Track days are not without their risks, but modern technology has made the whole proposition a lot safer. Wide runoffs help prevent impacts while softer barriers help dissipate energy when a car does hit the wall. Modern cars are also incredibly strong, too. For proof, look at this C8 Corvette Z06 crash, where the driver nosed into a barrier at over 80 mph and walked away.
On-board footage shared by YouTube user Steelankles shows a driver on a lap of Virginia International Raceway. The crash starts when they put a wheel off at the track's final corner. As they cut back over an outside curb, the car loses control and hooks into the outside wall while still traveling at 97 MPH. The driver jumps on the brakes, but the car still hits an inside wall nose-first at 81 MPH.
The video's narrator speculates that the tire was cut when going back over the curb. The first hit had a force of 8.47 Gs. The car hit again at 5.5 Gs as it continued spinning. Despite all that force, the car still came out of the crash resembling a C8 Corvette and the central safety structure is still visibly intact. The driver was apparently unhurt, too. The car may be totaled, but the safety structures did their jobs and the driver will live to lap VIR again.
Don't let this give you a false sense of security—driving fast around a race track is inherently dangerous no matter what, and there's always a risk of doing more than just totaling your car. But, this does a great job of illustrating the leaps forward we've made in track-day/racing safety over the years.
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