16 of the 20 cars were involved in the crash

Multi-car pile-ups don’t always happen in racing, but when they do, they make for spectacles as long as nobody involved gets hurt. But even with those expectations, nothing can prepare you for what happened at the FIA GT World Cup qualifying race in Macau where a huge pile-up occurred on the opening lap of the race, affecting 16 of the 20 cars on the field.

I’ve been watching motor racing for the better part of two decades and I’ve never seen anything like it. According to Sportscar365, the crash happened on the very first lap of a qualifying race after fourth-place running Daniel Juncadella hit the wall towards the exit at the notoriously tight Police bend. Rafael Marciello was running fifth at the time of Juncadella’s boo-boo managed to squeeze his car past the crashed Mercedes-AMG GT3, but every car behind it wasn’t as lucky. Defending GT World Cup champion Laurens Vanthoor was running sixth when he clipped the back of Juncadella’s car and started a chain reaction of one car hitting another one after the other. Luca di Grassi’s Audi R8 LMS even ended up with its rear section pointing to the sky after being hit by a BMW from behind.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the race was immediately red-flagged as cranes sprung into action to clean up the mother-of-all-pile-ups. Thankfully, no one suffered any injuries from the pile-up and the qualifying session ended up restarting a few hours later where Edoardo Mortara claimed pole position ahead of today’s actual race.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Maybe something should finally be done about Macau’s street circuit?

Defending GT World Cup champion Laurens Vanthoor was running sixth when he clipped the back of Juncadella’s car and started a chain reaction of one car hitting another one after the other.

I get it. As long as the Macau Grand Prix has been around, its street circuit has become a big part of its charm. That’s not lost on me, but so is the alarming number of crashes and accidents that happen on this track.

We can laugh about that 16-car pile-up because nobody got hurt, but it wasn’t even the most significant thing to happen over the weekend. Motorcycle racer Daniel Hegarty lost his life after crashing against the barriers at the same track. That kind of tragedy isn’t new to the Macau GP, but all the same, it’s something that shouldn’t happen under any circumstances.

Five years ago, Portuguese motorcycle racer Luis Filipe de Sousa Carreira and Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau Wing-Choi both crashed and died in their respective races. Similar deaths also occurred in 1994 and 2005 and the number of crashes and accidents over the years that didn’t result in deaths have literally been far too many to count.

Just last year, Laurens Vanthoor, the same guy involved in this 16-car pile-up, clipped the inside curb at the Mandarin Bend at 155 mph, sending his Audi R8 LMS on a wild ride that ended with the car on its roof and sliding at full speed towards the start-finish line. That race was red-flagged too and because of FIA race rules, Vanthoor won the race, becoming the first racer in history to win a race with his car on its roof.

The race was immediately red-flagged as cranes sprung into action to clean up the mother-of-all-pile-ups.

Jokes aside, there are some extremely narrow sections of the track that need improvement. There’s plenty of history and evidence that says crashes don’t end well for those who are involved in them. I’m all for keeping the integrity of the circuit, but the changes that can be made in the name of safety should happen, especially if it could save some lives in the future.

References

2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report
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Source: Apple News

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