By on August 28, 2015

walker

You really can’t ask for a more pleasant, harmless example of schadenfreude than the recent, and well-publicized, decision by “outlaw” Porsche painter/sticker-applier/Vimeo-movie-star/used-clothing-retailer Magnus Walker to crash into his own car hauler. Nobody was hurt beyond his own sore back and no one besides Mr. Walker himself had any monetary loss from the incident. Heck, with the extra publicity it might be a net gain for the dreadlocked whiteboy from the United Kingdom.

Which leaves us, the viewers, absolutely free to laugh and/or gloat about the whole thing. But if we want to take a minute to be thoughtful about it, there’s a more important lesson to be learned, and it’s not “OMG THE 911 IS DANGEROUS EVEN FOR THE MOST TRAINED RACING SUPERSTAR”.


There’s nothing I love more than Monday-morning-quarterbacking crashes, whether they are mine or someone else’s. If you disagree, and you’d like to watch a video where I nearly get my check cashed to feel better about it, here you go. You’re welcome. Yes, I was in pain for weeks afterwards.

I’ve watched this urban-out-of-control video a few times now. In the aftermath of the incident, when there were just photographs and no video available, there were a few theories coming from the momma’s-basement crowd, all of which can be disproven now:

  • SOME JERK PARKED A TRAILER WHERE IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN, THUS ENDANGERING THE URBAN OUTLAW! Well, no: he knew the trailer was there. It was his trailer, reportedly.
  • HE WAS SWERVING TO AVOID SOME JERK IN A PAGODA SL! WHAT A HERO! Well, this is technically true, except for the minor detail of the Mercedes being in its own lane. In fact, had the Pagoda driver not had his eyes up, he would have been hit. It was his quick reaction to brake and move over that saved things from being worse than they were.
  • THE TEMPERATURE SUDDENLY DROPPED MAKING HIS SLICK TIRES DEADLY! Doesn’t appear to be the case. He knew the weather, the road, and the conditions.
  • THE 911 CAN KILL THE MOST EXPERIENCED DRIVERS! As we’ll discuss, this could have happened in a rental Mustang.

So that’s what didn’t happen. What did happen? Well, the video shows Magnus taking the most classic early-apex mistake approach possible to the corner. Were he a novice trackday student, this would be excusable. But he represents himself as being an experienced instructor and racer, albeit with the Porsche Owners Club which isn’t exactly real racing as actual racers understand it. So I’m thinking that he made a deliberate choice to enter the corner early. The only problem with this theory is that his entrance to the previous corner, which is also in the video, is total garbage and if one of my Green-group driving students did that we’d have a chat about it at lunch. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he knew what he was doing.

I believe that the reason he entered the corner early was so he could unbalance the car and slide it on exit. This is the usual technique favored by drifters and everyone who has ever been asked to “slide for the camera”. He probably touched the brakes a bit then applied throttle to slide out. And that’s what happened.

So far, all was going well and good. But there was traffic in the oncoming lane. How he didn’t know that would be the case utterly escapes me. Maybe he told a friend to hold traffic — but that’s not the kind of thing on which you can rely. Most importantly, he should have been able to see what was happening before he got around the corner. It was completely flat.

To me, it looks like he came off the throttle too early when he saw the Pagoda and promptly started an oscillation that, after he panicked and stepped on the brake, resulted in a neat half-gainer into his own car hauler, which thankfully wasn’t lowering the ramp at the level of his neck. This has very little to do with it being an OMG AIRCOOLED OUTLAW 911 ON SLICKS YO. I see novice students make the same mistake in everything from Miatas to Mustangs. If anything, the rear engine probably saved his bacon a bit by getting the car rotating a bit faster away from the lady in the passenger seat, whose legal claim for pain and suffering would then be even stronger than it is now had they struck on his side.

So, dear readers, how could we fix this, given a time machine? Any of the following would do it:

  • Not driving like a total moron on public roads in the first place. This advice is easy to give but hard to take. If you love cars and you love driving fast, it’s hard to be too sanctimonious about this. Your humble author made a very similar mistake to Mr. Walker when he was sixteen, hitting a parked car with my “powersliding” 200SX.
  • Controlling the scene better. You’re filming for television, so block the road with another car and be certain you have open space. Chris Harris, Matt Farah, and the other video superstars understand this.
  • Plan your stunt. In order for Mr. Walker to be successful in doing his stunt for the camera, he’d have needed to be assured of a clear left lane ahead. I don’t know why he thought he would be able to slide the car and stop it in that space. No person with any experience would use that short of a run for a car-motion shot.
  • Take a practice run, without the reporter. That would have shown him how foolish the idea was and he’d just be fixing his own equipment now instead of talking to his insurance company’s liability guy.

But this next one is the most important, and it’s something that we all need to do, all the time:

LOOK UP. At all times. In every situation. Keep your eyes up to infinity focus and look ahead on the road. If you do that, you will almost never be surprised. Even if there is a car in your lane that you did not expect, looking ahead will let you save your own bacon like Mr. Pagoda SL instead of running into the other car at full military power and going to the hospital.

