The shocking episode unfolded at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Michigan.
Testing prototype vehicles can be dangerous work, with a nearly fatal Corvette accident at General Motors’ Milford Proving Ground driving that point home. An engineer sustained critical injuries in the wreck, which involved the sports car being torn in half and catching fire.
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It’s quite possible the prototype that crashed was the much rumored C8 ZR1. Heavily camouflaged examples have been spotted on public roads for a while now, but the state of the crashed vehicle makes identifying it difficult if not impossible, although the wheels are a big clue.
Through a FOIA request, Detroit Free Press was finally able to get details about the crash which happened way back on June 22. Not only did the newspaper get reports, photos of the crash scene were provided by Michigan State Police and they’re not pretty.
The crash happened on a stretch of road at the facility that’s supposed to simulate a two-lane freeway with a 75 mph speed limit, says Detroit Free Press. It’s also a straightaway with an uneven surface which is supposed to simulate poor quality public roads. Anyone who’s driven on such crackling, rough blacktop well knows it can affect vehicle dynamics tremendously.
However, investigators concluded excessive speed was a factor in the crash, with the errant Corvette obliterating a tree before coming to its fiery resting spot in the woods at the side of the road.
GM employees who first responded to the crash site reportedly found the driver by the edge of the roadway. It’s believed he crawled from the wreckage, a move which might have saved him from burning alive. Still, he had critical injuries from which he apparently hasn’t recovered entirely.
Weather reportedly wasn’t a factor in the accident. GM, which is performing its own investigation into the incident, told Detroit Free Press it hasn’t changed any safety protocols, although that could change later.
According to GM, the Milford Proving Ground contains over 150 miles of simulated two-lane highway. Different portions are designed to simulate varying conditions drivers might encounter in the real world. The roads, plus 150 buildings, are situated on 4,000 acres of land. GM claims it’s the oldest dedicated car testing facility in existence with an opening date of 1924.
It sounds like the GM engineer has a long and difficult road ahead of him, as does his family. We hope for the best for everyone in the aftermath of this scary accident.
Photos from Michigan State Police via Detroit Free Press