Student Driver Spins Miata in Laguna Seca Traffic, Does Stunt-like 360-Degree Recovery

Student Driver Spins Miata in Laguna Seca Traffic 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Lapping Laguna Seca in a Mazda Miata is one of the best things a driver can do, whether one is looking for thrills or gaining those all-important defensive driving skills. But what happens if you spin in track traffic? "Well, that's what driving instructors are for," some would say.
That's plain wrong, since the guy getting paid to provide one-on-one tuition can only have so much control while riding shotgun. We'll use the video below to demonstrate that, instructor or no instructor, you're on your own once the back end starts dancing at speed. And as you'll be able to see, that's not half bad.

The clip allows us to see a guy in the midst of the track driving tuition process, sharing an NB-generation Miata with his instructor. With Laguna Seca around them, these people have just the right setup.

Upon entering turn #9, a downhill left-hander, the driver loses the rear end. Once things go past the point of no return, the man leaves the MX-5 in neutral, while playing with the steering wheel in a way that allows him to pull a complete 360-degree recovery.

Since the Miata faced incoming traffic at a certain point in the spinning process, using second gear to pull away right at the end of the slide was the kind of solution required to stop those knuckles from going too white.

Those of you who wonder what exactly caused the Mazda to spin should know this isn't a case of liftoff oversteer, despite looking exactly like that.

In fact, the driver explains what happened: "Not a lift-off oversteer. Applied too much throttle (?) and steering input in mid-turn. I was unable to hit the apex several laps prior, so my instructor was helping me to push further. With more experience and better tires, I am now able to hit the apex and carry more speed."

With the shenanigan having started at about 70 mph or so, the fact that the Miata was able to complete the 360-degree backs up the suspicion that the grip offered by the tires was more limited than you might expect.

Then again, being able to tame the unexpected is one of the joys of track days, isn't it?

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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