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Old 02-14-2017, 05:50 PM   #61
badabing
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I've only been involved in HPDE for a year and I realize those commenting are track veterans, coaches and professionals but reading this thread through, it seems to me much of the focus is on what caused the crash.

Whether it be driver error, mechanical failure, fluids or debris on track, or another cause, I don't think it matters as much as what safety equipment was there and why didn't it protect the occupants.

At the end of the day, in this hobby, crashes are 'expected' to some degree or another which is why safety equipment is mandated in the first place.

I doubt the cars and occupants in these experiences are equipped with all the available equipment including full cage, fire suppression, fixed back seats, 6 pt harnesses, Hans, fire suit, shoes, gloves etc.

Probably just a helmet and the stock restraints.

Considering the fact that they are letting complete noobs drive these cars, the companies should be doubling down on safety equipment IMHO.

Do you think the outcome would have been different if all safety equipment was employed?

I plan to take my own advice this upcoming season.

My condolences to the families.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:32 PM   #62
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IMO, it's best to look at safety from a systems perspective. There are usually multiple provisions in place to reduce risk, or at least there should be. And it's usually when multiple safety provisions are neglected that you have enough things going wrong and lining up in a way that the outcome is especially bad.

I don't know the specifics of what happened in this incident, but from a safety standpoint I'm not generally a fan of these events where you have novice drivers spending a lot of money (per lap) trying to get in a few thrilling laps in someone else's very fast car, with the only added safety equipment being a helmet. It's a recipe for a risk level which is much higher than what we typically see in a well-run DE program.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:48 PM   #63
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I guess the greatest risk w these HOTLAP experiences is when "clients" are of a mindset that this is a risk-free experience (in a rental car) with unawareness of associated realistic risks. (IMHO.)

Meaning: They possibly think of this much like a roller coaster thrill-ride and mistakenly assume that there are "idiot-proof" systems in place.

Looking back: when I was starting out In HPDE, although I felt annoyed by the flood of repeatedly safety-focused emails from DE organizers, it DID instill some sense of responsibility on me as a driver. Very different from a "Walk up and plunk your $$ down" which is more akin to a PuttPutt/miniature golf model.

It seems appropriate communicate caution and reality-based awareness of risk, with commensurate responsibility conferred upon the driver (not just the instructor and organizers.)

The question about "What are learning points?" is, for me, highly relevant and I'll stand by to hear from those who know more than I can claim to It seems thats a way to appropriately honor the life of "One Of Us" who paid with his life.

Of course, heartfelt condolences to family and loved ones.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:28 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Carrera51 View Post
Hopefully these kind of paid venues make it perfectly clear that the instructor in the right seat has absolute authority, and that the rules will be followed, no exceptions and no refunds for those who don't adhere.
The problem with a verbal contract like this is, with the right kind of idiot, things can get out of hand before the instructor can really take action. As instructors, we rely on the student's sense of self preservation. Clearly a few students are have a very poor sense of self preservation. There is no really good answer to this - a kill switch for the instructor perhaps, but even that has problems.

While we don't know what happened here - could have been a perfect student with a bad mechanical - these exotic arrive and drive events do seem to have a much poorer safety record than your average organized HPDE with students driving their own cars.

-Mike
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:42 PM   #65
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Have never participated in an exotic car driving event and never would instruct at one.
I wonder if the cars could be fitted with a speed limiter? With the capability of these cars not putting some control on the car is asking for trouble.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:56 PM   #66
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It's really tempting to place blame on the model that the exotic driving experience companies use. I admit that I'm tempted to think that way. To those of us who started in the club based HPDE environment, these operations APPEAR flawed from a safety point of view. It makes us feel better to follow a train of thought that says we are much safer in our environment. Maybe we are. But we really don't know the facts yet, and we may be jumping to a conclusion that isn't correct.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:02 PM   #67
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No doubt true, but I still think it's unusual for a street car to "immediately burst into flames". Lots that we don't know yet.
I was only commenting on the volume of smoke. I agree it's unusual for a street car to burst into flames, and we don't know any details and I was not speculating about anything other than some of the smoke was likely attributed to the tires.

I stopped instructing at these events because it only took 1 idiot to ruin your day despite most people being nice, respectful and slower than you'd expect.

I will continue to instruct in HPDE because someone is driving their own car, and generally people participating in HPDE's within groups that require instruction do not have "disposable" cars.

Also - I can build a rapport at a DE which is generally 2-3 days. At the exotics event you typically get 3 laps with someone (or whatever the program), and possibly multiples, but you don't really get to know them. And many people really don't want the "HPDE" experience. Some do - some want to understand the driving line and finer points of high performance driving - but some just want to say they drove a _____(fill in blank) at XXX speed.

The event I used to instruct would occasionally rent portions of a day to private companies for team building, or hold a "university" where people would pay several thousand dollars for a half day, to drive multiple cars. I think they still used the pace car (not positive) and typically one instructor rode with the person through multiple cars.

My friend was instructing a client who was enamored with the 458 (this was several years ago when 458 was "king"). Going down the front straight - instructor starts saying BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE. Student doesn't respond until VERY late. They go off track into grass. No injury & car is okay but instructor asked what happened.

Student was so fixated on the speedometer, and wanting to achieve a certain straightaway speed - that he didn't hear instruction for braking, and didn't brake until speed was achieved (which was too late to brake for the turn).

