Published on 23 June, 2008
Dramatic in-car CCTV footage from the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race, which has just been released, demonstrates vividly the moment when AD Group CEO, and founder of Dedicated Micros, Mike Newton's challenge in the 2008 event came to an abrupt end as his car left the track and took flight at 270 kph.
Mike Newton, who already has two class wins at Le Mans to his name, had been driving the powerful RML MG Lola EX264 race car for nearly an hour - after taking over from his co-driver Brazilian Tommy Erdos - when, 8 hours into the gruelling 24-hour race, disaster struck as he came into the famous Porsche Curves.
His approach to the sweeping curve was nothing unusual, but the result was. The car snapped suddenly to the right, side-on to the direction of travel, and as the air pressure built up under the edge, the car lifted clear of the ground. It kept on rising, and revolving. "I can recall looking across, and seeing the ground coming in towards me," said Mike Newton, later. Almost at the point when the car was upside down, the front corner dug in, spinning the car violently back the other way, until the left rear hit the ground in turn. The car bucked again before finally settling back on its wheels. Miraculously, Mike was able to bring the MG slowly back to the pitlane and into the garage.
Thanks to AD Group's CCTV recording technology, installed in the MG Lola in the form of a racing variant of the award-winning TransVu - the RML X-PRO Recorder - Mike was able to show Phil Barker, RML Team Manager, exactly what the car - and driver - had just experienced with the recorded images linked to all-important telemetry data.
This assisted Barker in directing the team to focus the repair work on the areas of impact and subsequent damage as the RML pit crew stripped down the MG and then put it all back together again.
The frantic efforts of the team were also captured in High Definition thanks to a CamVu 2000 megapixel IP camera and an associated DV-IP HD unit which was used for storage and replay of the images. Both pieces of equipment were fitted to Dedicated Micros new Demonstration Vehicle which proved to be an invaluable resource throughout the race weekend, giving European customers hands-on experience of the company's latest CCTV solutions. As well as being available in the Demonstration Vehicle, the High Definition footage of the MG Lola repairs were also streamed to the corporate hospitality area so guests could have a close-up view of events as they happened.
Back to the race, when third driver Andy Wallace took the MG Lola EX264 out again he reported problems with the handling and it was soon apparent that there was additional underlying damage. The team also faced a second dilemma. In order to achieve a classified finish a car must complete 70% of the winning car's distance, and time was running out. At 1:58 am on Sunday morning, the decision was reached that the team had done as much as was humanly possible and the race was over for another year.
With a chance to reflect on the weekend's events, the RML team were certainly impressed that the ruggedised mobile DVR had been able to survive Mike's spectacular crash unscathed. The resulting in-car footage took the breath away of all who saw it in the control room and left Mike Newton pondering on his lucky escape.
Mike will now have a two-month break from motorsport to recuperate before taking part in the 4th round of the Le Mans Series at Nurburgring in Germany.
Click here to view race footage.