But how much do you know about the safety of the surface you will be driving on?
|Photo:Jefferson County Sheriff's Office|
The picture tells the story, it does not take all that much speed for a tree to do that to a street car, which is why trees have absolutely no business sitting unprotected on the side of any racing surface. (at least one that is not rallying, which is why a real rally car is built from the cage out).
Summit Point is a complex of tracks in rural West Virginia. The main track is a favorite or club racers, it has very nice layout but the safety standards are mostly of 1950s vintage. There are substandard tire walls, no fences around the track allowing for four legged chicanes to suddenly appear and there are actually berms lining the sides of the track.
Hit one and the predictable outcome is either a launch into the trees or this:
People have complained about this track for years but they keep going back, mostly because alternatives are few. I'm sure this is a situation repeated around the world.
Online discussion about this latest incident predictably broke up into two camps: the "motorsport has to be dangerous and drivers know what they are getting into" group and the opposing camp.
The contention of the first group is that people should know the risks and make decisions based on that. But, let's get real, nobody checks track safety, certainly not the guy who signs up for his first ever discount track day after watching countless internet videos of professionals sliding supercars with impunity. Fact of the matter is, even if one wanted to, there is no rating system for tracks, a standard by which a track can be rated and available for drivers to base their decisions on.
Serious injury to your person or your car for free track time or for setting the fastest lap in a Track Day session might not be what you had in mind in your value/safety calculations. Given the choice, I would much rather be on a racing surface that allows you to make mistakes and get away with maybe just some flat spots and a red face.
A rating system would likely not be popular with track owners, safety is expensive and people's eagerness to close their eyes to glaring problems in order to get track time means they can get away with it.
Please discuss, I think ultimately it will come down to drivers voting with their money and a public shaming of track owners who don't want to invest in the safety of their customer base.