There’s no such thing as a preferred or opportune time to crash a race car. Ever. Things happen and they can happen at any time in this sport. But a brand spanking new race car? That stings.
Late last month, Australian Top Doorslammer racer Gary Phillips went for an incredible ride in his new Camaro at the Sydney Dragway that virtually destroyed the new mount that carried the Lucas Oil Products livery and a fresh new coat of red, white, and blue paint. Phillips was testing the new machine at the Australian facility when the car abruptly got away from him at the 330-foot mark, sending it careening across the center line on two wheels. The experienced racer that he is, Phillips was able to reign the car in at an angle to avoid a near head-on impact, but the speed and momentum were too much to keep it off the guardrail. What ensued thereafter was a brutal side impact with the guardrail and two additional hard, ricocheting hits to the unforgiving concrete barrier.
According to reports posted on the web by a member of Phillips’ crew, an issue involving the fuel tank and breather forced fuel out of the car and underneath the rear tires, taking almost all control away from Phillips under acceleration. If you look closely in the head-on view on the video, you’ll see the fuel spilling from under the front end of the car where the fuel cell is mounted, as is typical for a supercharged car. Fuel under the tires of any car, much less a 3,500 horsepower Top Doorslammer, is a recipe for disaster.
It was reported that Phillips was conscious when safety personnel arrived and was safely removed from the battered car, complaining only of pain in his right arm. Whether the new car can be repaired remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a major setback for Phillips and his team.
The Camaro was built stateside at G-Force Race Cars and replaced Phillips’ former Lucas Oil Studebaker. Phillips, one of the most decorated Australian racers of all-time, is a 16-time ANDRA champion.