October 12, 2009

Red Mist

We had a fairly heated email exchange among us about the Bergmeister/Magnuson incident on the last lap of the ALMS Laguna Seca race. We thought we'd put it out there for comment without adding our own for now. Let's take it to the comment section!

More views after the jump and the, in my opinion, crucial precedent.


  1. I duno I want to see the in-car from both cars (if they are available). BUT I think it was a fair fight, both cars took shots at each other a different stages of the last lap. You really can't pin wreckless driving on either of them. It's either on both or on neither

  2. I cheered when Magnuson was put into the wall. It looked to me like good hard racing up until the last turn. Magnuson bumping Bergmeister in the last corner seemed like a cheap shot to me, a desperate attempt to get by.

    Then on the main straightaway, Bergmeister protects his line (not blocking), and Magnuson is the one that turns himself into the wall. If you look at the video again, there is a certain point at which Bergmeister stops moving left and then holds his line. Then you see him slightly move right because Magnuson is bashing him from the left and thus crashing himself out.

    I'm glad Bergmeister got the win, and I would've done the same thing to Magnuson if I were in the same position.

    That's my interpretation of the incident. What's yours?

  3. I disagree. It looks pretty clear the Flying Lizard car put the 'vette into the wall. That's the last corner of the race, and there's NO need to take a line that far inside, especially when there's something alongside.

    At the very least Flying Lizard should be stripped of the win and fined.

  4. yea im taking team bergmeister in this one. that was a really cheap shot by magnussen to dive in and loosen him up like that.

  5. the last 15 minutes had some of the best racing i've seen in some time. i was on the edge of my seat, especially over the GP2 battle.

    one of my friends was ADAMANT that bergmeister put him into the wall, but i really think it's impossible to tell. the view from the back of the straight has far too much dust to be able to tell, and the finish line camera comes in too late to see what happens.

    i call it a racing accident.

  6. Mate,

    Per norm, spot on. You got the reference from Sebring and given it was Burgmeister on the losing end I suspect he remembered it well. If its perfectly acceptable for the Mika to pretend he's Dale at Bristol... should be just fine for Jorg to defend himself this time when Jan does the same.

    Its not like they DQ'd the Ferrari for the "chrome horn" (plus the fender and trying to drive him off the track) then.


  7. Thanks for posting, missed the race. From the video it didn't appear that Bergmeister braked checked him at turn 11 Magnussen's bump looked obvious.
    You're allowed a single change of direction in the rules right?
    This could go either way split down the middle between Porsche and Vette guys.
    Looked like a Super Cup race or WTCC to me. Props to Flying Lizard.

  8. My support is to Flying Lizard on this one.

    Punting is a way to initiate a pass, sure... but most rulebooks I've seen give punters drive-thru penalties. Had the Vette won, 25 seconds would likely have been added to his classified finishing time.

    This is disregarding the sketchy driving of the #3 elsewhere during the race.



  9. The first point of contact was caused by Burgmeister oversteering out of the turn into a nearly level Magnussen. Then Magnussen was brake checked into the last corner by Burgmeister to allow him to get a reaction jump to the line. That failed so Burgmeister drove him into the wall.

    Seriously some of the most dangerous driving I've ever seen. Burgmeister should be disqualified at the very least.

  10. I'm sorry but that's a black flag for Burgermeister, Magnussen clearly had the faster car in the last two laps

  11. ALMS has a precedent to not punish aggressive (sometimes overtly) driving near the end, it is a pretty effective way to attract viewers. From a driver's point of view, this means pushing the envelope and doing what it takes since its wild west out there. And as they, deserve's got nothin' to do with it. I seriously doubt this will stop unless someone gets seriously hurt, usually a reason for "periods of reflection" blah blah in the motorsports world.

  12. Let's deconstruct some arguments:

    "The first point of contact was caused by Burgmeister oversteering out of the turn into a nearly level Magnussen."

    Prove this was intentional by Bergmeister and this fallacy of righteousness might have a leg to stand on.

