Losses and Lessons: Fast is fun, but safety first—on and off the track

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 2015 Porsche 911 GT3RS

WHAT WENT WRONG: In racing (as in life), there’s fast … and then there’s too fast. The owner of a 2015 Porsche GT3RS took his sports car to a high-performance driving school and got more than he bargained for while trying to negotiate a corner. The driver came into the corner hot, braking too late, which caused the 911’s rear to break loose, and the Porsche slid into the retaining wall.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The driver wasn’t injured, but damage to the right front, rear and side of his Porsche resulted in a $30,000 repair bill. To make matters worse, the owner didn’t have on-track insurance, so the bill was all his.

LESSON: With instruction from highly qualified teachers and an emphasis on safety, some drivers take a “What could go wrong?” approach to driving school. That’s a mistake. Tracks are like rattlesnakes—fascinating and seemingly harmless from afar, but dangerous up close if not taken seriously.

Jeff Purner, operations manager at the Porsche Sport Driving School (Barber Motorsports Park) in Leeds, Ala., says inexperience is at the root of most on-track accidents. “All drivers make mistakes, but experienced drivers recognize their mistakes quicker, and that extra split second allows them to make corrections and avoid an accident. Unfortunately, that ability only comes with experience. In the meantime it’s important to slow your speed and look where you want to go instead of fixating on what you might impact.”

With that said, even the most experienced and skillful drivers slip up sometimes, and disaster can strike quickly. To safeguard yourself should an accident occur, Hagerty offers Track Day Insurance coverage designed to protect your car from physical damage—both on the track and in the paddock—when you participate in High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) events. You wouldn’t race without a helmet; don’t roll the dice when it comes to insurance either.