NASA Great Lakes Thunder Roadster racer Tom Byrns was on his last lap on the last section of the track at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in July when he began having brake issues. The failure resulted in a crash in the last turn. We caught up with Byrns in the weeks that followed to find out what happened.
“I had to pump the pedal going into Turn 12, which was the last heavy braking point prior to Turn 17,” Byrns said in an email. “I made it through 12 fine. I was thinking the brakes were just hot and the long back straight would allow them to cool and I’d be good for the final turn, Turn 17. Last turn of the last lap, I test the brakes slightly going through Turn 16 (normally a no-brake area). Nothing. I then applied brakes for 17 at 120 mph and the pedal goes to the floor.”
As you can see, Byrns ended up in the tire wall. The good news is that he was unhurt and the car was only superficially damaged. The chassis was straight. All he needed was new fiberglass — and new brake lines.