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Author: Subject: mental recovery from hard trackday crash
Werner Van Loock

posted on 23/11/20 at 08:58 AM Reply With Quote
mental recovery from hard trackday crash

It's been a bit more then a year now when I was invited to a trackday to drive a corvette C5-Z06 on Zolder.

It was running slicks while air temperature was around freezing point and at 3rd lap around I spun at high speed and smashed into the tyrewall (lucky as other side was concrete) at appr. 120kph drivers side first.

We both stepped out unharmed physically but was gutted the whole day as the car was badly damaged and it wasn't mine.

Now I still struggle with the effects in my head mostly as I never knew why we spun in the first place, only guessing black ice, mechanical failure or driver error, though it really went snap tail around the nose without any warning, didn't react to opposite lock, then on brakes but still hard into the tyrewall.

Just wondering how others on here have managed to get something like this out of their head? I'm not scared going onto track again, but haven't yet due to covid maddness. Just wondering.

For more detail, we had the right hand terlamen corner, accelerating out of it and spun in the right side where it is almost straight (so very far from the corner) Car spun 120 before hitting the wall, then went into dizzy spinning mode after impact.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 09:11 AM Reply With Quote
I'm no physiologist, but if you can explain the accident away, with good reasons, then it's very unlikely that you could have done much about it in those circumstances. It's not as if you always crash as you come out of right turns on the road is it ?

The likely outcome is for you not to push it so much on a freezing road surface in future I think.

I've had multiple crashes, on bikes and in cars and trucks, I can explain all of them away and have learnt from most of them, but not all


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posted on 23/11/20 at 11:00 AM Reply With Quote
12 years ago I rolled my Spitfire, doing the RBRR run (2000 miles in 48hrs around the UK)
We were heading down to Stirling through Glencoe, 4pm and slightly damp, doing sensible speeds. On a bend there was some diesel/oil, and that was it, slid off the road, down a gentle bank before hitting a rock and gently rolling over, back onto the wheels. I had a badly cut hand, nothing more.
While sitting in the ambulance somebody called, another car did the same but slid into another car, no injuries though. Police spoke to me, said it happens a few times a week, and a few fatalities a year. No action or anything.
Yes, it remember it well.....

Upshot, I still get twitch about damp roads, and am not happy with letting the car slide at all. I have done plenty of trackdays since, but I drive well within my limits on wet/damp tracks. Guess that will stay with me, I don't need to risk me or the car, so am prepared to be called a soft driver or whatever.
I am certainly better about it now than initially. I was extra cautious on the road. But feel I am in a happy place now (in fact, after a couple of years, slowly getting confidence back)

Just my experience. Just do what you are comfortable with, get your confidence back a bit at a time. No rights or wrongs.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 11:02 AM Reply With Quote
first time i drove on slicks i came up to a corner and went straight on, i wasnt even going fast, they have zero grip when cold.
as for your head, it,s like falling off a bike, get straight back on again and learn by your mistakes, self presivation is a strong feeling.

who cares who wins
pass the pork pies

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posted on 23/11/20 at 11:42 AM Reply With Quote
I was discussing this with a chap I race with a while back, his confidence in wet conditions was knocked after a crash and was struggling to push. I found this strange as I have had so many accidents and crashes (mainly on road, inc one that left me in hospital for 5 days with a broken back) but have never once considered not getting straight back out there. Also in my 20s I had a minor superiority complex so, at the time I made the mistakes I usually blamed them on someone else, so in my mind I was free to get back on it and carry on regardless. I look back on them now and see I was in error of course, but if id felt like that at the time I may have either been knocked back (or possibly learnt quicker!).

I can say for sure that my confidence in driving came from driving lots of cheap arse cars with low grip and power, meaning any loss of control I had was at slow speeds so easier to lean to correct and any accidents I did have were less severe. Maybe you jumped in to a too powerful car (regardless of if you have experience with them) so that when things went wrong it was a bigger and more costly accident.
Get yourself a cheap and cheerful hot hatch maybe, (im bias towards the Clios of course - but for a good reason as they are cheap to repair, very predicable and confidence inspiring). Once you have built back confidence in a slower car you can move up a level.

Mistral Motorsport

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Mr Whippy

posted on 23/11/20 at 12:32 PM Reply With Quote
Tbh anyone who takes a car to a race track has to accept it is very likely to be damaged if not destroyed and if someone gives you a shot of their car on a race track and it crashes, well they can't blame anyone but themselves for taking that risk.

