Track Day Crash at Sonoma Raceway Has All Sides Pointing Fingers
Being a professional racing team at an amateur event, you are expected to hold your on-track behavior to the highest standard.
If you have been to track day or any type of track event before, you’ll most likely have encountered a pro racing team in the pits once or twice. They are usually very nice people and are simply there to test and tune like everybody else, just with a lot faster cars and a lot more experienced drivers. These drivers usually are involved in wheel-to-wheel racing during their competition season, which, however, is something that is strictly forbidden on amateur track days, even in the most advanced groups.
But don’t misunderstand. They do not show up to HPDE events to practice “racing,” but rather because it’s a cheap and easy venue for them to shake down their cars. Usually, HPDE events section off driver skill levels and experience by instilling different run groups at different times, keeping everybody at a pace with others with similar lap times and experiences.
What would happen if this safety system fell apart? We don’t have to look any further than a recent event hosted at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. Imagine having an on-track collision in your personal vehicle at a driver’s education event. It would have a pretty devastating effect on any enthusiast, and the repercussions would be unsavory to say the least.
Now imagine that you’re a professional race team and you have two track-related incidents on one day with amateur enthusiasts vehicles. You would assume that the team would be very apologetic, have explanations, and be happy to help with the other involved parties. That was not the case at Sonoma with Rearden Racing having two on-track incidents at a HPDE event. Tire Meets Road recently reported the story to the dismay of many within the grass-roots motorsport community.
According to Tire Meets Road, Rearden was made clear that the run groups they were running their cars in would feature cars that would be much slower than their own. The first incident was posted on YouTube and mysteriously disappeared soon after. However, a streamable mirror still exists and it shows a GT3 RS being piloted by an instructor while Rearden Racing’s 370Z violently over shoots the apex on the inside of a corner, nearly taking the GT3 out. Seemingly, the 370Z completely neglected to brake for the corner at all after riding the bumper of the GT3 for the past corners and as a result violently flies over the curbing across the track and off into the grass.
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The second incident involves Rearden’s Audi R8 race car and an amateur driver’s FR-S displayed through the above Instagram video. Essentially, you can see the FR-S beginning to prepare to take the corner at turn 3 when suddenly, apparently out of nowhere the R8 appears to be dive-bombing well before the apex and this results in the R8 colliding with the FR-S.
In the aftermath of the incident there has been a lot of controversy about who was at fault and explanations about what happened in both situations. Rearden Racing released their official statement about the incident. What we do know is that they have turned off all comments on their Instagram posts and still have yet to release their own videos of the incident (the R8 supposedly has four on-board cameras at all times). More details will arise as the situation develops, but what we can see for now is that Rearden Racing has no intention to apologize anytime soon. Who is wrong or right? We’ll leave that up to you.