Danny was hurtling towards the concrete wall at the pit entrance at a speed in excess of a hundred and fifty kilometres per hour. The large brakes on the Lamborghini did a good job of slowing the car down, much better than the brakes in his own race car, but even Danny knew it wasn’t going to be enough to avoid a collision.
He didn’t have time to consider the fact that how he got into the position he was in was no one’s fault but his own. He didn’t have time to blame the car in front of him as he came down the straight for upsetting the airflow when the driver moved a fraction to the left and altered the slip stream effects on Danny’s car. He did have time to blame the car behind for something else that didn’t happen. He didn’t even have time to blame the cars around him in the chicane for taking evasive action and completely avoiding him. And he certainly didn’t have time to admit that the one and only reason he was hurtling towards the concrete barrier was because he lost his cool when his rear tyres slipped after he put the power down.
Despite knowing he was going to hit the wall it didn’t stop Danny doing all that he could to make the impact less. Instead of pumping the brakes, as all defensive drivers and racing drivers are trained to do, Danny pushed his right foot down on the brake hard. In his own car the ABS braking would have taken over and pulsed the brake pads, something proven to stop skidding and help a speeding car slow down. But part of the Classic Series and the age of the cars used was that such things like ABS were not fitted to the cars.
Once the tyres started skidding on the hot tarmac Danny was little more than a passenger, control was lost. Even if he’d been able to pump the brakes it would have done very little to help his situation because the tyres had broken traction with the road and he was no better than an ice skater skimming across an ice lake.
There was really only two things Danny had control over and it was limited control at that. Firstly he could try to hold the steering straight in the hope that the car didn’t veer off the race track and into the grass where the effects of the skidding brakes would be amplified. The other thing he had control over was to keep the car in gear and not be tempted in the heat of the moment to either engage the clutch or pull on the gear stick. Because the last thing he needed was to be skidding at well over a hundred kilometres per hour in angel gear. At least while the engine was in gear there was some hope that the slowing engine may assist with the slowing of the car, almost like an engine brake on a truck.
As the Lamborghini skidded closer to the wall Danny’s ears could hear, but barely registered, the screaming of rubber on the road, it had over taken the roar of the engine as the engine tried to respond the signals it was getting from both the on board computer and Danny’s limited reaction to what was happening.
Danny was about forty five metres out from the wall when his lack of control became completely evident. He hadn’t moved the steering wheel, he didn’t need to, the fact his front right hand wheel did not lock as hard as the other three wheels, and rolled every so slightly was enough to change his course for him. The way his brakes locked was beyond his control, just like the way the car preformed under such conditions was beyond his control, which is why drivers like him were trained not to lock the brakes.
It was only a slight movement of the rear end but it was enough for the right rear tyre to edge onto the painted line on the edge of the track. That paint line, as with all painted lines on race tracks, was then enough to exaggerate the reaction of the rear tyre and before Danny even knew what was going on the right hand rear of the Lamborghini had shot outward. The effect was felt immediately as the car followed the path of least resistance and turned nearly ninety degrees.
With the car side on to the wall there was nothing Danny could do to save himself from hitting the wall. He couldn’t get traction and drive out of the accident. He couldn’t brake harder and pull the car up and he could steer the car into less off an impact. He was nothing short of a a rocket sled on rails, still moving in excess a hundred kilometres per hour and headed straight for a concrete wall with the driver’s side of the car taking the full brunt of the collision.
Milliseconds before collision the right rear tyre which immediately took more pressure than the left rear when the car turned, exploded as the tread wore away toward nothing and rolled off the rim. It was a small explosion that Danny neither saw or heard bit it was enough to lower the car slightly on the side of impact and change the angle of the car. At the same time with all the pressure Danny was putting on the brake pedal and the pressure of the engine still trying to send the power it was making down through the gear box and onto the tailshaft where something had to give.
Then suddenly ceasing engine threw two rods and slammed number three piston through the head stopping the engine immediate and spewing oil and unburned fuel through the engine bay.
Danny turned his head, his HANS device limiting how far he could turn, but even with his limited movement all he could see was the concrete wall and he was so close that he couldn’t even read the sponsorship banner because the letters were too large to see the full word.
It was only a split second but Danny knew exactly what was about to happen.
Previous Racing story here.