• Oct 24th 2007 at 12:38PM
  • 42

Over two years ago a crash involving a Porsche Carrera GT during a Ferrari Owner's Club track day killed two event participants when they hit the wall at over 100 mph while trying to avoid a Ferrari merging onto the front straightaway. The driver and Carrera GT owner was Ben Keaton, an avid automotive enthusiast who regularly shared his wisdom on the website 6SpeedOnline.com. The car's passenger was Corey Rudl, a prospective Carrera GT buyer who wanted to take a ride. The tragic loss of these two lives brought out a great debate in the safety of California Speedway's tight infield road course, the responsibility of the event organizers, and the design of the Porsche Carrera GT itself.

While the track event participates signed waivers noting that they were aware of the inherent dangers associated with driving at high speeds on a closed course, those waivers were dependent on who was found to be negligent in the event of an incident. Tracy Rudl, the wife of passenger Corey Rudl, filed a lawsuit claiming gross negligence by many parties associated with the track event. She recently received a settlement of approximately $4.5 million. The contributing parties to the settlement fund were 2% from the merging Ferrari driver, 8% from Porsche, 41% from California Speedway and Ferrari Owner's Club and finally 49% from the Carrera GT driver's estate.

[Source: Sports Car Market Magazine]

Stories such as this one can greatly divide opinion. On one hand, two guys lost their lives voluntarily participating in a dangerous event. On the other hand, the extent of the damage could have been reduced, if not completely avoided, by greater thought and care on the part of the race track and event organizers in the areas of visibility and pit-in/pit-out coordination. Then there's the debate about how safe the Porsche Carrera GT is to drive at high speeds. Hopefully the result of this lawsuit will not scare off other event organizers due to liability, but merely cause them to put more thought into eliminating potential safety issues.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Money is not going to bring her husband back. It really annoys me when people sue everyone and everything they possibly can. She is now making money off of her husbands death. Jeez...
      • 7 Years Ago
      By going on a race track in a high performance car you always accept the risks of being seriously injured or killed. Period.

      The passenger was voluntarily aboard the vehicle and knew (or should have known) the risks involved. I doubt that he was telling the driver to slow down. You can never know the level of skill a driver has unless you are in the car with that person.

      Also, I can't see how Porsche can be held negligent in a case like this. They build a car that goes like stink. That is it's sole purpose. The people that buy them do not expect to be able to survive a 100MPH+ crash, and if they do I suggest they wake up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      her husband was making 7.5 million $ per year. I'm sure she got at least 50% of the inheritance, so she should've had enough money. there was no reason for her to go and sue, especially not the family of the man who gave her husband a ride.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Most likely the widow wasn't the one who brought the legal action; it was probably on her behalf by the insurance companies. I doubt life insurance was going to pay out on Rudl's death. The GT owner's auto insurance wasn't going to pay up since it was a track event.

      I'm certain that left Tracy Rudl, judging by her husband being an interested buyer of a GT, with some insurmountable bills that her husband left behind.

      I don't agree with lawsuits, but in this case I'm sure there was a practical application behind it. It's just unfortunate that the track, Porsche or the Ferrari club got assigned negligence. Worst of all the driver of the Ferrari! The collision was solely the fault of the unskilled GT driver.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Insulting. If you see an accident on the street and someone dies, is it their fault? Someone can get the short of end of a stick in an accident and not be at fault. Not all accidents are avoidable, either.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's horrible that two people lost their lives, but the tradgety didn't stop there.

      First off, the responsible party should have been the driver of the Carrera. No matter what the track setup, no matter who let the Ferrari out on track too early, no matter how slow the Ferrari was going, a real track driver knows the course.

      He should have known that slow traffic could have been entering the track. Most tracks I have been on have the entrance at the end of a straight, even though there is a blend line, I always lift and watch the guy coming onto the track, it's my responsibility to make sure that I can get around them safely. What's the punishment if I slowed too much (especially on a track day)? I guess I have to pass on the next allowable section of the track (if there are passing rules).

