Fatality at Buttonwillow - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Fatality at Buttonwillow

One dead after crash at Buttonwillow Raceway Park - The Bakersfield Californian

I was already thinking that track days were too risky (I can think of at least two LTers who have written off their Eliges since I became a member in '13), but this is much worse than losing your car. I've been to BW twice this year...

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 05:34 PM
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Yes, track days can be dangerous, but coconuts are much more dangerous. We should avoid them all!

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 09:14 PM
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wow, crazy...both posts.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 05:22 AM
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word on the street was the decedent had neither a containment seat nor a HANS device - two things I don't go on track without. My HANS has saved me at least once so far when I was rear ended by a supposedly "pro" driver (pissing blood isn't fun).

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigyirush View Post
One dead after crash at Buttonwillow Raceway Park - The Bakersfield Californian

I was already thinking that track days were too risky (I can think of at least two LTers who have written off their Eliges since I became a member in '13), but this is much worse than losing your car. I've been to BW twice this year...
Tragic, this is not the first time someone died doing what they loved in a kart or car at Buttonwillow; and it does seem to be more frequent than the other tracks in California.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 07:05 AM
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Does anyone know if he was running a full cage or not? I also heard that he struck on the passenger's side, but the passenger is still alive (last I heard). Scary stuff. Sobering reminder what's at stake...the reason I always have tons of anxiety before sessions.

EDIT: Looks like the car DID have a full cage. Damn

Last edited by acslater; 12-09-2015 at 08:54 AM.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 07:07 AM
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Image from a friend who was there - if this is inappropriate, mods please remove. It's not my intention to show anything this horrible, but it may contribute to understanding what happened
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 07:33 AM
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I am an official for VARA and we have run Buttonwillow many times over the years. We have had a few close calls in this last turn/front straightaway area. If you go off in the last turn, drive in the dirt and get some control and then enter the track farther down the front straightaway. If you try to "YANK" the car back on course, you will almost always head across the course and possibly hit the barrier. We remind the drivers on a regular basis of this potential problem.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 08:42 AM
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Seat

What containment seat do you have? I'm looking into getting a proper seat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cretinx View Post
word on the street was the decedent had neither a containment seat nor a HANS device - two things I don't go on track without. My HANS has saved me at least once so far when I was rear ended by a supposedly "pro" driver (pissing blood isn't fun).
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 11:13 AM
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i really prefer racing formula fords over track days in production street cars. much safer for a variety of reasons. M3's are stupid fast, and if its only street safety equipment...

not saying it is a reason here... but the west coast is very "lazy" with track day rules and process. moving here from VA, and seeing/hearing how track weekends were run. i decided to just not do that anymore here and get a fully safety prepped race car.

i got t-boned as a passenger just a few weeks ago - saw that we were going to get hit will the driver was making a left turn on a green intersection without yielding, on coming car didn't slow or see? us. i was ready, covered - i was very surprised to be reminded that without harnesses, hans, arm restraints how even at ~30mph hit i got flung, stretched, twerked... like a rag doll - sobering. street cars are hugely "unsafe"

tragic, best wishes to friends and family.

my profile pic is at buttonwillow, my favorite track in the area.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 11:59 AM
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Fellow LT member was on the track running with the same group when the incident happened. So tragic. Be safe out there.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 12:04 PM
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i really prefer racing formula fords over track days in production street cars. much safer for a variety of reasons. M3's are stupid fast, and if its only street safety equipment...
That's interesting. Besides the driver safety items that you can/should have in a track day street car, I've always felt much safer in a modern street car with its modern engineered crumple zones and crash testing than I have in a 40-year old tube frame designed without crash performance as the remotest consideration. Of course the FF is much more fun, but I'm surprised that someone feels they are safer.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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If it's true that he didn't have Hans or a proper seat, wouldn't it make his caged car less safe that if he was just running stock belts and had airbags?

PS What exactly is a containment seat (mentioned in a quote a few posts ago)?

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 02:20 PM
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Similar discussion on the TrackHQ forum - more details. Just tragic, RIP.

Fatality at Buttonwillow

Containment seat? = To me, it looks like a giant baby seat that really locks you in on the track to prevent lateral movement. That's a tight fit.



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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 05:33 PM
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The guy (Ivo) that passed away was a big Subaru guy. He owned (or has a big part of) Renner Motorsports. He has a lot of videos of him in his WRX coupe going really fast. He lapped Chuckwalla in like 1:50.. I just did a 2:07 and that got me to the top of my run group (intermediate) for example. He was part of the "Under 50" (Under 1:50 lap time at ButtonWillow) and def knew what he was doing.

Word on the street was that he wasn't driving but helping a customer tune his car.

But HPDE are as as safe as anything else. The faster you go the more safety equipment you need and should have. Most tracks are designed for safety and its the only real safe place to learn how to drive a car at its limits.

P.s. I don't like Buttonwillow personally. High speed sweepers and "Phil Hill" just seem give me too many pucker moments..

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 06:02 PM
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I've not had a friend be killed on track, but have had it happen two times to people I had met there. Cars being flat bedded back in totaled are common. Not every weekend but nearly.