    "Then Magnussen was brake checked into the last corner by Burgmeister to allow him to get a reaction jump to the line."

    Again, prove this first before stating it as fact. A comparison onboard video of Magnussen thru the final corner a few laps prior vs. an onboard of the final lap is necessary to prove if either Magnussen drove into Bergmeister, or if Bergmeister brake-checked.

    "That failed so Burgmeister drove him into the wall."

    F'sake, prove it again. Looked like he left a car width to me. As the defending car he is allowed one direction of pass blocking. He used it aggressively. Neither were going to give up.


    "I'm sorry but that's a black flag for Burgermeister, Magnussen clearly had the faster car in the last two laps"

    ..... listen to you. Would you yield if you were leading your class on the final lap? Uh huh, sure you would.

    There is a lot of red mist among Axis readers, that's for sure. Try to keep an objective perspective, it's the adult way!



  13. Thank You, Master Debater.

  14. IMO It started going all wrong when Magnussen passed Bergmeister using pit out. Granted... I don't follow ALMS too closely or know all of the rules but in any track event I've watched or been part of that move would have resulted in a penalty/black flag for the same reason drivers are required to stay inside the blend line leaving the pits. Having said that, what followed made for good TV and I ended up standing in front of it to watch the finish. I'm happy that the Lizards won but wish the Corvette didn't get wadded as a result.

  15. My Opinion:
    The incident in turn 1/2 was a "racing incident". Magnussen tried to make an outside pass stick, forcing Burgmeister to tighten his line to leave "racing room". The p-car's rear end couldn't stick, and it slid out to tap Magnussen.

    In the last corner, Magnussen ran into the back of Burgmeister in a way that certainly looked deliberate. If it was in fact deliberate, his most likely motive was to spin Bergmeister out because he couldn't complete a clean pass to take the win. A very dirty move.

    I'd say it's very likely Bergmeister felt that Magnussen had just tried to deliberately 'punt' him out of the race. As a NASA and SCCA road racer (not to mention LeMons) I'd be rightly pissed if someone tried to punt me. I'd come down on that driver pretty d*** hard too, but Bergmeister had to know he was forcing Magnussen to either drop-back or rub the wall.

    Did Bergmeister stay within the letter of the rules by defending only to one side, I'd have to say yes. Did he know he was going to cause the Corvette to trade paint with the wall? Probably. Did Magnussen earn that with his alledged 'punt' attempt? I think it could be argued that way.

    Was it two feirce competitors pushing the limits of "good form" for the sake of a championship? I think that has to be the final conclusion. Any of the incidents could have gone badly for either (or both) drivers. They fought to the wire and this time Magnussen came up short in the luck department.

  16. Let's deconstruct the deconstruction.

    Try using the actual Sporting Regulations, rather than a mythical interpretation, “…the defending car is allowed one direction of pass blocking…”

    BTW, Take a pick of which regulation the Porsche driver violated:

    a) during a race, a car alone on the track may use the full width of the said track. However, as soon as it is caught up on a straight by a car which is either temporarily or constantly faster, the driver shall give the other vehicle the right of way by pulling over to one side in order to allow for passing on the other side.

    d) any obstructive manoeuvre carried out by one or several drivers, either having common interests or not, is prohibited. The persistent driving abreast of several vehicles, as well as fan-shaped arrangement, is authorised only if there is not another car trying to overtake. Otherwise the blue flag will be waved.

    e) the penalty inflicted for ignoring the blue flag will also be applied to the drivers who obstruct part of the track and shall be more severe in the case of systematic obstruction, thus ranging from a fine to the exclusion from the race. The same10 31.12.2002 penalty shall be applied to drivers who swing from one side of the track to the other in order to prevent other competitors from overtaking.

  17. Apparently everyone crying about the Vette punting the Porsche didn't see T1 just 1:35 seconds before that when the the Vette had the balls to go to the outside to make the pass but was pushed into the dirt by the Porsche when they were side by side?\

    IMO they were even Stevens after the final corner and the race should have went to the Vette if he didnt spin. Now weather or not he got spun was really hard to tell, but the Porsche didnt leave him many options by driving him all the way into the wall and continued to slap into him.