This is what happens when people pay a LOT of money to drive a "dream" car that they don't own.

As an instructor I always assert my authority, and even when I had an idiot at the exotic experience I would insist on certain things, but ultimately if they don't listen your options are very limited. A hand brake may not be within reach. Ignition may not be within reach. You can only do so much from the right seat, and I don't know of any exotics experience that provides right seat controls. And even if they did - it's not necessarily foolproof.

It's tragic and my thoughts are with the surviving family and friends.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:09 PM   #68
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Makes you wonder when you sit in the passenger seat.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:08 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needmoregarage View Post
As an instructor I always assert my authority, and even when I had an idiot at the exotic experience I would insist on certain things, but ultimately if they don't listen your options are very limited. A hand brake may not be within reach. Ignition may not be within reach. You can only do so much from the right seat, and I don't know of any exotics experience that provides right seat controls.
^^This^^

And at the risk of contradicting many well established marque club ITS and DE programs, the above in bold is exactly why right seat instructors CANNOT have and WILL NEVER have complete control and responsibility for what goes on in the car in DE or track day environment. To suggest otherwise is to mislead the instructor corps.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:45 PM   #70
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Strangely enough, I'm going to Speed Vegas on Tuesday to play in their Cayman and GT3 before a meeting I have out there. Assuming they are still open. The data is one of the primary reason I selected it over the other three.

But what surprised me when reading the reviews was all of the people raving about going 150+ MPH. To me, putting a 1/2 mile straight on a track purposely built for this sort of experience IS the design flaw. 100+ is plenty exhilarating to the average layman and can get you in plenty of trouble. But 150, especially with the type of people you will attract in Vegas, is just bad judgement in my opinion.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:05 PM   #71
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Just looked at the speed Vegas site... So it's $300 to drive 5 laps with speeds of 160 in the straights?

With people that have never gone that fast...?

In stock street cars?


Sounds like a cool experience. I do wonder how the company lawyers ever signed off on that, or how they got insurance to cover it...

That sounds awefully high risk...

I know as a participant you accept the risk... But for hpde you probably have lifetime car guys... In Vegas, you have tourists...
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:52 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuigiVampa View Post
Fire doesn't know it is only a practice session and not a race.
Absolutely true, but a fireproof racing suit would not have made a difference on this day or in such incidents. Devil's Advocate for the constant "we should all wear racing suits because fire doesn't know it's DE vs. racing". Let's not fool ourselves (or take the risk of potential fire lightly).

Last edited by the_vetman; 02-18-2017 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:03 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mglobe View Post
It's really tempting to place blame on the model that the exotic driving experience companies use. I admit that I'm tempted to think that way. To those of us who started in the club based HPDE environment, these operations APPEAR flawed from a safety point of view. It makes us feel better to follow a train of thought that says we are much safer in our environment. Maybe we are. But we really don't know the facts yet, and we may be jumping to a conclusion that isn't correct.
yes, but we know at least in a DE, there has been some chauk talk or mandatory driving instructors that the drivers have to have to first learn the car. these "companies and their cars" are geared to make money and reduce wear and tear on the car, so , it puts a LOT of pressure on the driver to "get their money's worth".. not a good motivation for safety, especially with an untrained , ego maniac with a need for speed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slakker View Post
Strangely enough, I'm going to Speed Vegas on Tuesday to play in their Cayman and GT3 before a meeting I have out there. Assuming they are still open. The data is one of the primary reason I selected it over the other three.

But what surprised me when reading the reviews was all of the people raving about going 150+ MPH. To me, putting a 1/2 mile straight on a track purposely built for this sort of experience IS the design flaw. 100+ is plenty exhilarating to the average layman and can get you in plenty of trouble. But 150, especially with the type of people you will attract in Vegas, is just bad judgement in my opinion.
this is exactly why the Karting places have cars that cannot get up to a dangerous speed. even with experience, there is no need to go 150mph if you are not skilled in driving at those speeds . there is 150% more energy in the car going 150 vs 100mph, now, making control, much harder and crashes that much more dangerous.
We are a lot safer in our cars on the track. via the track design and those in the organization to help educated and train before you hit the track or hit those speeds over a full day, not just 5 hot laps. it's a formula for disaster, and this is what we saw. not all the time, but it increases risk by a large factor.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:07 AM   #74
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At more tracks then you think, corner workers are prohibited from going over the wall to deal with a car on fire. The protocol is for them to call in the fire and have the track fire truck deal with it. You are on your own to get out of the car if it's on fire. There is a reason that driving suits, gloves and shoes are made of Nomex or similar.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:20 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mglobe
It's really tempting to place blame on the model that the exotic driving experience companies use. I admit that I'm tempted to think that way. To those of us who started in the club based HPDE environment, these operations APPEAR flawed from a safety point of view. It makes us feel better to follow a train of thought that says we are much safer in our environment. Maybe we are. But we really don't know the facts yet, and we may be jumping to a conclusion that isn't correct.
'Arrive and do laps in the same model car you always loved in The Fast and the Furious/your favorite video game' is (I hope) a whole lot different than 'drive your own car on the track.'
Or at least I hope so.
I can just see a higher chance of an out-of-control 'student'.
But Of course I'm just speculating based on stories friends have told me about their participation in similar events.
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