Suddenly WTF and fence

Update: My friend Ray summarized this incident in an email way better than I had. So I changed the title of this post to reflect it.
Some things just seem better expressed in German. Both my parents speak some German, and I grew up hearing a smattering of German phrases around the house. “Greif zu” when meals started, and “gute nacht” while being tucked into bed.
Anyway, a variety of unsavory German words seem most apt to describe my first trip down to VIR for the BMWCCA club race. Work had kept me pretty busy the week before the race; in my rush to depart, I left behind one of the large plastic bins that is usually a standard part of my track gear. Unfortunately, that bin contained some of the most basic tools and equipment I needed: my torque wrench, the deep-drive socket I need to torque my wheels and change my tires, extra motor oil, and the metal rod that holds my window net up to the cage. Chalk that one up to my own disorganization.
Fortunately, most of the things I forgot could be bought/borrowed locally; and thanks to a quick phone call back to the benevolent souls at VSR, a window net rod was dispatched overnight to the track.
Friday morning, Fred Ferguson kindly let me follow him around the track for the first few sessions to help me learn the line. What a track. VIR is a fantastic combination of fast sweepers, long straights, elevation changes and some tricky combinations that help distinguish the good drivers from the mediocre. My lap times dropped steadily during the day, and by the first race I started to post some semi-respectable times: 2:20 range, good for a 3rd place out of 5 in class (JS) and about 2.5 seconds off the fastest cars. I had a fun, clean battle with Charles Benoit in a slightly torquier 2.5l E30 M3, running in IS.
Saturday presented us with a wet, rainy track during the morning, and a fun time learning the track in the rain. In the 1pm race, I had my best start ever at a club race. I took the openings that presented themselves, and by the straight between the lower and upper esses, I had passed 5-6 cars.
Unfortunately, that straight is also where my weekend ended. I got a bit of a run on the car in front of me (Mike Gilbert in his beautiful new Spec E36), and gradually moved over to the left to take a look to the inside. I wasn’t able to pass — Mike’s car has a much better power-to-weight ratio than mine — but a little more than halfway down the straight, after had come all the way across the track, another driver hit me in the left rear about 8 inches in front of the rear bumper.
The impact had roughly the same effect as those pit maneuvers you see police do on the crazy car chase shows, and instantly sent me left, head first into the wall. I caromed backwards across the track, finally coming to a rest on the right side of the track (Video of the incident). I watched the rest of the race from the other side of the fence.

Given that I crashed, I consider myself extremely lucky for two reasons: the impact with the other car happened close enough to the edge of the track that my momentum was still mostly going forward when I hit the wall. Also, the next group of cars was about 200 yards behind me, giving them more than adequate time to react without collecting me as I came back across the track. No one was hurt at all, and I didn’t have so much as a sore neck.
After a brief attempt to get my car ready for the enduro, I packed to leave, and headed home early the next morning. Big thank yous to Mike Gilbert and Fred Ferguson for the tools and words of wisdom; Phil Sanssossio and Dan Fitzgerald for trying to help get my car ready for the enduro; and to David Hill for providing me the video of my incident.

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