  18. lol...if you are really confused about what happened in the final corner of the race then you obviously have no business watching a race like this...the better driver won, period, the bully tasted the wall...period.

  19. The Corvette was clearly the faster car during the last ten minutes, as shown by his pulling away from Bergmeister after the illegal-pit-out pass. Jan raced a very clean race, even pointed out by the announcers (i know, never trust an announcer), he did not even once dive bomb Bergmeister. In order to spin the Porsche or punt him off, a dive bomb on the last turn (or any of the 11 turns in the preceding 5 laps) would have been more effective. As for the bump into T11, no it wasnt the right thing to do, and no one can ever know whether or not there was a brake check. As for the move to the left by Berg., definitely not right. Yes you are allowed one move to either direction in order to block, but to move over on an overtaking car? There was an overlap at that point, imagine going into a corner and getting turned in on at the apex, in this case, there wasnt an apex just a wall. Not sure i would call the T11 Front-to-Rear contact anything more than racing incident, as there is no proof. On the other hand, Bergmeister's move on the straight surely goes into the avoidable contact category, which would normally warrant a black flag. Sorry for the long winded answer!

  20. The people quoting the rules should note that the stewards did nothing when Bergmeister got the short end at Sebring in 07, why should anything happen this time? Because Magnussen pushed it until he crashed? Give me a break.


  21. I watched the video over and over again during lunch today. I’m now not certain of much. I searched for information and tried to find stuff that wasn’t jaded to one side or the other by people’s koolaid. Of course the Corvette forums are going to search for any possible way to blame Joerg. And of course Carlos is going to side with all things Porsche. I’m trying to remain partial, but I do recognize that as partial as I want to be, I feel a bit of a prejudice, not really because of the Porsche, but more because I hate big bad bullies and I think that Jan had been bullying Joerg for those final laps.

    That being said, the most compelling argument to me was the fact that both drivers didn’t blame each other at all. They both seem to say things got heated and shit happened, but neither has hard feelings about it towards the other (at least publically). In the modern era where everyone is always looking to blame someone else, the fact that there was no blame here says to me that a) they both know that what they did may have blurred the line of sportsman like racing and b) its just part of the game. Just like during the end of the race, where it was a - if you bully me, I’ll bully you situation, in the aftermath it’s a - if you won’t protest me, I won’t protest you situation.

    My interpretation of that final turn and straightaway is that Jan *probably* tried to punt Joerg (unsuccessfully) and then Joerg *probably* tried to hold Jan behind him using the wall (thinking to himself, I’m not letting this bully prick get away with this, and I’m not losing a race like this… again…). The Corvette had such a jump on the Porsche down that front straight that before it started to spin, it was actually in front. The front axel of the Porsche was almost in line with the rear axel of the Corvette and a successful Police spin maneuver occurred (which is why the Corvette spun in front of the Porsche). Both drivers probably crossed the “proper conduct” line, but in a series where past precedence showed that it’s OK to cross the line at the end of a race, they did what they had to do.

    Since magical Nelson Piquet like data is not available as evidence here, there is no way to know for sure what happened… :)

  22. Let me counterpoint that, for argument's sake: it was in neither one's interest to protest as they were essentially both in the wrong (in different degrees). Either of them kicking up dirt would have brought more scrutiny on the situation, as it is they just got a slap on the wrist from IMSA. This is all good for entertainment right up to the point where it isn't anymore, if you know what I mean.

  23. Magnussen was emulating pro NASA driver Greg Soebelski ... In all seriousness, my vote is hard racing by both sides until they cleared T11, then Bergmeister stepped over the line by stuffing Magnussen into the wall. BTW that police move is called the "Pit Manuever", I used to watch Cops alot - Fukes

  24. That's a nasty accident and people should be happy that nobody got hurt. That's except the officials who should be mad and handing penalties to both drivers. The bump at the last turn is not any better (or classier) than going across the track and crashing your opponent into the wall.

