EP3 Civic Type R Meets a Brutal Fate at the Nurburgring
EP3 Civic Type R fails to stay “shiny side up” around the Nurburgring.
The Nurburgring draws in car enthusiasts around the world. A 12.9 mile long race circuit, that ebbs and flows like the craziest back road of your dreams, the appeal is obvious. However, the ‘Ring is technically an open-to-the-public toll road. That means anyone can show up, pay 25€ and run a hot lap around the most famous track in the world. These “Touristenfahrten” open-lapping events usually work pretty well. Being such a long track, the ‘Ring usually has enough to room to let people loose. Indeed, that’s what happens, drivers take it like any other public road in Europe. Helmets are optional. None of this would never fly in the U.S.
However, the downside to this is exactly as obvious as it sounds: anyone, in anything, can show up and participate. Cars, trucks, buses, bikes, anything goes at the Nurburgring. Unsurprisingly, that means a lot of inexperienced drivers hit the track for their first time and get in over their heads. Due to the nature of the course, it’s a very high-speed track. Many corners flow together through the hills, and it’s not uncommon to see cars hit VMAX or spend the majority of their laps in 4th, 5th and sometimes 6th gear. Those high speeds, in tandem with sometimes less than race-ready awareness means accidents happen. When they do, they tend to be big.
Playing with fire, and the possibility of getting burned.
First of all, the driver and passenger appear to be okay. As noted, neither were wearing helmets or utilizing any safety gear. Kudos to Honda for developing a strong chassis with good crash protection.
Now, let’s analyze what happened. The driver of this EP3 seems to have turned in early, brushing the curbing. Then, while on the inside, they grabbed the brakes to slow for the corner. However, curbing will upset the balance of the car, every time. With the right-front wheel on the curbing, braking caused all the weight to come off the rear end of the car. Normally, a bit of trailbraking is helpful on a front-wheel drive car. However, with that weight now being transferred to the right-front wheel, it caused the already light rear end to lift and swing around. The constant of Physics then made the situation very real as the car came into a sharp downhill corner and rolled. Ouch.
Aside from a series of volunteer marshals spread around the track, the Nurburgring isn’t “staffed” like normal race circuits. Fortunately, in the far right corner, you can just spy the bright orange vest of a track official who hops into action, flagging other motorists. Indeed, for the most part, the impetus is on fellow motorists to be aware and notice anything awry. Indeed, several Porsche 911’s first reach the wreckage, getting off line and throwing on their hazard lights. It seems that our EP3 owner is dazed and confused after the crash, walking back into the middle of the circuit to check on the car. Hop over the Armco barriers and wait! That’s an easy way to get yourself killed after an already dangerous encounter.
Safety concerns abound
I don’t mean to sound like an armchair expert. However, as a track day enthusiast, some of the behaviors caught on camera at the Nordschleife seem crazy to me. I’m not alone in this thought. Dale Lomas, keeper of the fantastic Nurburgring-centric blog, BridgetoGantry, also has some things to say about ‘Ring safety. Finally, we can have a laugh at this poor schmuck and got his bell rung, and CTR totaled. Or, we can think about ways to improve ‘Ring safety and keep them from having to close it’s doors, again.