Excited about an empty track and the opportunity to collect some additional data for Project Z4 M, I went out for a warm-up. Things went wrong early on the second lap, when I went into an abrupt, seemingly unprovoked and extremely scary spin in turn one, the fastest corner of the track. A review of the GPS data revealed that I was traveling at about 60 to 65 mph when I spun, well below my usual 75 to 80 mph after braking from over 125 mph. I had been 'bitten by the family dog.'
So what happened? Why did the faithful 'dog' bite? After a thorough mechanical inspection, nothing appeared to be wrong before or after the incident. This, of course, rightly pegs the blame on the driver. I can't put my finger on the precise cause of the spin, but I can list several things it could have been: Fatigue: heavy work schedule with international business trips Poor choice of driving apparel: loose-fitting work shoes Complacency: am I not invincible at my home track? Rushing: not warmed up mentally and physically to begin pushing the car
I was lucky to have a 'free' lesson and it could have been a lot worse. Project Z4 M could have been delayed by several months. Track time is great fun and can be rewarding, but it's not without risk. It's up to you, and only you, to be completely prepared for driving events like this. It is also important to give yourself time to adjust to this exhilarating activity by working into it slowly. That night, my students may have not been terribly pleased to have me as their instructor, but I did have a lot of fresh and humble advice for them.