What Happens When You Get Things Wrong On A Racetrack In An Audi RS4

Let me put it this way — you really, really don't want to put two wheels off at Turn 9 at Big Willow.

What you're seeing is how a small mistake on a race track (Willow Springs in this case) can result in some very big consequences.

Here's how the driver describes his own off, which left his V8 Audi looking more like a crumpled tin can with four rings on the front.

So, before the internet tells me how much I did wrong - let me tell you that I know. I've been tracking for eight years, have been to this track numerous times in a number of cars and know T9 is a very late apex, decreasing radius turn.

In this case, I turned in too early and too sharply. It was early in the day and early in the session, so I wasn't up to full speed and felt I had enough track to recover. The car tracked out and I maintained the steering angle I normally would for track out, pointing me down the track toward the right side to set up for T1.

Though, in this case, the angle was too steep and the grip too low, so the car tracked out a foot too wide. I know the protocol is to just go straight off with two feet in, and in hindsight I should have done that. However, in the moment, it wasn't apparent the car was going to go wide until the very last instant, leaving me no chance.

While I don't think I over-corrected, the steering wheel was definitely turned to the right some degree to get the nose pointed back down the straight. Once the left side dropped, the car shot back across the track and I tried to get the car to go off straight, but it was too late and there was no grip for steering or braking inputs to have any effect.

I had a chance to save it mid-corner, too. I had lifted mid-corner to get the car tucked back in toward the apex, but I got on the throttle too quickly and too aggressively, also forcing the car to push wider on exit. Had I laid off the throttle longer, or even tapped the brakes to help with front-end grip, and got the car pointing down the track before getting on throttle, I could have saved the corner — and the car — that way too.

Yes, I made an error. It's not my first and it won't be my last. In the grand scheme, dropping two off isn't an egregious mistake, but here at Willow Springs in turn 9, it's one with grave consequences.

Thanks for watching. Be careful out there! Hope you can learn from this mistake as I have.


Every time you get on a racetrack, be prepared to walk away without your car.

Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


Possible dumb question: does standard car insurance cover something like this?