When a car exits a paved surface at high speed--whether on track or on the road--the driver is little more than a passenger, subject to the merciless laws of physics. This video of a MINI Challenge race car vaulting off another car, sliding on its roof then somersaulting through a gravel trap, over the wall, and into the crowd is a stunning illustration of that fact.

Amazingly no one was seriously injured in the accident, though the driver and spectators were surely terrified as the MINI hurtled through the air. The imagery summons memories of similar accidents at LeMans and NASCAR races that ended much worse. Luck played a major role for the spectators, but the fact that the driver was unhurt is certainly a testament to modern racing safety requirements and the structure of the MINI itself.

[YouTube]