GM’s Mark Reuss Comments On Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Crash At Belle Isle24
This past weekend, Chevrolet had somewhat of an embarrassing moment when the star pace car, a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, crashed into the wall at turn two of the Belle Isle grand prix.
As details have trickled out, we’ve come to learn that GM product, purchasing and supply chief, Mark Reuss, was behind the wheel of the car when it crashed. Reuss lost control of the 755 horsepower Corvette ZR1, spun, and made contact with the cement wall during parade laps ahead of the race.
GM has since released a statement following the crash saying, “It is unfortunate that this incident happened. Many factors contributed, including weather and track conditions. The car’s safety systems performed as expected.”
Initial information pointed to a blown tire as the cause of the crash, but that has since been ruled out and dismissed. And despite the official statement, the track was dry and the weather was warm sunshine.
Reuss himself released a statement following the wreck and declared he was OK, but felt more than sorry for the incident.
“I want to thank you all for your well wishes today. I am ok. I have driven this course many many many times. I have paced this race in the wet, cold, hot, and calm. On Z06’s, Grand Sports, and other things. It is never a casual thing for me, but an honor to be asked. Today I let down my friends, my family, Indycar, our city and my company. Sorry does not describe it. I want to thank our engineers for providing me the safety I know is the best in the world.”
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You don’t let an executive drive if he’s going to be pushing it at all. Even a seasoned driver. Nobody will think “oh that’s Reuss driving, that makes GM so special”. To any spectator, a ZR1 is a ZR1 and whoever is behind the wheel is irrelevant so there’s nothing to be gained, but a lot to risk losing. Pro drivers only, no more egos.
I don’t know his qualifications but I assume he is qualified to do this. Accidents happen and personally I like that a exec and car guy does stuff like this.
I expect Mark to take a pay cut to cover repair expenses!
“The car’s safety systems performed as expected.” It appears that the traction control and stability control were switched OFF… so those performed as expected – they didn’t.
It was the loose nut on the steering wheel that disengaged the traction control!
Good drivers don’t need electronic gimmickry to drive!
Real drivers choose Vipers and then run in fear when it rains?
That’s true. And good drivers can also make errors. Very similar to Danny Sullivan in a 2nd gen Can-Am (5 liter) car exiting the last turn at Laguna Seca and stuffing it into the inside Armco barrier during a race. And that had less power & torque than the ZR1 (1/2 the weight though). He admitted he just overcooked it. Then of course his 360 spin at Indy then went on to win. I like turning the driver aids off too, to allow some wheelspin and power-on oversteer, but it has also saved my arse a time or two.
This is just what 755 HP will do with the controls off and too much on the gas. It happens.
Mark has driving training and has even done the driving at press events with media. I am sure this will lead to many jokes in the future if he drive them again.
The best thing for him to do is just admit he screwed up and point out that this is why the car has all the features it has.
Honesty is the best policy here. Anyone who has driven a powerful car has screwed up at some point. If not you have never driven one hard.
Mark it is ok just be honest.
When life gives you limes make Margaritas.
Blaming it on track conditions and weather is lame. I agree with others here, honesty would have been better than a manufactured excuse.
Many factors contributed, including weather and track conditions…and driver input steering angle after he broke traction
I would like to see the performance data recorder video.
If it was me I would have been shaking so bad I would be scared to get it out of first gear and go more than 25MPH. Of course there would have been a two hour delay in starting the race but at least I would not put a scratch on that 123,000 dollar car.
Shades of the 1971 Indy 500 when the Dodge Challenger pace car driven by a local dealer crashed into an elevated viewing platform causing it to crash to the ground injuring several. Mark probably too used to being driven around in a vehicle with a company paid driver doing the duty! His dad was the real car guy!
The INDY 500 had the same issue that is why the car manufacturers employees are NOT allowed to drive the pace car at INDY. ONLY race car drivers are allowed to drive the pace cars. Detroit will be the same if they have another race there
Victor Oladipo, is a basketball player, not a race car driver!
Mark Reuss is a certified Industry Pool test driver on the North Course of the famed Nurburgring and held a Grand American Road Racing Licence, so he is more than qualified to drive the Corvette, but he is also human and made a mistake. Most importantly he willingly admitted his error. Give him a break.
Mark Reuss, to the best of my knowledge, is something like a level 5 or so GM Driver that’s certified to track cars at high speeds. It’s car nuts like him inside GM that enable us to have interesting cars to look forward to like the 1LEs, Corvettes, and the Cadillac V-Series. I think it’s better for all of us that we have one of the top 4 GM executives willing to get this closely involved in Motorsport to the betterment of the company.
The dude may have screwed up a little bit. So what? Not every lap is perfect.
“Reuss is “the best car guy in the business,” says Barra. An engineer by training who refurbishes vintage Chevys on the weekend, he’s the guy who oversees R&D, purchasing, and the manufacturing and design of the company’s cars, trucks, and SUVs. “This is the job I always aspired to have,” he says.”
More reason to bring the AWD Vette to market sooner…
Keep doing what your doing Mark, if all GM employees were like you we would have even more great GM vehicles. Please try to get GM to fix ALL known problems on ALL GM vehicles under warranty period. Our screen just shattered on our 2014 ATS like thousands of others and GM will not do anything.
Well, they’ve been saying they’ve reached the limits of the front engine/RWD C8 platform, now they’ve demonstrated it! A perfect segway opportunity to promote the mid-engine C8. Let’s see if they can make some lemonade.
And at the same time, Apple just announced they’re allowing Waze on CarPlay…Coincidence?
There are no coincidences in marketing at this level.
But what about TrackAddict support?!