I did not hit a GT40 yesterday

Hey guys, more of a lurker here than a poster. You know the type, I've bought some GT40 bits, thought I could start a build, sold said bits because "life", now regret selling bits, will buy more bits one day, but until then I just click around here and fill my brain with all sorts of GT40 info for my future build. But, I digress. I had a war story, and thought I'd share:

"I did not hit a GT40 yesterday (and it was awesome)"

PannoniaRing, Hungary
Characters: Myself, Peter (Driver of said GT40), 100hp Fiat Panda, and Mr. Pendulum in a Volvo
Stage: Wet, soggy, and cold. In fact, this will be the first session we've had all day that doesn't have standing water on the track.
Chariot: Stock 2004 Mazda RX8 on 245 series Toyo Proxes R888r's

I finished the third session of what is quickly becoming a rather irritating trackday. On the way back to the paddock I just caught a glimpse of the tail lights from a Blue GT40 poking out from one of the garages on pit row. I make a mental note to scope it out later and possibly pick the driver's brain (if I think he'll humor me). I'm in the slowest of run groups, a category simply referred to as "Street Cars". Today it feels more like "amateur night". There are a couple drivers that are just driving way outside of their cars ability here on the wet pavement (*cough* Mr. Pendulum *cough*), and almost no one is pointing people by. I'm finding myself slowing WAY down more than once, just to get enough space to open my car back up again. If that wasn't enough, the track is slippery enough that I really don't feel comfortable passing unless the other car is ultra levels slower than mine (The Renault Clio is a good example, but not much else I can get by)... Bleh.

Enter: Session 4.

I thought it was weird I hadn't seen the GT40 in any of the other run groups but certainly didn't expect him to line up with the rest of us slow pokes. These are guys in Clio Cups, the occasional 3-series BMW, Nissan Z, or me (who has to take his child seat out before getting on the track).


But holy smokes, look at that! There he is!!! Even better? I ended up RIGHT behind him in the grid. When we took off, I was hot on his six and determined to stay there as long as I could. :D

I mentioned that the stage was soggy and wet, and I mean it. Turn 2 is ice no matter what line you take, and so is the racing line. The strategy that's working best for me right now is to brake straight all the way into the tire booger territory, point the car, and roll on the throttle, and it is workin! For one glorious lap I am awash in the sights, sounds, and smells of GT40 awesomeness!

His tailpipes were like machine guns belching fire that once was carefully measured fuel and air, fed to the engine through that glorious Weber 8-pack I can see trumpeting away behind the driver's head. For those glorious 3 minutes or so I am Gerard Larousse chasing Jacky Ickx in his #6 Mark 1!!! This is no longer a trackday, this is 1969 and we are in the final laps of LeMans!!!!! YEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAW!!! (or whatever a French driver would say...)

And then it happens...

See, Mr. Pendulum in his old jalopy of a Volvo had gridded in the front again. For the three previous sessions, no one but the fastest of our group can get by this guy because his tail is constantly hanging out at a 45-degree angle from the front driven tires... You ever see those youtube videos where people put lunch trays under their rear tires and try to drift a FWD car? This guy's car is exactly like that... I eventually get stuck behind this guy every session and there's nothing I can do to get around for fear he'll swing that back end out and wack it right into one of my damn doors...

So with him out there way in the front of the pack, holding up traffic, Mr 40 and I caught up to the slowest of the group pretty quick. I'm using him as a blocker as people see him and point him right by. It's not much but it's causing him to slow enough that I can pretty well keep up. Still though, he seems to make it a point to remind me on every decently long straightaway that he and that beautiful machine are perfectly capable of walking away any time he so desires (and my god is it awesome to watch! These are the best front row seats I've ever had!!!)

We clear the slowest of the cars, and are now driving in a pocket of nothing where the fast cars used to be. They must have made it past that Volvo way up there and that's created half a lap of free space, of which we take full advantage!

He's on it again and you can just tell he's struggling to find grip on that racing line (it's twitchy!). I think I'm far enough back that I'm not "pushing" him, but god is it hard to stay back here when that damn car is just so damned GLORIOUS!!! I want to be right in there, wheel to wheel. I want to try to pass and I want him to block me at every attempt. I want to dice it up at 9000rpms! I dont ever want this to end!!!

But alas, we're catching up to traffic again, this time a 100hp Fiat Panda. This is a guy I've seen spin no less than three times today... He points the GT40 by, but pulls back on my line and makes me work to get around him. Not today, Panda. I may have let you lead in previous sessions, but that was just me being nice. That's a GT40 up there and I'm not letting you have it.

