car.
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      07-21-2014, 09:22 PM   #9
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You are absolutely right about it possibly getting worse as horsepower figures continue to rise. I truly believe the good 'ol Ross Bentley SS should be requirement or at least verifiable number of DE events. It's one thing to get yourself killed, it a lot worse to take the life of someone who is trying to help you get better at this sport.
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