It’s usually wise to give the more aggressive drivers a wide berth and only pass when a counterattack is nigh impossible. Trying to muscle past a driver whose judgment is clouded by the red mist is tricky, since they often put everyone around them at risk. Never has this been clearer than in this tense exchange between a carefully driven BMW PRO3 and a Mazda RX-7 that, try as it might, can’t quite stay on the circuit.
Allowing More Agility
Like Spec E30’s, the PRO3 formula is quite strict. However, the suspension is entirely open, so drivers can outfit their ’87-’91 325i with top-shelf JRi coilovers if they so choose. A few other changes for a little more oomph are allowed, but getting the slop out of the suspension is the main difference between the categories. A bit more urgency from the front end helps this driver avoid a wildly driven RX-7 when it chops across on him.
During this ICSCC race, a skilled shoe by the handle, yardofhair, has to deal with the type of driver we all dread. Aggressive and lacking some situational awareness, the man in the Mazda moves across and squeezes Mr. Hair as they proceed onto the front straight. Though this is a fair but forceful move, the lack of consideration gets Mr. Hair to take evasive action, shift, then flip the bird. Some might consider this reaction harsh, but it’s totally justified for what’s about to happen.
Then somehow, the RX-7’s rear breaks sideways leading onto the front straight (0:21), which pushes it into taking a trip through the dirt. Suddenly, this battle looks more like a scene from Dukes of Hazzard than a relaxed club race. As the RX-7’s driver struggles to keep his car straight, yardofhair does whatever is in his abilities to evade the RX-7 and the cars approaching behind. Being such a fast section, his options are limited, and he has to decide immediately.
He decides to keep his foot in it and flee from the spinning Mazda, which is wise considering the cars approaching quickly from behind. It would be no place to brake heavily. By that time, the RX-7 is rotating and pelting Mr. Hair’s windshield with rocks (0:25). In addition to ruining his glass, he nearly punts our man into those daunting walls lining the front straight.
After Mr. Hair begins spinning towards those terrifying walls, he handles the situation with the sort of composure many of us aspire to have. As the world rotates around him, he countersteers perfectly, puts two feet in, and manages to get the car pointed the right direction once again. As the backmarkers come flying past, he pulls into the pit entrance and shows us how to navigate such a hazardous situation coolly, efficiently, and safely.
Considering the speeds, the proximity of the walls, and the gaggle of cars approaching in Fourth gear, this tap could’ve been a horrendous accident. But, a cool head allows him to leave the track with only a minor dent, some flat-spotted tires, and an accelerated heart rate. Thank goodness he chose to leave his all-white racing suit at home that day.