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McLaren crashes during 'Ring dash

2011-05-25 11:20

TRUTH OR DARE?: Was a McLaren MP4 prototype on a Nurburgring flying lap or not when it crashed badly?

A prototype version of McLaren’s new MP4-12C supercar has come to grief at the world’s most challenging racing circuit.

During a manufacturer testing session on May 20, 2011, eye witnesses reported seeing a MP4 lapping the Nurburgring at 10/10ths.

After passing the main car park the acoustic warning of straining tyres signalled a loss of control as the MP4 disappeared beyond the Antoniusbuche. Seconds later a loud impact was heard, confirming the inevitable.

DRIVER UNHURT

Following the incident, the Nordschleife circuit was closed for an hour as recovery and maintenance crews busied themselves with cleaning-up the crash site. Traces of fluid on the track surface and damaged crash barriers in the area beyond Antoniusbuche curve, a particularly fast part of the circuit, provided clear evidence of the crash after the Nordschleife was reopened for a public ride and drive session.

McLaren has confirmed the MP4’s unnamed driver was unharmed in the accident, and that the prototype in question has been returned to its Woking technical centre for analysis.

The issue at hand is whether McLaren was in fact conducting durability testing (as it claims) or attempting to set a production car lap record, for which the Nordschleife (with its 154 turns) is most famous for.

Was it driver error or a technical failure? We may never know…

Expect McLaren to return to the ‘Ring soon enough, though, for some more “durability testing”, which in all likelihood will be follow by an official announcement confirming the MP4 inadvertently trumping its class rivals’ Nordschleife lap times…
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