This Terrifying Toyota GR Yaris Crash Shows the Danger of a Simple Track Day

Gravel traps are there to slow down cars that come off the track, but they can't work miracles if you're already upside down.

While many a car enthusiast has enjoyed a spirited drive through country roads, far from the prying eyes of law enforcement, it’s a generally accepted fact that the safest place to work out such urges is the race track. However, even entry-level track days can end in disaster if you don’t keep your car on the black stuff. It’s a lesson recently learned by the driver of this GR Yaris, who ended up tumbling into the gravel after overcooking it on a rainy outing at Estonia’s Audruring.

The drama starts just five seconds into the video, as the GR Yaris enters the top-right of frame pulling a lurid slide around the high-speed left-hander. The car holds a full 45-degree drift angle, but as it reaches corner exit, tragedy strikes. The rear end grips, and the countersteer from the front wheels ends up becoming a major overcorrection. The car immediately veers hard to the right, ending up on the grass. With the car sliding sideways, the left wheels dig into the mud, flinging the car into a roll and sending it tumbling through the gravel trap over its roof. After four full rotations, the car finally comes to rest sitting upright on its wheels.

YouTube/Ma To

The driver was thankfully unharmed in the crash, serving as a testament to the quality of the stock Toyota’s safety equipment. Unsurprisingly, the car was a total write-off, with photos after the crash showing the roof caved in from the damage and an interior full of dirt and gravel. The carbon roof panel was snapped into multiple pieces, and the rear window was entirely destroyed. The left rear wheel also had its tire torn off the rim, likely when it first dug into the ground precipitating the rollover.

The video also shows another driver pulling over to the side of the track and getting out to help after seeing the incident unfold. On most tracks, this is the absolute wrong thing to do, as it can cause further accidents with other cars trying to avoid drivers running around on a hot track. Typical doctrine is for cars on track to follow the directions of any flags displayed, and to return to the pits as directed, while track marshals deal with the incident and rescuing the driver where necessary. Unfortunately, many track days have limited numbers of marshals posted on track, meaning that the response to crashes can be much slower than one might see in professional motorsports on TV. 

It’s a great example of why it’s important to drive within one’s limits, even at a track day. While the GR Yaris is a safe, modern car, accidents on track can have terrible consequences, particularly when older road cars with less safety equipment are involved. It’s something to keep front of mind when heading out so that you always come back in one piece. 

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