We've done 50 track weekends. I've spun maybe a dozen times and suffered pretty good body damage twice. About $17K each time. We run a full cage and HANS.

Building the car up and testing both our limits has been one of the very best experiences of my life. But the scariest times I've had involved close calls on the interstates while towing the car to track.

Hope we can discover more specifics of what happened in this tragic event and can learn from it. These things affect a lot of people.

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 08:35 PM
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Fatality at Buttonwillow - Page 2
Shed a little more light on this tragic event...



Page 3, TrackHQ forum

"From Facebook:

He came out of the esses too wide dipped dirt on the right side tried to save it, over corrected twice, slid into the corner station. Poor guy man. I was on track a couple turns behind when they stopped us and when we finally rolled off track they were trying to resuscitate him and they were pulling out the passenger who's face was covered in blood and was very stiff like he was in the position he was sitting. It was really gnarly. He must have still been going like 80+ on impact. It hit the passenger side and it was fully caged. Kinda crazy how the driver died but not the passenger. The car was a banana man. He hit so hard the corner worker got thrown out of the station. The corner worker who stopped us on Phil hill kept walking back and forth with his radio on and the corner worker over there was panicking and crying so it was real bad man. From stubbz--"


Fatality at Buttonwillow - Page 8

Page 8:

Today 03:03 PM #160
tq3z: "I didn't write anything because I wanted to see how the thread evolved but I'll chime in.

I was the second car behind Ivo when the car went into the tire barrier. My exact thought was "Car is caged, I see harnesses, he's gonna be just fine" and then we got the red flag. I pulled off track and when I heard the news I didn't know what to think. Let's just say it was a very weird form of shock, considering how I'd assumed that even though he was prepared, the absolute worst occurred.

Would the halo seat have saved him? It was a side impact so would the HANS have helped? I don't know - I'm not an expert.

Someone in the thread earlier said it best - sometimes you just need to go off. You can't/won't save them all. This is a case where ego/trying to save the car got the better of a good driver. I don't say this to be insensitive, but the car could have just gone off when he went 2 off on the exit of the esses.

Some laps just aren't worth it. And sometimes you can't be prepared enough.

I still don't know how to feel about it. It's just a ****ty situation."

Page 9.

"Pure EvoIX: Hey guys.

https://www.gofundme.com/renner/share/gfm/fb_d_5_q

Here is the link to donate to his family to help ease their financial burden. I donated $200. So please if you have change to spare, please donate. Thanks! RIP Ivo, great competitor, well respected with alot of experience.
He will be deeply missed by me and everyone's lives he touched. He was seriously a genuine, selfless, humble person.
It was a pleasure racing and talking with him. I just talked to him in person like 3 weeks ago. Very tragic. Local motorsport community definitely lost a good person that day.
He leaves behind 2 young kids, his wife, his brother, and nephew, and many others from the Renner family.

Let's get this over $20k for them. "

.... Again, just tragic. I spun out before over the blind hill coming down, luckily straight into the dirt! It's a fast track!

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 08:57 PM
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That's interesting. Besides the driver safety items that you can/should have in a track day street car, I've always felt much safer in a modern street car with its modern engineered crumple zones and crash testing than I have in a 40-year old tube frame designed without crash performance as the remotest consideration. Of course the FF is much more fun, but I'm surprised that someone feels they are safer.
"modern" street safety is not even close to being contained, caged, 6 pointed, molded seat, hans, fire bottle, fuel cell...

the lack of mass helps slow things down too when you go off.

anyways - again, very tragic. HANS is "requirement" if you hit anything going faster than ~30 mph... see my earlier comment. especially if you are harnessed and don't have the slack that 3 points give, harness just make neck injuries 'worse' (but fixes everything else). hans solves the unrestrained head attached to a restrained body issue.

adding: its also a misconception that 40 year old formula cars were not designed with safety in mind. every generation gets safer and safer of course. and most are retrofitted to be even more safer. (better, taller roll hoops, anti intrusion bars on the arms and anti intrusions striation for the cockpits,etc) formula cars "do" have "crumple zones" and they are arguable more effective than street cars of similar eras. formula cars of the 70-80''s have "better" crumple zones than production cars... in fact, the Elise is built with similar philosophies of safety and how the suspension deforms, the attenuator up front and so forth - thats all straight out of early late 70's early 80's formula cars.

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Last edited by fitfan; 12-11-2015 at 12:01 PM.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 06:00 AM
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1) We run OMP containment seats with the full halo. The HANS or whatever will stop your neck from snapping straight on, but you need the containment halo for side impacts like in this case.

2) Running a harness without a HANS/containment seat is asking for trouble - you're locked in, your neck is even more ****ed.

3) Street safety equipment is useless in these situations. that stuff is not designed to save you at these speeds and these angles. In the last 5 years I've seen a monstrous evolution of horsepower - street cars running 150+ mph down the back straight at the Glen, with no additional safety equipment, and the electronic nannies reigning everything in. Once you exceed the capabilities of those nannies, physics is physics and if you don't have the skill to save it, you had better have the safety equipment to prevent a tragedy.

That said, it's a risky sport. Some of us will die doing it.
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