Video: 370Z Nearly Spears GT3 RS At Sonoma

Warning: Justified profanity in the above footage.

No matter how safely one drives, they’ll inevitably find themselves in a few situations during their career that leaves them wiping the sweat from their brow and indulging in a little cursing. Racing cars are fallible—as are the people driving them. Unfortunately, money can put some people in a position to act carelessly around the skilled and considerate drivers alongside them, as we see when this recklessly driven 370Z nearly collides with a GT3 RS at Sonoma Raceway.

Jeffrey Cook has shown great talent and bravery behind the wheel of his Camaro ZL1 1LE—a car which he’s used to hunt down pricier and faster cars. One of those cars is a GT3 RS which belongs to his friend, Joe Kou, who was kind enough to hand Cook the keys for several semi-casual laps around Sonoma Raceway during an HPDE hosted by SpeedSF. This wasn’t Cook’s first time in the Porsche, but since it’s a very pricey piece of machinery, he drove somewhat sensibly. As it turned out, leaving a little on the table just saved him from a very costly collision with an impulsive driver in a race-only Nissan.

An Unsettling Start

As we can see from the beginning of the onboard, Cook has his hands full navigating around traffic. Cook first has to find his way around a TC 370Z which, according to Cook, had been scrubbing his tires and warming up his brakes on an outlap—during a full green track.

Fortunately, after getting a much cleaner run out of Turn 11, Cook could use the one strength his car had over the racing Nissan: the screaming 4.0-liter with more than 500 horsepower.

Once passed, the Nissan doesn’t exactly roll over. Roughly 200 pounds lighter and wearing racing slicks, the 370Z has the edge in the technical Turns 2 and 3. Though Cook stretches a decent lead by the time they’re approaching Turn 4 (0:38)—there’s easily 25 feet between the two when Cook applies the binders. It’s hard to understand how the man behind thought he had a chance at a pass. 

Braking too late and off the racing line cause the Z’s rear to snap, which Cook notices in his mirrors in the nick of time.

A Close Shave

Cook’s courtesy check in the mirrors saves him from a very sad and painful end his track day; he quickly steers away from the corner as he sees the Z attempting a dive bomb. The Z hurtles down the hill sideways, takes a trip through the grass, momentarily takes flight, and then settles down shamefully in the kitty litter. Cook makes the the appropriate hand gestures for someone whose car has just been peppered with rocks. Let’s hope Kou invested in a protective wrap.

Spraying stones and debris all over the Porsche is a crime in itself.

Cook’s furious reaction is completely justified, since most people come to casual track days to explore the limits of their car and not to risk a collision. Even those serious type preparing for a race know better than to risk a accident in this environment. Due to this inappropriate level of aggression, SpeedSF decided to suspend the offending driver and establish an even higher standard of safety. SpeedSF issued the following statement on the matter:

“Regarding the incident, we always speak directly with the driver of the car involved. We did so in this case, during the general driver’s meeting, the driver downloads, and individually with the specific driver before and after the incident. Our main concern is the safety of our participants, and fortunately, both drivers were unharmed in this incident.
As much as we’d like to be on top of all situations during our events, in addition to our monitoring, we rely on drivers to report any issues they witness on the race track. If they don’t speak up, things might get overlooked and as a result, could be difficult for us to enforce track behavior. As a result of this incident, we found an opportunity to grow, we will apply a new technology that our drivers can use to text message (named or anonymous) us their concerns, comments and issues right after their sessions. We will log all incoming messages, follow up and address any egregious acts. It’s an unfortunate situation that lead us here, but we’ve learned from this and will become better as a result.”

In an HPDE situation, that’s all the reassurance one could hope for. That, when combined with the ability tor recognize that reckless type that occasionally sneaks in, is enough to ensure a high level of safety. It always pays to remain cognizant of the cars around, to recognize erratic driving, and to give the aggressive types a wide berth. Cook did just that, narrowly avoided a painful crash, and made an example out of the driver in the Nissan. For all there was to lose, he came out decently; only suffering a mild spike in blood pressure.

 

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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