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      03-24-2013, 08:56 PM   #1
eclipsor
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Brake Failure & Wreck in E36 M3 at VIR

Brake failure in my E36 M3 race car at the end of the front straight at VIR. This was in the first NASA HPDE-3 session at around 9:30 yesterday morning. I impacted the tire barrier at around 80 mph. Suffered a concussion, 1.5 inch gash on my forehead that required six stitches to close, and severely bruised ribs.

Going frame by frame in the video and doing the math... between the 600 and 500 ft brake markers I was going 113 mph. Between the 100 foot marker and the turn-in arrow, I was still going 97 mph.

Regarding the gash on my forehead, I was rushed and unprepared for this trip to the track. I'm also a forgetful mofo and I thought that my helmet and HANS device was in my car. I was wrong... so I ended up using a NASA loaner helmet. When I impacted the tire barrier with the right side of the car, my head snapped to the right and my helmet came into contact with right side of the seat (the seat is U-shaped at the top and curves around both sides of my head). This impact crushed the helmet into my forehead, splitting open my skin on a sharp piece of plastic in the loaner helmet. I was bleeding all over the place. I may have been unconscious for a second or two, but I really am not sure. I just remember blood gushing down my face into my mouth and checking my rear view mirror to see where the fuck it was coming from.

The first track worker who got to my car asked me if I was alright before actually seeing my face. I responded "yeah... I'm alright," then he looked at me and quickly responded "no you're not" and got on his radio and asked for an ambulance. I wanted to get out of the car, but no one would let me. They got me straight onto a stretcher and took me to the hospital for a CAT scan and x-rays of my neck, back, chest, etc.

I try to look on the bright side, though... my neck is alright and if I had remembered my helmet, I wouldn't have this awesome scar to use as a conversation starter. :beer: I really am extremely thankful that my neck wasn't injured. It's crazy that the first time I'm on my track without my HANS device, this shit happens. As I was careening off the track towards the wall, all I could think of was #$%* I hope I don't break my neck. I purposely tried to hit the wall at an angle instead of straight-on; I didn't want to go out like Dale Earnhardt. My neck is sore today, but I'm totally fine with that. Plus, it's nothing compared to the pain in my ribs.

I remember as I was impacting the tire barrier and everything was going in slow-motion, I could feel my ribs crushing. I thought they were going to break, but then after I came to a stop, I didn't feel any pain. I guess that was a result of the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Even on the trip to the hospital on the super uncomfortable backboard, I didn't feel any pain. It took another couple hours before I started feeling it, and GODDAMN was it excruciating. I could hardly move at all without feeling like someone was smashing me in my ribs with a sledge hammer. I also started to feel nauseated as a result of the concussion, which was not pleasant at all. I was so worried that I'd throw up, because the pain that would have caused my ribs would have been fucking ridiculous. Even a little hiccup was enough to send me through the roof, let alone vomiting. The doctor gave me some anti-nausea pills and that fixed my stomach relatively quickly... thank God.

Manly Scar:




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      03-24-2013, 09:21 PM   #2
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Kudos to you for posting your story. That vid was hard to watch!

Get well soon.
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      03-24-2013, 09:22 PM   #3
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Holy crap dude!

Glad you're ok! Good thing you hit tires instead of a more solid barrier that far off the track.
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      03-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #4
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glad your ok.
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      03-24-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Holy hell, man...that vid was scary. Best of luck in your recovery.
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      03-24-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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Damn...head injury is always serious, glad your are OK.
Your are lucky man.
This reminds me exactly similar injury on my forehead years back in a car crash.
These things hurt after you are out of adrenaline.
One lesson, never compromise on safety, in this case Helmet.
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      03-24-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the well wishes, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gds52 View Post
Damn...head injury is always serious, glad your are OK.
Your are lucky man.
This reminds me exactly similar injury on my forehead years back in a car crash.
These things hurt after you are out of adrenaline.
One lesson, never compromise on safety, in this case Helmet.
Yeah... in the future, if I ever forget my helmet/HANS again, I'm calling off my weekend.
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      03-24-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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That video was very hard to watch

It's even harder because you just know something terrible is about to happen... and all you can do is wait for it.
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      03-24-2013, 10:22 PM   #9
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Wow sad to see what happened, glad you are okay
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      03-24-2013, 10:30 PM   #10
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Wow!

