September 25, 2014

That 136 mph crash at COTA, in first person.

Tim Bell/Facebook

Pay close attention at how cool Tim Bell stays in the 10 seconds between the time he first realizes he has a problem with the brakes and the impact.

The description in the video says the car hit at 136 mph and if Tim was not hurt it's thanks to the TecPro barriers installed at the Circuit of the Americas.  Notice how, despite the speed, there relatively little visible damage to the Nissan 370Z.

TecPro is a french company which has developed a system of foam filled plastic barriers joined by nylon straps that first originated in karting.  The barriers are more expensive than tires but require much less maintenance than a homologated tire wall where tires have to be bolted together and contained by as conveyor belt.   Tim will attest to their effectiveness.


  1. Interesting - he tapped the brake pedal like you'd always do on a straight, then pumped it again and still found nothing. Then kept it at full throttle until the braking marker....?

  2. It would have had to have been a catastrophic failure, this was right after a restart and the brakes seem to work up to that point in the lap.

  3. Tim Bell commented in this video 12 hours ago.
    "I had smelled the brake pads the turn before the crash, and wanted to make sure the brakes were there. The first couple felt weird so I pumped a couple more times and they felt solid, but unfortunately they were to hard went I went to the brakes. The pedal was stiff as a rock and didn't slow the car down very much. Looking at the data the rear circuit in the ABS didn't work at all the turn before, which is why I smelled the brakes. Normally when there is a brake issue the pedal goes soft, but I had never had a dead heard pedal that didn't move before. Then during the crash the data shows the front right brake come on at 200psi then the left brake at 200psi, then all 4 go off which is why I sailed off course. Luckily COTA has the high-impact safety walls and the impact wasn't a dead stop. Can't thank the safety workers enough!"

  4. Judging by the way it moved on impact, it was just luck


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