“Huge” and “Nissan Micra” are rarely used in the same sentence, but Canada has a brilliant racing series just for the subcompact Micra. Racing identical cars produces very close racing, which sometimes leads to big chain reaction crashes. Ride onboard the one car that somehow cut a path through this big mess.
Canadian automotive journalist and friend of Jalopnik Brian Makse was at Calabogie Motorsports Park for his first-ever Micra Cup race in lucky Guelph & Waterloo Nissan car No. 13.
Makse’s pal John was the only crew he had for the weekend, and both didn’t consider themselves mechanically inclined. Other teams lent the No. 13 tools and advice, but for the most part, they were on their own. The No. 13 ran with no onboard data, a very basic set-up, and most impressively, no radio, so there wasn’t even a spotter that could guide him through to an open hole.
After finishing 13th in the first race of the weekend, Makse started 18th for the second race, when the field became one big pile. Here’s Makse’s explanation of how the crash happened in his own words:
The race start was normal and orderly as any good start could be, and I like to think I start well, so I carry that confidence into the car.
I was on the left side of the starting grid and spotted the flag, so I got the jump. I pulled out to the left and had a better run than Frederic Bernier. Instead of lifting, I gave him a bump and followed him through.
Before I turned in for the first corner, I had a feeling things were going to go sideways and you can see me lift a touch in the video as were barrelling into the first turn.
From there, you can see Fred get some oversteer, then correct, and then collect those two white cars.
At the same time, I see cars barrel rolling down the right side of the track and at this point, I’m overwhelmed and preparing for impact. I’m on the brake just hoping I can clear some of these cars. In the back of my mind I’m thinking “Ah, man, I do not need to crash a brand new race car today!”
It’s one of those situations where it’s impossible to consciously think through a solution. My years of concentrating on processing visual inputs is undoubtedly what got me through the crash. Every car I avoided was still moving at the time, and my brake and steering inputs were purely instinctive. I’ve got to thank my great teachers over the years for that discipline.
Sure, having a front row seat was pretty exciting, but I’m really happy that all of my competitors are ok. Those were some really big crashes and the Micra Cup cars are thankfully very stout.
A fan captured a view of the crash from the stands, where you can see one unliucky Micra get tossed into the air by a tire barrier, and Makse sneak in through the gap right towards the end on the left-hand side of the screen:
It’s incredible to hear that everyone was okay after this one. Bless you, Micra roll cage fabricators. Bless you each and every one.
[H/T Robb/Declan/Brian and yes, I am still insanely jealous of this car.]