Panda-man slides outside in a long-fast left hander, I think he had hopes and dreams of keeping up too. Ha! No problem, while he slides wide I take the inside line and slip by like it was my job. (zero-torque for the win!)

Back on the 40's tail we're in one of the faster portions of the twisty back field. I'm about a car-length and a half behind and still on the gas for all its worth when I suddenly saw smoke start out the bottom of all three of his visible tires...

(Insert obligatory slow motion "oooooooh, fuuuuuuuuuuuuudge...." here)

It's a fast right hander before a much slower tight right hander, and he was tight to the inside near the apex. His tail is stepping out and I start on the brakes. I steer wide left, nearly off the track and he's shooting to the inside and it's all I can do to pray he doesnt hit that wall...

And then it happens. Something catches, and that 40 rotates and is now shooting backwards across the track. Right where I'm still trying to shed speed! :eek:

I'm already off the track, and ABS is pumping for all it's worth, but I don't think there's anything slicker on tires than wet grass. I'm not slowing at all, and the car aint steering either. I am headed straight for him. That back left corner of that beautiful car is going to make contact with my paint chipped front bumper, and it is going to make contact VERY soon...

The world slowed to a crawl, and it looked like it must have just been millimeters between us... I made the split decision to give up completely on the brakes ever gaining enough purchase to do anything beneficial. I yank the wheel hard left, and lift completely off the slow pedal. The car hooks and shoots me straight into the gravel, just clear of the back end of that 40.

Thank god.

Nerves come down quick and I start the safety check. I'm safe. He's safe. Flags are out. Cars have all slowed. Nothing's smoking. Nothing's leaking. He's pointed in the right direction. Tire wall is way too far away. Tow truck is coming. I'll stay in the car.

That's when I remembered I had my phone locked in the center console!

I took off my gloves just in time to snap this one photo:


Goodbye and godspeed, you beautiful blue beast.

I met the guy in the paddock afterwards. His name is Peter and found me at my car and came over to apologize/thank me for not hitting him. "No no no! and no way I would ever hit a GT40", I say. "That there is my dream car, and I'm going to build a Tornado kit some day. ;)"

He speaks perfect dang English so we banter for a bit about what happened. About our points of view, about the track conditions... I was absolutely flattered when he called my car "Crazy" (in a good way). He said he went inside because he saw me coming and was going to let me by. I told him "No, sir. I would have never let that happen" and let him know how I was back there living out 100% of my dreams in real life.

It turns out his is a Tornado kit too! He invited me over to his garage to take a tour of his car, and I assured him I would most definitely be doing that. But time crunches suck and it was already 1:15PM. I had an appointment back at home at 2, and had to pick the kids up after that. Nothin to do now but toss the tool box in the trunk of my car, head home, and hope I get to see him out here next season.

Good Times

And Peter, if you're on here: Thank you. That was THE most fun I've had all year!

Ian Clark

" And Peter, if you're on here: Thank you. That was THE most fun I've had all year! "

Yes, it would be great to have the GT40 drivers recollection of the spin! Things happen very fast on the track, glad everyone came out OK:)

Bill, gentlemen and a professional writer as it seems. I was sorry to see you stuck in the gravel and happy that nothing bad happened. Whenever you are around I’d be glad you’d stop by. Or maybe next season on the track.


Ps: I just wanted get out of the traffic around and pushed it a bit too hard on that slippery part of the track. Gladly everyone’s ABS was working that day .. except mine
Bill, gentlemen and a professional writer as it seems. I was sorry to see you stuck in the gravel and happy that nothing bad happened. Whenever you are around I’d be glad you’d stop by. Or maybe next season on the track.


Ps: I just wanted get out of the traffic around and pushed it a bit too hard on that slippery part of the track. Gladly everyone’s ABS was working that day .. except mine

Hey, I was hoping you'd be on here! It's great to "see" you again!

The gravel was great. I've had a few offs on that track this year (one during my first session, right there where we passed that Panda) but that was my first time in a gravel trap and I can't say I've ever been happier to be there :).

You know, I cant help but feel the whole thing was my fault. See, right before we had our "off" I had just thought to myself "Man, how in the world is that driver managing that beast with no traction aids???" and I must have jinxed you. I'm terribly sorry about that.

It was definitely good times, and I cant wait to see you and your car out there next year.


There's a gold and black GT40 running in the Histo-Cup around this area. Do we know if he's on this board as well?