    I cannot really see if the accident itself was caused by Magnusen bouncing off the wall or by him driving into Bergmeister. Both are possible...

    I agree with Stee that silence by the parties after the race is effectively the most compelling argument for acceptance of guilt.

  25. Good hard last lap battle. If they'd got through with just rubbing it would have been great banter between drivers post race. But sometimes physics do annoying things and outcomes exceed intention.

    Yup, am sure both wish it had finished differently.

  26. So, for those that said Bergmeister is to blame, then what would you have done fater being punted coming out of the last Turn?
    Yes, I'm sure would have let Magnussen go ahead to win the race.. Right..? and then what? Expected to be given the win by the "rulebook"
    Not me...
    Also, it is not clear, the Vette spin was caused by a the #45 crunching him into the wall. Seems that he lost control on his own first.
    I agree with the assessment that both drivers are guilty of escalating the fight beyond the gray boundaries of the rules, but in a situation mostly initiated by some really nasty bully driving by Magnussen



  27. Look what was found in the Vette forums:


    "Hi Guys,

    First let me say that Jan is the only driver on the Chevy team that came to congratulate us last race for out qualifying the Factory team. He is a class act.

    He is also one tough driver .

    First incident in pit out lane: the rule is there because there are always cars coming out of the pits and they have to travel around past turn 2 to enter the track. So driving 4 wheels into that lane is just asking for trouble. If there was a car coming out of the pits then, it would have been really bad for them.

    Let me also say that in practice (yes practice) there was only one car that constantly hit us (yes hit us) or shoved our corvette into the dirt and they were the Corvette factory cars. Even when we were waiving them by, they would brush us or squeeze us. even at Atlanta, on the long straight as we were passing them they squeezed our driver (on video) against the grass for some reason.
    I can only assume that the drivers were "Instructed" to intimidate us so we might be off our game and not repeat the Atlanta qualifying scenario.

    No other cars on the track do that. Not to us and not to the others. Just the factory Corvette team. (must be the foreigners)

    At any rate, at Laguna, which is Government owned, they did not want to move the inside pit wall toward the paddock to widen the exit of the pits to make room for the flagger's stand at start finish. So they pushed the pit wall toward the track side. so the pit wall curves toward the track side. If you look at the video, you will see that if you run within inches of the pit wall and stay totally straight on your steering, you WILL hit the part of the wall that is pushed toward the track side.

    This is a common crash at Laguna. It would not require the 45 car to do anything for this crash to happen.

    If you look at the video, you will see that Jan sees the wall coming and he turns to the right to avoid the wall. Bergmeister just provided the pivot that turned the Corvette to the right.
    The Porsche then touches his brakes to avoid the Corvette as it crosses in front of the 45 car. The porsche just got out of the way and let the Corvette continue across the track and unfortunately into the wall. Thankfully Jan was ok because the hit was not a dead straight hit but rather a glancing blow to the wall.

    Now to turn 11, the last turn. Jan is a hard racer. He saw that he was not going to be able to pass him cleanly so he released his brakes and actually accelerated into the Porsche with the intention of spinning him.

    The contact only wiggled the Porsche enough to cause a drag race against the pit wall. "A wall that has a curve in it that protrudes toward the track side.

    Once they were an inch away from the wall and an inch away from each other, there was no other outcome that could be had without the Corvette or Porsche giving up and lifting. And this was a high contact sport for some laps.
    And to ask the porsche to lift and hand over the just after the Porsche got tagged intentionally and cleaqrly smashed in the rear by Jan, would be asking a racer too much.

    So that is the way I see it. The Corvette drivers are getting a reputation as the "dirty" drivers in the series. When Johnny O pushed the Porsche into the gravel earlier, it was considered a good thing by the team. "Rah rah rah, good job" is what came over their radio.

    So there you have it. You reap what you sow and if you rough drive too much, this kind of thing WILl happen more often.

