• May 18, 2009
Safety car crash video: Click above to watch video after the jump

The main job of a safety car in racing is to slow the pace of the race during a crash or help bring cars to a stop in the event that debris needs to be removed from the track. The safety car is usually provided by an OEM sponsor that pays for the right to slap flashing lights on the hood, and in the case of last weekend's FIA WTTC race in Pau, France, the safety car was the Chevy Cruze. Unfortunately for BMW driver Franz Engstler, this Cruze wasn't exactly the safest safety car.

After a minor crash left another car stranded on the track, the Cruze safety car pulled out of the pits and veered far left just after getting out of the gates. Engstler's BMW 320si never had a chance, as the Cruze shot right into his path. The BMW's rear passenger tire was ripped off on impact, knocking Engstler out of the race completely. Coincidentally, with Engstler and his BMW out, Alain Menu took the top podium spot behind the wheel of a – you guessed it – Chevy Cruze. Follow the jump to see the action for yourself. Thanks to everyone for the tip!

[Source: YouTube]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 61 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chevy sabotage... lol he was just taking out the BMW so that the Cruze race car can get ahead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't it Ironic? Don't ya think? ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't that the exact reason for the white line on the pit lane exit?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yea lets all rip on Chevy for the Cruze's door flying open. Sure the BMW's door flew open too AND it's wheel flew off but its ok cause its not American made...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Patrick

        just because F1 and DTM have the SL63 AMG as a safety car, doesn't mean all series has a fast car for a safety car.

        the car being fast wouldn't of prevented this considering he darted out into the racing line.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Coincidentally, with Engstler and his BMW out, Alain Menu took the top podium spot behind the wheel of a – you guessed it – Chevy Cruze"



        -Chevy: "An American Conspiracy"
        • 5 Years Ago
        Clearly torque steer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Only reason F1 needs a fast safety-car is to keep temperatures in the extreme tyres they're running.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yellow flag was waving and the BMW had ample time to slow down before the impact.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it me, or did that f-er slow down the second he pulled out into traffic.

      If I was the crew chief, they'd have to pixalize my mouth I'd be swearing so much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Karma :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Right around the 4:25 mark, the guy in white that waves the safety car onto the track seems unsure of what's happening himself. You can see him shrug and gesture like 'yeah, whatever... go.' Seems like a miscommunication among that group of people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep, especially with that article saying he never got the instruction to go on track, it looks like the SC driver was really too eager to jump the gun, and the guy in white is saying that's not what I heard, but if they told you to go, whatever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow its true! BMWs are poorly built! A Chevy Cruze ripped it apart! haha
      • 5 Years Ago
      Safety car was in error. It didn't have to jump into the middle of the lane, it still had some shoulder to gradually merge in.

      Granted the caution flag was up so the racer drivers knew to drive slow, but the safety car went out in the middle of traffic, right at a blind corner, going like 5mph. With a blind corner there's not much time to react, even if you are going slower with the caution flag.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks as if the safety car driver was playing for the home team. =P


      I declare shenanigans!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The BMW dented the Cruze on the A pillar, the only thing the door can do is fly open. if the door was to be engineered not to open in such a crash, then it would never open in any crash. hence the safety issue.

      even the most stringent safety oriented car designs use the law of averages on to which accidents happen the most, of course balancing that with driving dynamics costs and overall looks of the car. i'm sure a roll cage would be a great asset in any road car, but would woman driver want to step over it when wearing a skirt everytime they get in and out?

      in any case, i whink the Cruze did quite well, but my biggest dent on it being a safety car is why does it have to be stock? they could at least put a nice ricer kit on it with nice rims and some branding...and a turbo, i forgot to mention the turbo.

      anyway the bmw driver sucks for not being able to avoid the crash in the first place....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chevrolet doesn't need any help in beating BMW, Seat {VW}, Audi, etc. in the WTCC. The brand new Cruz has now won 4 straight races in widely different venues. It will be the best car in WTCC for a long time. The teams are very well run, the drivers very good and the car will be very competitive all over the world in this class. This is a BRAND NEW car ...not a carryover from the Lacetti's of prior years. Deal with it Euro fan boys !!
        • 5 Years Ago
        also, dont forget. I'm pretty sure a) European Cruze isn't made in North America. b) it was a joint design by GM North America and GM Korea (I did read Europe were involved in design process, but I dont have any contacts to confirm that).

        Lastly, the team is British and a WTCC car is very distant from a roadcar you would buy in the streets.

        Good to see RML also winning in the British series with the old Lacetti
        • 5 Years Ago
        although I agree, Chevy Europe (RML) are doing a great job, they did get a rule break recently where they were allowed flat floor (like SEAT) and perspex windows. Prior to this they were at the back of the field, now they are at the front.

        thats the problem with these rule breaks, just read up on the Turbo pressure issue. SEAT were very competitive, two days before the race, FIA change their rules and SEAT end up at the back of the grid.

        Also, to the other posters, The safety car didnt have authority to go out - doesnt matter if a flag guy was waving him through. That command HAS to come from the clerk of the course or race director.

      • 5 Years Ago
      That'll buff right out...



      Safety car shouldn't have darted into race traffic like that. Imagine the consequences of cutting off an F1 car with an SL65 black!

      Blind corners don't make for good pit exits either.
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