      If it's a blind area, just slow down and watch. What if they guy entering the track stalled? What if someone wrecked there a second before and the yellow wasn't out yet or the flag station wasn't manned?

      More than likely safety takes a back seat to ego when your talking about a guy showing off his ultra expensive toy.

      That being said, I never climb into the passenger seat of a guy I don't know very well and if I do, I assume responsibilty for the outcome of their mistakes. No one forced the passenger into the seat and his wife doesn't deserve a dime from anyone, especially Porsche who made a car that passed FMVSS and should have no other responsibility.

      Our ridiculous legal system will, quite possibly be the downfall of American society.
      • 7 Years Ago
      because a mechanics can't control a oversteer, doesn't mean the car is defective. I would doubt the ability of the mechanics since there is nothing wrong with the car and he insists there is something wrong because it oversteers. Oversteer does not equal BAD... Just inability of a driver to control it. In the end, there is nothing wrong with the car.

      On the second note, there is no need for Porsche to provide PSM on the GT anyway. It is on the race track. How many people actually keep their stability control "ON" during a track day? I am not saying there is NONE. Just not many people. If you are an exception to this, OK..

      I am a racer and casual driving school instructor. I would hesitate to give anyone a ride from now on. dead person don't tell stories. Doesn't matter how good of a driver I am. If I get in trouble at the track and died, other people would definitely purport me as a BAD, uncontrollable driver for the plaintiff's benefit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That PROspective, not PERspective.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As both a plaintiff's lawyer and racer, I gotta say this sucks, we can all watch track day prices skyrocket now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Porsche won't end production because someone died hitting a wall at 100mph. I'm sure the car is safe and Porsche just settled to avoid a nasty lawsuit.

        Porsche has always said there would be a limited run of Carrera GTs.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Here is what the skank looks like:


        He made his money selling get rich quick schemes to invalids, and she, with this settlement, she has gone on to make money by even less legitimate means.
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        The real whore is the plaintiff's attorney.

        This is the same guy who has sued Porsche before, and NOT the driver, simply because that driver was the wife of the passenger killed. The dead husband's estate isn't going to sue the driver -- since the driver is the estate.

        This time he goes for the wealthy driver since Porsche has since beefed up its ability to fend off lawsuits.

        He's a freaking hypocrite attorney looking ONLY for big bucks. Don't believe otherwise.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oops, it says settlement, not verdict. Hopefully the golddigger's purse dog kills her in her sleep.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry, you put yourself in that position then you accept all the risks. Period. At least in a society ruled by common sense this would be the case, but not in America. With any luck this absurd ruling will be overturned, the lawyers disbarred, the judge removed from the bench and the plaintiff fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Tim: unfortunately that won't be played out as it's a settlement, not a ruling.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is the Real House Wife of Orange County!
      I see these dangerous women all the time. They have "broken DNA" and must be/live/work/play by the beach/ocean/lake/river to feel normal! This is why my 8 figure Balance Sheet will always be protected by a 505 page Prenuptial Book/novel/Kevlar... well, you know what I mean. I also do background, criminal, credit, judgment, medical & blood checks before I get "excited"!! Listen to www.blowmeuptom.com Tom Lykus! Oh, also a vet of over over 113 court cases as a paralegal, I love watching family court fights in the court "Hallways".... Wild!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate those court decisions.
      Im glad that im not living in america,i can get sued for farting or other crazy things.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The Driver. ... And, when the Ferrari came onto the track slowly, he overreacted and spun."

      He overreacted... he spun the car... Case dismissed.

      "McClellan thinks that the manufacturers’ greatest exposure in this regard may not be crashes on racetracks, but what might happen on the street. Imagine a CGT driver who gets in over his head on a public road, the rear end comes around, and he spins into an oncoming car, killing its occupant. Faced with expert testimony that electronic stability control could have prevented the spin, what will the jury think? "

      What would I think? That the driver of the CGT was an AH, and that's not Porsche's fault.
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