All that matters is you both got out safe.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 12:39 PM Reply With Quote
A friend of mine was towing a large trailer and he was in the outside lane of a dual carridgeway when the road started going down hill. The trailer pushed the back end of his discovery around and then into the central reservation. He was unhurt but his dog was trapped into the vehicle and had to be cut out. 20 years later he still gets very twitchy in the passenger seat when towing....

Another friend was driving his Discovery near a quarry when the road gave way under him. His Disco slipped and slid off the road into a flooded gravel pit. He reacted quickly and opened the door and got out. Only to realise his dog was trapped in the back. The Discovery sank very very fast and he was trying to open the rear door as it went under. It sank engine first with him clinging to the back. He had to wait until the pressures equalised before the rear door would open. He opened the door and the dog swam out. He told me he was very very deep at this time and the journey back to the surface nearly killed him. Both okay now but he won't go out on the water now. The recovery breakdown tow cable was too short to reach the Disco even at full stretch.

I can't help but just thought I'd say that you are not the only one.

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steve m

posted on 23/11/20 at 01:04 PM Reply With Quote
I had a bad motorbike accident when i was 20, wrote the bike off, i didnt break a bone, but did set my leathers/self on fire, and wore a hole in my crash helmet the size of a mug
This was on the A23 dual carriageway near were i live, and drive on that piece of road regularly and i am still unsure how i got to over 100mph on a bend, while over taking a bus, when i dropped the bike

My biking days ended there, and then, although i have ridden a few times since, i never felt safe, and would never buy or ride another (im 60 now)

As for the mental anguish i can honestly say, every night for a good while after i had this accident running in my dreams on a constant loop
this went on for several months,

I do hope the dream doesnt comes back to me tonight as it was horrific!!

i posted incorrectly, and have added the word doesnt !!

[Edited on 23/11/20 by steve m]

Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at

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posted on 23/11/20 at 01:14 PM Reply With Quote
It can happen. On the positive sive you weren't physically hurt. Being on a track will have advantages in some as much as all the cars are going in the same direction and most tracks are fairly well barriered - you say you hit a tyre wall.

Accidents probably will always leave invisible mental scars behind. I know when I was a passenger in a van that rolled over (oncoming driver error) I was worried about getting back in a vehicle for a while. After a while the worry went went away, but I still think about it sometimes.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 03:35 PM Reply With Quote
the 'technical' term is Post Traumatic Stress, and there are many places offering help.
in the UK (yes I know that is road, but track will be similar)

don't know about the help available in Belgium though

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Mr Whippy

posted on 23/11/20 at 04:17 PM Reply With Quote
You should just go out on a track day asap.

When I was a teenager and had yet another big crash, I was straight back to driving and in no time it was fine. Did use to have a few dreams of flying off the road though.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 04:39 PM Reply With Quote
Hi all,

Back in 1992 I borrowed a car from a family friend who had a broken leg and was unable to drive for a few weeks. Long story short, someone hit me on a single track road where they didn't appear to see me as they came round a corner after I had pulled over to make space to pass. Unfortunately, since it was their word against mine and the road was a single track road, it was noted by insurance as "knock for knock" and we both lost our NCBs and had to pay for our own repairs. I was a young driver in 1992 and back then it was quite common to have 3rd party fire and theft coverage only. Anyway, my Dad basically bought the car from our friend at full market value and then we set about repairing it and selling it as a repaired car to recoup some of the cost.

I still remember that event clearly all these years later and still see flashbacks in my mind. The other driver actually left the scene, leaving her teenage son behind, and then her husband and neighbour arrived to take care of the aftermath. All very suspicious and bought her several hours before being tested for impairment...

As the OP said, it's not knowing exactly why it happened that upsets you most. I certainly feel pretty hard done by in my case and have my suspicions as to why the other driver left the scene but of course we'll never know for sure. Everyone just assumed it was the young driver's fault.

More recently (Feb 8th this year) I got rear-ended by a hire van and pushed into the car in front. The resulting damage to my 2009 BMW 535d (pride and joy!) made it beyond economical repair and it was written off as a Cat-S. I've since repaired the car and am in the process of selling it as I couldn't bear to see it carted away to the scrapyard with what was largely superficial damage.