Had Magnus been looking up like a race driver, instead of looking at the apex like a fashion-clothing expert, he would have seen that the oncoming lane was full. He could have gone full-stop on the brakes, skipped the turn, and probably done nothing other than rip off his custom outlaw airdam. And he would have had to make some sheepish explanations to everyone. But he’d have had the satisfaction of looking ahead, seeing the incident, and avoiding it.

Very few of us have fuck-you-Los-Angeles money and an endless supply of aircooled cars to wreck. So when we’re on the street, we need to be even more careful than Mr. Walker. And remember what Gil Scott-Heron said:

No matter how far wrong you’ve gone
You can always turn around
.

Believe me, I know that lesson better than Mr. Walker, or almost anyone else, does.

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36 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: Eyes Up, Mr. Outlaw...”


  • avatar
    wmba

    Wha da heck is this all about and should I care in any known way?

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      Too much trying to be a grunge rocker clothing stylist plus too much deadlocked hair plus too many P cars does not balance with too little driving skill / improperly calibrated risk/reward processing.

      I’m already sick of the guy and I’ve only known of him for a couple of months.

      Also, the reporter persists in the ‘merican pronunciation of Porsche. Maybe she does so intentionally to irk the Rob Zombie stunt double that shared an avoidable contact moment with her.

      Magnus gives long haired Porschephiles a bad name.

  • avatar

    I’m just posting in the hopes that I beat the dipshit dodge guy to “1st post”

    Also, fuck this guy. He’s a sanctimonious prick and schadenfreude is a healthy emotion to experience.

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    I fail to see the allure of this guy. He’s an old hippie who “modifies” old 911s by putting stickers and wheels on them. And apparently, he also drives like an asshat.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Behavior fitting a teenager in a Civic with coffee can exhaust. All that is missing is the infamous “hold my beer” and “watch this”. Thankfully he didn’t smack anyone in the oncoming lane of traffic.

  • avatar
    Fred

    So none of you guys have raced around in the streets? None of you have made a mistake while driving?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’ve made my share of mistakes, especially when I was a teenager. None of them showed quite this level of stupidity. And I would expect to be called out and shamed for them. Asshat behavior on public roads isn’t just endangering your finances or your own health, it’s endangering others who didn’t sign up for it and don’t know how to react.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I did almost exactly the same thing on an empty gravel road with a Volvo 245 before even getting my license. Most of my driving as an actual adult has been more competent than this example.

    • 0 avatar
      cretinx

      No. I drive like a grandma on the street. I’ve wrecked 4 cars on track. That’s where you’re supposed to wreck them.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Of what relevance is your question?
      The answer is none. Just because we’ve screwed around on the streets and made mistakes while driving doesn’t mean this is something we can’t comment on. This was a series of horrible decisions and he was lucky to get away with a dented car, a bruised ego and some deservedly bad press.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        Just seems like a lot of folks living in glass houses are calling the kettle black, to coin a phrase or two. Then they pile the hate on because he is some kind rich Hollywood hippy fashion guy. Myself it’s just a time to learn from someone’s mistake and not pass judgement on someone I’ve never met.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          When I do asshat moves they don’t involve reporters sitting in my car and/or people filming said event. I do stupid all by myself. Thus to me this stunts fits into the “show off” category, not into the “oops my bad” category, however its a fine line.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          There were no mistakes made here. Just stupid choices. Choices not unlike choices I’ve made. But stupid ones nonetheless, that should be made examples of, in the hopes that one day, some kid in a clapped out 350Z who is about to try a powerslide down a crowded public road says “u know wat let me naught be a Magnus Walker rite now”. Speed can be enjoyed responsibly, even on public roads, as long as it’s enjoyed within the context of good choices.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I’ve done both of the things you’ve mentioned.

          What I haven’t done is entered a corner such that I would need to use the opposing lane to exit, when I have visibility through the corner and can see that there is traffic coming the other way. I’m even more careful if there isn’t a good sightline.

          Unless (or actually particularly if) there’s something directly behind the videographer that’s fully blocking the view through the corner, this is inexcusable of someone who claims to be a performance driving instructor.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Jack: regarding the Laguna Seca crash – PLEASE find a way not to kill yourself and still do what you enjoy. I highly doubt that I am the only one who really likes your auto-related writing and want to keep reading it for a long time. Perhaps this will put it in perspective: you’re my favorite writer since Csaba Csere in his prime. You have a responsibility to me, to your son, and (apparently) to a few hotties out there, NOT to kill yourself. Thank you and that is all.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I watched that video and:

    a) I hate it when the reporters report on themselves becoming part of the news. She sounds so serious and dangerous like we’re talking about her near death encounter with Rwandan rebels instead of this.

    and b) In her research, maybe she can stumble across this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RLg0xw_4bo

    Everyone with a fun car drives like an asshat occasionally though. If you have a fun car (particularly RWD) and haven’t done something stupid at least once, then I hear Toyota has a great deal on Prius’ right now. Keep my eyes up, good advice.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “Keep your eyes up”: the best possible advice for driving, in pretty much any context, anywhere.