    Oh, and during the race, we lost a few laps for a couple of reasons, and bad calls on our part but while we were on track, our #28 car was hit in the door by the #3 car really hard in turn 9, while trying to let them by. and again in turn 2, they drove across my right front splitter and bumper. Weird!


    Lou Gigliotti

  28. Unacceptable driving from Bergmeister and i cannot understand why there even is a debate about it! Driving your opponent to the wall is not justified no matter what and Bergmeister should definitely be penalised!

  29. this is just evolving into a Porsche vs Corvette thing rather than a rational discussion. Magnusson gets a pass for trying to win by nurfing the Porsche on the last corner?.....

    And it's true, as mentioned above that if you look at the videos on YT, the two cars were shoulder to shoulder pushing and at a certain point Magnussen loses control (Bergmeister hits brakes). So Bergmeister is "guilty" of getting into it with Magnusson but not of spinning him.

  30. I don't think is a Vette vs Porsche thing. The fact is that Magnussen and the Factory team had earn a Bully reputation throughout the season and that can play out against them in some circumstances

  31. Interesting about the pit wall coming out into the track. I've gone along for some laps at Laguna, and I never noticed it. I think that's definitely a factor that's worth consideration.

    I'm still qualifying this as a "racing accident," as I still haven't seen any camera angle that cleary shows exactly what happened down the straight. All I can say is that whatever happened for all of the last three or so laps, it sure was exciting, and isn't that why we watch racing?

  32. I think they're both at fault. The Vette's bump looked obvious as a move to unsettle the Porsche. As a result, the Porsche looked like it went into full defense and wasn't trying to drive the Vette into the wall but ultimately did. Both drivers should be penalized for that accident.

  33. >
    the Porsche looked like it went into full defense and wasn't trying to drive the Vette into the wall...

    Interesting defense, "honest judge, I wasn't trying to kill the victim."

  34. When I said push them into the wall, yes he was aggressively blocking but I don't think he meant for him to hit the wall - probably get him onto the rumble strips/sand and have him back off. Obviously, neither backed off and the Porsche's tactics went too far - but I don't think he tried to cause a shunt.

  35. Why the hell are people saying Magnussen shunted the back of Bergmeisters car in the final turn ? It's obvious that he was brake checked. Compare the pedestrian speed to the previous lap. Bergmeister was oversteering everywhere, his tires were cooked. He knew Magnussen would have much better traction coming out of the final turn to beat him to the line so he brake checked him. Oldest trick in the book.

  36. Bergmeister pushes Magnussen into the dirt after T2 but Magnussen should have slowed to avoid it.
    Total brake-check by Bergmeister at T11, you can see the Porsche front drop and the back end rise before the Corvette nose dips and hits him. Then Magnussen gets the inside line but Bergmeister angles him right to the wall rather than give up the lead to the quicker Magnussen.
    It seems the stewards want this kind of action at the end though. I worry about driver safety when it's 'ok' to spin another racer into the wall that hard.

  37. Dunno if I can post links but it has all been hashed out in the corvette forums.


    This thread even has photos from the stands of the final run down the straight. The corvette was ahead but since the wall turns in, he had to turn into Berg (which was just driving in a straight line - with a corvette size space between him and the wall). i.e. corvette spun on its own but Berg only left him 2 choices, 1) spin or 2) brake *hard* and finish second.

    I still think that using the contact in T11 as the reason for running the vette into the pit wall is very weak, considering Berg brake checked the vette in the first place.

  38. Despite the reaction to the rear ending in the last corner, if anyone on here REALLY believes that the Porsche 'was just racing' when he could have easily kept straight, is either blind, or bias.

    That race should have had the Corvette in P1...but red mist took over, and Flying Lizard got a cheap win.

  39. Honestly, It looks to me that Bergmeister forced him towards the wall since Magnussen got him exiting the corner. Bergmeister just resorted to dirty tactics and forced him towards the wall as a last attempt to keep from losing the race. Bergmeister's car got a slight punt there and got a little loose but not enough to cause a spin or for him to go into the gravel, so he really didn't have to do that.


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