For many, owning a supercar or hypercar represents the zenith of the automotive experience. It’s where speed meets luxury and no longer becomes just a matter of ownership; it’s an experience.
For those who may not have a casual 6-figures to drop on a gorgeous exotic, there is also the option to rent a supercar whether it’s for the day or purely for a track experience.
Last year, I made my way to Speed Vegas and had the opportunity to drive a Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 at their custom-built track just outside of Vegas city limits. During the exhilarating 7 laps, one thing became incredibly clear: the car could deliver way more performance than I was able to provide.
Despite having a professional driving instructor in the passenger seat guiding my every movement, it was my first time driving the Huracan, having sampled other powerhouses such as the Mercedes AMG GT and Nissan GT-R so I wasn’t completely out of my element. Nevertheless, it made me think about the safety aspect in ownership of an exotic and what it looks like outside of a controlled environment (or rather, controlled as much as possible).
The Speed Vegas Incident
In 2017, the very same Speed Vegas had a tragic accident occur where a fiery crash took the lives of Craig Sherwood and Gil Ben-Kely after their Lamborghini Aventador crashed into a track wall. As a result, there was much scrutiny into how it all unfolded as the case made its way into a courtroom.
Theories emerged as competitors and experts gave their opinions on reasons including:
The track design and whether it was safe.
The car itself and the presence of certain aftermarket parts.
The quality of instruction and the emphasis on speed.
As performance vehicles, supercars absolutely dominate normal cars. They’re faster, more nimble, and come with a deluge of technology that you would never see on a commuter sedan, with safety controls that the average driver wouldn’t even know about.
There are some misconceptions about supercars such as how they spin out easily but for those with extensive experience, it’s largely accepted that these cars are designed rigorously and entirely capable of handling most of what you throw at them.
So Why Do Accidents Happen?
It’s the million-dollar question everyone asks: what or who is at fault? The obvious answer is: it depends.
Companies are obligated to ensure that their machines are well-maintained. Ironically, when I sat down in the Huracan and started the beast up, the check engine light hilariously lit up and stayed. In hindsight, I should have questioned it but chose to ignore the reason given that the car was probably being driven to the ground 12 hours a day. It drove as I expected it to and it’s hard to say why the CEL persisted.
Maintenance matters as you want every aspect of the vehicle to be in tip-top shape. A tire blowout, a malfunction of the traction control system, brake fade, or any combination of mechanical failures could result in a crash.
Beyond the car itself, there’s a lot more that can happen with the wildcard element which is the driver.
Meticulous design will not make up for a lack of experience and training. Poor judgment can be the difference between finishing your last lap or finishing in the gravel.
As Road and Track puts it, “I thought I’d seen every species of idiocy behind the wheel.”
Many supercars can accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds. You can easily hit 100mph on a track but whether you have the training and reflexes is a whole other story.
Bridging The Gap: What Can You Do?
No one gets into a supercar thinking it’ll be the last time they ever do, or even think that they’ll get into a crash. Human error exists but we never know when it will hit us at the most inopportune of times. God forbid if you ever find yourself involved with a collision, consulting with a car accident lawyer for advice may be a good idea, whether you’re at fault or not.”
The good news is that there are always precautions that can be taken to mitigate the risk of injury or better yet, improve your driving experience.
Money can’t buy skills, so brush up on your driver’s education. Invest in advanced driving courses that focus on high-performance vehicles. You’ve spent the money buying the car of your dreams. You’ll want to be equipped with the necessary skills to enjoy the most of it.
There are also high-performance driving events that you can participate in where you can meet other supercar owners and a great way to experiment with your skill level.
No matter how you cut it, a public road is a public road. Enthusiasts that take on Tail of the Dragon do so with a certain level of risk tolerance and there is no replacement for the racetrack. As our resident Porsche expert Terence W. says, “….if you want to really test the handling capabilities of a car, it’s just better to do it on a track, where if you miss an apex, you might go into a strategically placed gravel trap or run off area. You miss an apex on mountain road, you go down the mountain.”