Glad you made it out still alive.

Any thoughts of what made the brakes fail?
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      03-24-2013, 10:30 PM   #11
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Jeeze best of luck with a speedy recovery. I'm sure I speak for everyone here that I'm glad you made out relatively ok.

Did you get a thorough tech before the event? Was it brake fade? Stock pads?

Btw I'm even more convinced I need to install a half cage so I can run a 6 pt with HANS.
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      03-24-2013, 10:34 PM   #12
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Thank god it was a tire barrier or you would be dead.
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      03-24-2013, 10:42 PM   #13
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Sounds like it could have been a lot worse.. Glad you're ok and made it through relatively well given the circumstances..

Just out of curiosity, which part of the brakes failed..? Were the pads just running too hot, or was it a different part?
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      03-25-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammk View Post
Sounds like it could have been a lot worse.. Glad you're ok and made it through relatively well given the circumstances..

Just out of curiosity, which part of the brakes failed..? Were the pads just running too hot, or was it a different part?
ABS malfunction... people call it ice mode. I guess I'll just pull the damn ABS fuse next time I get onto the track with any car. I handled lack of ABS just fine in Skip Barber cars. F1 guys don't use it. Screw ABS if it's gonna try to kill me.
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      03-25-2013, 10:18 AM   #15
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      03-25-2013, 11:03 AM   #16
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Glad you’re recovering without truly serious injuries OP, that was scary to watch, and just thinking about it is a bit stomach churning
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      03-25-2013, 11:04 AM   #17
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Last edited by 135Pats; 03-25-2013 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Double post
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      03-25-2013, 12:50 PM   #18
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      03-25-2013, 01:10 PM   #19
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jesus

that could have been so much worse

glad you're pretty much okay... and still alive!

that was just fuckin crazy.
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      03-25-2013, 01:23 PM   #20
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For a minute it appeared you were headed for trees - gut wrenching. I felt helpless watching it, and can only imagine how helpless you felt!

You had a great run going there!

Last edited by NGEE; 03-25-2013 at 02:04 PM.
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      03-25-2013, 01:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edrive90 View Post
For a minute it appeared you were headed for trees - gut wrenching. I felt helpless watching it, and can only imagine how helpless you felt!
Damn man glad you came out with out neck/spine injury. You can always replace a car but never your head.

Safety should be always #1.

Wish you quick recovery and thank you for posting videos and details. All of us need a reminder every once in a while to remind us how quickly accidents can happen. I have my own checklist that I am developing for HPDEs. All pilots use them before every single take-off in addition to maintenance and drivers can use them as well.

GL !!
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      03-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsor View Post
ABS malfunction... people call it ice mode. I guess I'll just pull the damn ABS fuse next time I get onto the track with any car. I handled lack of ABS just fine in Skip Barber cars. F1 guys don't use it. Screw ABS if it's gonna try to kill me.
If F1 was allowed to have ABS, rest assured that they would have it That being said, at the club level obviously it is much better to not have ABS purely for those moments like yours where ABS does more harm than good. (it's the same as ABS sucking donkey dick when you are going over loose surfaces, I'd rather have regular brakes then also).

What specifically happened with your brake failure? It's hard to deduce what happened from the video. On one hand, it's obvious that you didn't have the same entry speed as usually, but there are no sound or visual cues as to a problem other than your lack of downshifting. Then, you turn in like normal and lose control as the car understeers of the track.

It's always hard to be armchair qb'ing a wreck, but it seems like you didn't have a COMPLETE brake failure. That is, you were still capable of slowing down, albeit not at your usual braking capability (obviously). In that situation, you should not turn in. Instead, stay straight and keep trying to brake - go way past your turn in point, and keep on the brakes.

Not saying it would have prevented you from hitting the wall like you did, but it's better than turning in while going way too fast and losing all control of your car.

Rest up, feel better and be happy that at least it didn't happen at the top of the roller coaster
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