Article by Travis Wolcott.
Tomas Enge had nothing but praise for his Reiter team after his spectacular crash at the Slovakia Ring early in Saturday's Blancpain Sprint Series qualifying race. The field was fighting their way through the wide first few corners of the 3.68-mile road course when Enge's Lamborghini Gallardo FLII made contact with Stef Dusseldorp's HTP Mercedes SLS. Enge said, "That I was able to get out of the car and walk away was a credit to Reiter.”
The visual intensity of the wreck as Enge tumbled end over end is impressive, and it makes a great addition to a YouTube playlist. It's also a good time to reflect on Enge's praise for the safety systems in place in today's racing cars and tracks.
Enge's tumbling actually saved him from what could have been more serious injury. Compared to a heavy head-on or side-on collision with an unmoving wall, the dramatic cartwheeling was dissipating energy with every rotation. As racing drivers, we outfit ourselves with fireproof suits, underwear, shoes, the best helmets the sport has ever had, neck restraints, and surround ourselves with halo seats, roll cages and carbon fiber . . . and it's all necessary. The improvements this sport has seen in the last couple of decades has dramatically increased the survivability of high energy crashes like this.
The intensity of the race track often brings about destruction and, in turn, incredible video footage. The amazing part of it all is that more often than not, the driver walks away from impacts with other cars and walls at huge speeds with only minor injury, as Enge did. Those of you out there with race cars know exactly why that roll cage is in there and hope you never have to use it. Remember to thank your cage builder today. Tomas Enge did.