Driving around a track at high speeds with no one else on the track takes a specific amount of skill, but that skill level pales in comparison to the challenges faced when an entire field of racers is added to the mix.
During a race a driver has to challenge themselves to not only drive the fastest around the track but to also avoid a collision with other drivers. The precision driving and quick reflexes needed to get the job done on the track take years of driving to hone and master including what a racer should do when they experience a crash.
Many times while watching races we see a car spin out of control and run into other cars. We don’t always realize exactly what that can mean for the drivers of any of the vehicles involved. Thankfully the safety gear offered inside these racing vehicles is better than it has ever been to help allow drivers to walk away from crashes that would have taken lives only twenty years ago. While that is the case, there are still aspects of a crash that require extreme skill and quick thinking in order to survive with little to no damage to the driver.
In the crash you see from the video below, you’ll see Gary Paffett’s DTM car spin out of control and become a missile that’s spinning toward other cars. This crash took place at one of the turns at the Norisring in Nuremburg and from the outside it looks like a typical crash that we see on many race days. What we don’t see from the outside video is the fact that the car rockets toward the others and crashes into Mike Rockenfeller’s car with the force between 38 and 40G which is an extremely hard hit.
As you watch the video from inside Paffett’s car you can see that he chooses to take his hands off the wheel during the crash, which is the right thing to do. Inside the car, this was traveling at about 158 mph when the crash began the forces on his body and the inner workings of the vehicle range between six and eight G’s of force. This is more than enough force to break both of his arms, which he was able to avoid by simply taking his hands from the wheel during the spin out of his DTM car.
Had Paffett chosen to keep his hands on the wheel there would have been many more injuries to report but the result of this crash was a few bumps and bruises and one broken bone in the foot of Rockenfeller. The safety built into these cars and the reflexive training that happens for racers made this a crash where both drivers were able to walk away and live to race another day soon rather than have a serious of surgeries and even possibly death. The car safety qualities are impressive, but it’s also impressive to note the fact that a driver needs to have such quick reflexes to make sure they can survive a crash such as this one virtually unscathed.