    There are two things that driving city buses in downtown Seattle for a living taught me, and both require keeping eyes up. One is to scan constantly at all distances between 100 and 2,000 feet. The other is to interpret fully and immediately what you see in your mirrors.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Bus driver? Wow. I always marvel at their skill. They have to go almost as fast as anyone. But then again, they can’t afford most everyone’s stopping distances AT ALL, due to size and the comfort of their precious cargo. It must have been exhausting to be hawk eyed all the time.

  • avatar
    rogerquad

    This is in front of the newly minted Minneapolis Porsche shop, with its newly minted frontage asphalt. Think the truck is a new car hauler dropping off a cayenne or q7(audi is nxt door)? anyhow, what kinda yahoo does that on a public road without having traffic blocked off?

  • avatar
    hubcap

    About the Porsche pronunciation, I say it both ways. To me, when I hear the pronunciation “Porsh”, I think of it as an abbreviation akin to Jag for Jaguar or Stang for Mustang.

  • avatar
    Blue-S

    This crash wouldn’t have happened in my Boxster or in the race neon shown in Jack’s video. Of course, I wouldn’t have been driving like Walker in that environment. “Regular” people such as reporters don’t like/understand tail-out driving anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Race Neons tend to be tuned for steady-state oversteer. We go toes out when the hoes are out.

      The only way to keep up with Miatas that have ten inches less wheelbase.

      • 0 avatar
        Blue-S

        In related news: My son is working toward his driver’s license. Here in California, underage drivers are supposed to have 50 hours of practice and 6 hours of lessons with an instructor before taking the in-car test. Each practice session, I’ve been drilling into his head the need to keep his eyes up and understand what is happening on on/near the road 360 degrees around him.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Dragula is a cool song though.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    What I want to see now is for TTAC to give Mr. Walker a chance to answer Mr. Baruth, preferably in a filmed face-off, as it were.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Let’s keep it real: this guy, all by himself, is bigger than TTAC. If I want to talk to him I’ll have to go to his $299-a-shirt thrift shop.

      But there is no reality in the entire Multiverse where I don’t drop this dude like a hot potato in any contest of equal machinery from a YSR50 to a 917K.

      • 0 avatar
        RRocket

        What about a contest to drive cars on appropriate tires in the winter? Would you still win that contest? :)

        I kid of course. Sadly, many havel done stupid things behind the wheel. Unfortunately for him, his was caught on video.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    For some reason I feel an Englishman could still die at these speeds. Like when TE Lawrence left the road in Lawrence of Arabia, looked like he was doing 15-20 mph max.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Considering how similar you and Magnus Walker seem to be, I am kind of surprised to see you attacking him honestly. ha ha

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a guy in Windsor, Canada named Alex with a company called Zachary Guitars. A bit of a mad genius, he makes guitars out of scrap wood and Ikea butcher blocks and they sell for $2,500 or so, if you satisfy him that you deserve one of his masterworks. Some guitars he just decides not to sell. He openly disparages people who collect “furniture guitars” to hang on walls.

      A fascinating character that I’m sure Jack would find interesting as well and one of the Zachary guitars would fit nicely in his collection of well over 100 instruments. I told Alex about Jack and Alex insisted that Jack would hate him because Jack indeed does collect some guitars and basses that have nicely figured wood and cool finishes.

      I just think the two of them would have a fascinating conversation.

      Now here’s the thing. Both Jack and Alex have publicly stated that electric guitars are going the way of accordions.

      As for Jack and Magnus, I can’t see Jack allowing some kind of hagiography made about himself. When I saw Urban Outlaw I thought that I’d be embarrassed to be portrayed that way.

      I guess Baruth and Walker are both promoting their own brands, but beyond a fondness for air-cooled Porsches, and a need for haircuts, I don’t see much in common between those two brands.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I just re-read Ross Bentley’s “Speed Secrets” and this piece made me want to finally splurge on some performance iron.

    Then I watched Jack’s crash video and had 2nd thoughts. I remember why I gave up floor and roller hockey. (I’m sure the latter was secretly invented as an orthopedic surgeon beach home plan)

    Baruth’s crash video – holy crap. I kept cringing – thinking Jack was going to get hit again while stopped. What’s revealing was the small amount of camera ‘action’ in Jack’s rag doll motions – which were no doubt quite serious and painful.

  • avatar
    marta2000

    This guy reminds me of a cross betwixt Jack and Dave Pirner. I know the location of the incident and ol’ Magnus was over driving and had no escape plan, cuz there is no place to go. Kinda like a Runaway Train, if you watch the video you can faintly hear, “this time I have really led myself astray.”

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Growing up in, yes it exists, rural NJ my buddies and I did some really stupid things behind the wheel. Fortunately none of us were ever hurt. With that said, we were at least smart enough to be in the middle of nowhere, ussually at night, with a reasonable understanding of how much traffic was not around us.

    This guy is a dumbass.

    Not only dos this freak show need a hair cut, I loath white guy dreads, he needs to find a new hobby.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    If your name is Walker and you are fond of racing Porsches on city streets, watch out! Apparently the universe has it in for you.

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