MARK Reuss holds the impressive title of Executive Vice President of Global Product Development at General Motors.

He’s also quite a driver, having put in more than a few laps at the Nurburgring and GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

No wonder he was selected to drive the pace car at last week’s Detroit Grand Prix (it’s an Indycar thing, not F1).

Anyway, it carries a lot of prestige in the US and wherever else there’s an Indycar following, so it’s not the place to crash the pace car.

But that’s what Mr Reuss did, putting the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 into the wall at Turn 2 of the Belle Isle racetrack.

Only polesitter Alexander Rossi made it through the debris while there was some frantic braking among the remainder of the 23-car field.

Nobody was hurt, but apart from the scene being witnessed by a great many spectators, it was also caught on live TV.

The accident caused a 34-minute delay.

reuss crash
Reuss puts the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 into the wall at  Turn 2 of the Belle Isle racetrack.

Chevrolet issued a statement about the accident: “We are thankful that there were no serious injuries. Both the pace car driver and the series official were taken to the infield care centre, where they were checked, cleared, and released.

“It is unfortunate that this incident happened.

“Many factors contributed, including weather and track conditions.

“The car’s safety systems performed as expected.”

Hmmm.

Fact is, while there was a spot of rain early in the day, the track was drizabone when race 2 was about to start.

The sun was out and it was bright and sunny, with the temperature at about 25C.

Pundits reckon cold tyres, maybe cold brain too, might have helped the 560kW ZR1 on its way into the wall — and more than likely its stability control system was turned off.

But the Chevy people, and Mark Reuss, are not saying anything.

For the record, Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race in his Honda-Dallara from Aussie star Will Power, with Rossi, who led for 64 of the 70 laps, finishing third.

It was only a few years ago that the red-faced Reuss ran GM’s local operation — we know it as Holden.

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Headshot Buys 96x96 - Oops! Red-faced Reuss finds the wall

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.
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