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Crash in 2013 24 hr of the Nurburgring

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Published on May 26, 2013

Camera that recorded this video had a slight distortion...things are actually closer than they appear.

There is a very good reason this track is called "The Green Hell". It is every bit of that as my ankle was still swollen and sore two weeks later (more on this shortly). This year was my 6th event here, 20th 24 hr race and 39th enduro race of my career. I was planning to best my 3rd place class finish of last year's 24. It was not to be.

Most drivers don't like to talk about them, use the word "crash", show or watch the video. Maybe pride. Maybe doing so causes them to hold back when we need to push harder. Not me. I had to know what happened, what went wrong and if possible how to avoid the next one.

Crash happened just after noon with 5 hours till the finish of the 2013 24 hr of the Nurburgring in #64 "Drink Florida Orange Juice" Lotus Evora GT4 in the SP10 class. My co-drivers were Cor Euser, Vic Rice and Shane Lewis. I was in my second stint's third lap on the Nordschleife. The location was in the right turn between Eschbach and Brunnchen just before the 16 km mile marker.

I was following a Viper closely as we were beginning to pass cars. He was positioned to drive straight while I was still turning to aline for the pass. One of the cars unexpectedly blocked, Viper hit the brakes hard enough to come loose. I was very close and forced to heavy brake to avoid contact. Use of hard brakes on a damp low grip track while in a turn was a perfect mix to allow the Lotus to come seriously loose. Rotating left, I corrected, but was unsuccessful stopping rotation. However, I was successful in keeping the Lotus on the track and not hooking into the very close left guard rail. Unfortunately I ran out of straight track as we were near the next corner. Even with the brakes locked and spun backwards, I still almost hit the Viper before leaving the track.

Car data said impact was near 90 mph, registered 5.57 and 4.7 Gs on the corner guard rail. The hit was so hard, it bounced the car back onto the track after the corner and was pointed in the right direction. Amazingly and a testament to the strength of the Lotus design, I could still move the car. However, it was a long, sad and slow ride back to the pits. I had let the Team down with my first Nurburgring crash.

Suffered a small injury (besides my pride). Foot banged into the battery box mounted on the floor to the right of the accelerator pedal. Ankle was swollen and sore. On the way back home my wife had fun pushing me around in a wheelchair. Had foot x-rayed upon return to Miami. Bad sprain but not broken, just soft tissue damage. Doc says I have to keep it in a brace for up to 12 weeks and to check back for progress in three.

There is a saying, "there are only two types of drivers that race the ring. Those that have and those that will (crash)." Still doesn't make me feel any better.

Almost everyone has problems in these type of races. The trick is to have fewer, work hard to finish better than the other guy and never giving up. Don't DNF (do not finish). In the last few minutes we made it out of the pits and therefore finished 4th in class and 136th out of 173 cars.

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