It takes guts to take your car to the track. Hard-earned money, pride, all sorts of unexpected health bills, and other troubling thoughts race through the initiate’s worried mind, but 9 times out of 10, nothing nasty happens. Track days are carefully monitored and nobody wants a lawsuit on their hands, so needless danger is almost always avoided. However, once exuberance clouds judgement and the amateur gets a little too big for their britches, it’s possible to park the Lotus in the leaves.
First things first—let’s give this man kudos for a few things. Not only did he take a Lotus Elise to his first track day, but he’s also able to speak Dutch fluently. Gutsy and educated—so, presumably, he’ll keep everything under control, right? Unfortunately, as if often the case, the greener drivers bite off more than they can chew once the adrenaline sets in and the red mist descends upon them.
As The Gentleman discovered, it’s easy to get carried away by the sounds, the feelings, and the thrills of passing faster machinery on the track. He makes his way past a TVR, a Porsche 996, and after a couple of well-caught slides, he might feel like Michael Schumacher. However, those slides are all small, and presumably, he’s not that experienced in pushing the uppermost limits of grip.
Three-quarters of the way through the video, it’s obvious his tires are beginning to give up; the Elise is sliding more and more at both ends. As he tries to keep the car on-line through the quick left-right chicane leading onto Zolder’s front straight, the car goes from strong understeer to snap oversteer, and unfortunately, he doesn’t know when to stop fighting the car.
The feelings the first track day offers are overwhelming; scary and ecstatic at the same time, but keeping the feelings under control is crucial to keep a level head. For this reason, I like to try and keep my drivers from getting too excited, because feeling like a hero without a hero’s ability isn’t a good way to go driving. Fortunately, the hit wasn’t too bad, but it might’ve put a dent in his ego.