Lapping the 12.9-mile Nurburgring Nordschleife is hard enough as it is, but one driver recently found out, it's always possible to make it harder. As the driver's Setra Motors E46 M3-R race car was approaching the Nordschleife's official finish line to wrap up a hot lap, something peculiar happened: the right door on the M3 shook itself loose and flew off...while the race car was traveling at 174 miles per hour.
The driver, to his or her credit, handles the situation with a fair amount of aplomb. He (or she; that full helmet makes it hard to tell) manages to keep the M3 on the track in spite of the sudden rush of air, though not without taking a series of disbelieving glances at the hole in the side of the car where the door used to be.
You may be surprised to learn that race cars losing doors and other body panels is not all that unusual. During a practice session for a WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Virginia International Raceway in August, the Number 25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM car managed to lose its whole roof. And in May of 2015 at Spa-Francorchamps, an Audi R18 LMP1 car lost its drivers door.
And for whatever reason, it hasn't been a particularly good stretch for BMWs on the Nurburgring. Last weekend, several M235i race cars were smashed up on the track during a race; before that, an E30 took out both itself and a Porsche Cayman GT4 with an apparent fluid leak in the famed YouTube Corner.
Racers, let this be a lesson: you always need to expect the unexpected. Sometimes, apparently, that means being prepared for doors to fly off.