Yesterday's McLaren MP4-12C crash at a track day event at California's Auto Club Speedway was perhaps not the fault of the BRZ driver, as originally rumored, but caused by a "reckless" McLaren owner at the track with his buddy in a Ferrari 458 Italia. And that's according to multiple witnesses.
The car's owner says this isn't the case.
Auto Club Speedway was hosting the 86fest meet yesterday for owners of Toyobaru products but, like most track days, other vehicles were allowed in to play. Among those were a McLaren MP4-12C and a Ferrari 458.
John Visconti, the man behind those wild turbocharged BRZs, was on hand to help do R&D with the boosted Crawford Performance BRZ and witnessed the arrival of the pair.
"In the early morning the McLaren arrived with a Ferrari 458 hauling ass in a 25MPH zone through the Auto Club Speedway complex passing on the opposite lane cutting off Subaru of America's Puma Rallycross Team's big rig right before the tunnel. During this bone head move the McLaren came inches away from hitting the tunnel that runs under the track."
Later on in the day the Crawford Turbo BRZ was out on the track when the 458 allegedly "dive bombed the BRZ well into the braking zone to the point where he spun off the track and ended up back on track facing oncoming cars."
It was during the third lapping session when the accident happened. Quirt Crawford, who by all reports is a great driver, was out in the BRZ. After a warm up lap they began hot lapping when the McLaren struck.
Here's Visconti's description of what happened:
"The McLaren was out of line trying to over take on the inside of the apex. The McLaren lost control then made contact with the passenger side of the BRZ then spun out of control in front of the BRZ.
Clearly both super cars misjudged the power of the turbo BRZ, if they paid attention to their surroundings they would have seen the FMIC and Brembo GT front and rear big brake kit on the car — but I guess you would have had to be in front of the car to see it — right?"
Strike three and you're out of there with your $250,000 car. One Armik Aghakhani on Facebook defended the McLaren's driver saying it was Crawford's fault:
The owner is good friend of mine and he is an excellent driver, a Subaru RBZ clipped him from side and he hit the guard rail. Stop the negative comments.
He appears to be in the minority with this view.
Another witness describes the McLaren driver as "not experienced" and alleges he missed the morning driver's meeting, went to the wrong meeting for the first session, and then crashed the first time he was out. This witness, who asked to remain anonymous, also says that the McLaren and 458 were battling all day.
We've identified the McLaren driver as a man named Greg Kim, who used to own part of Gripforce, which is based in Southern California. This makes sense if you line it up with user Gripforce-McLaren at the McLarenLife forums.
The Ferrari 458 owner has been identified as Jay.
Kim, reached by text message, counters these claims (he had to talk via text message because he's at the hospital getting X-rays, although he says this is merely precautionary).
Me? Reckless? I don't know about others but I haven't seen any reckless driver driving a 250K car on the track. I have over 7 yrs experience and I have never pushed any of my cars more than 7/10. I'm a granpa kind of guy at track days. I'm a father of three and reckless driving on and off the track does not exist in my dictionary. This is the first accident I ever got into since start driving [sic] in 1987.
On those forums Kim also mentions road-tripping with a friend who owns a Ferrari 458. There's video of him driving what appears to be the same car above, which ends with this note:
UPDATE: Kim now says that it was "[Quirt Crawford]'s fault and he admitted too. He was sorry it happened and he fells bad about it" adding that "someone from event organizer did tell me this wasn't his first time hitting others on the track." We've reached out to Crawford for a confirmation of this.
UPDATE 2: We now have video, courtesy of a note in Kinja, of Kim apparently doing 140 MPH on a public highway in Mexico in his MP4. So much for not being reckless.
UPDATE 3: The driver appears to be Gregory Hakdoo Kim. Initially, he would only identify himself as "Greg with McLaren."
UPDATE 4: Quirt Crawford has responded via Facebook, indicating he didn't apologize and that he doesn't believe it's his fault:
All I wanted was for him to take responsibility for his mistake and say he was sorry.
Now he is saying that I said the accident was my fault? I guess he has a lot of money on the line...
The corner workers that watched it all happen placed all the blame on him for making a bone head move. I never moved off the racing line and got hit by a car that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kim's videos have been set to private but he's not responding to texts.
UPDATE 5: This photo shows the MP4 with a GoPro camera sticking out of it. We've asked for the video. If anyone else has video or info please let us know in the comments below.