Let us preface this by saying we’re not here to assign blame or point fingers. Instead, we offer up this video as evidence that things go from good to bad very quickly in amateur open wheel racing.
As Autoweek relates, Doug Peterson, the driver of the Formula Mazda in the video, brought an all-new car to run at last weekend’s SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Peterson, an accomplished SCCA competitor who’s currently sixth in the national Formula Mazda standings, made a bold move to pass when the green flag dropped. It looked like the move would pay dividends, but then things went bad. Quickly.
The onboard camera view is perhaps the best we’ve seen, as it gives a first person, high-definition perspective of the dangers of banging wheels in an open wheel race car. Sometimes, as with Dan Wheldon’s crash at last year’s IndyCar season-ender in Las Vegas, the results are tragic.
While the same thing can happen to race cars without exposed wheels (as evidenced by Anthony Davidson's massive shunt at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans), the likelihood of launching a car is lessened by the enclosed wheels, if only because it's more difficult for one car to ride up over another when contact is made.
Fortunately, all drivers involved here escaped injury, and race cars are easy enough to rebuild as long as your bank account is big enough. We wish Doug Peterson better luck for the rest of the 2012 season.