Several times since that accident, I have been startled when I look in my rear mirror in traffic and see a vehicle coming at me at what I feel is too high a speed. I'm sure this must have happened many times in the past and I didn't give it a second's thought, but now I get spooked once or twice a week and find myself cringing and sometimes bracing myself because my brain is associating that image with the impending impact. It makes no sense because that is the only time I have suffered a rear end collision in 30 years of driving but my brain doesn't want to know!!

Glad nobody was hurt.

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posted on 23/11/20 at 08:15 PM Reply With Quote
I had a bit of an off into the trees on a hillclimb (Wiscombe Park) in 2008 during first practice on the Saturday morning. The crash took all the front off the single seater including snapping all three master cylinders off. I was a bit bruised too!

After shovelling the parts onto the trailer I had a lift back to the paddock, got checked over by the doc and went to get my tools sorted. Two of the lads immediately offered me a double drive in their bike engined single seaters - I declined based on the fact I couldn't afford to fix two cars! If I'm honest I couldn't have done it right then. A quick check over my car revealed that there was no chassis damage and, apart from one master cylinder, I had the parts there to fix it ready for the Sunday. But I couldn't do it!

I've been back to Wiscombe Park several times but it's not my favourite hill! And my elbow still hurts!


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posted on 23/11/20 at 11:43 PM Reply With Quote
Glad your all ok thats the main thing.
3-400hp, in a RWD light plastic car, low temps slicks and a corner.....
I dont think you need to do too much more investigation, but I hope you can move on
∙،. ˘≈ﺣ

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posted on 24/11/20 at 01:30 AM Reply With Quote
Even much more minor things can have an effect. I was once in a queue of traffic struggling to pass a badly positioned car (the driver had stopped where he really shouldn't have to drop his wife/girlfriend off near the tram station) and it was causing chaos. As I got my chance to pass, she stepped into the road, looking the other way and I had to slam my brakes on. I also hit the horn - for a fraction of a second. She turned an swore at me and carried on crossing. I then drove down to the traffic lights, only to find the husband/boyfriend running down the road to attack me. As it happened, I had time to lock the doors and all this happened right in front of a police van. They were pretty hot on road-rage at the time, as it was the day after Kenneth Noye had killed someone on a a slip-road of the M25! They grabbed him and asked me to come over. I calmly tried to speak to him and he was totally out of control, almost foaming at the mouth, shouting, swearing and trying to get to me. That was the whole event. A few minutes later I carried to work and I never heard anything more. 25 years later, it still comes to mind once in a while.

[Edited on 24/11/20 by SteveWalker]

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posted on 24/11/20 at 07:52 AM Reply With Quote
Originally posted by ReMan
Glad your all ok thats the main thing.
3-400hp, in a RWD light plastic car, low temps slicks and a corner.....
I dont think you need to do too much more investigation, but I hope you can move on

Probably sums it up. From memory your on increasing throttle all the way through that corner as it opens but is slightly cresting there? Lots of grip at the start then goes light later? Driver error, exacerbated by cold slicks, lots of power and not a lot of familiarity with the car would be my guess.

Except it and move on... Easy to say but harder to do for most of us. You could try reading The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters to get your head around it.

"A witty saying proves nothing" Voltaire

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Werner Van Loock

posted on 24/11/20 at 09:07 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks for all the support.

Forgot to say that I also drive a 400hp daily, though it's bit heavier and front/4wd (V90-T8)

I've had numerous road accidents, only 1 my own bloody fault (was still apprentice driver) as my mom said it was clear to cross a main road, well it wasn't Another car crashed into my drivers door tyres screaming coming from appr. 50mph so was a serious one with left arm bruised.

But never had issues with that as I know what caused it (myself listening to others about traffic situation, never did that again )
Afterwards mostly shunts from behind while waiting at traffic lights. (some real muppets on the road, one just had her foot slip off the clutch )

But in this instance I guess it's mostly about not knowing what actually happened, so Jason describes best i guess as not knowing what the cause was, so not able to learn from it.

I even tried sim racing to simulate, couldn't even simulate the the crash whatever i tried. (tried assetto corsa and project cars 2)

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posted on 25/11/20 at 10:18 AM Reply With Quote
cause of spin

did the car have an lsd? Depending on lsd type, radically different grip levels side to side can cause problems, e.g. if one wheel went through ice and the other one didn't.
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