The real story behind Liam Doran’s GT-R crash at the Nürburgring (w/VIDEO)


When news broke of Liam Doran’s huge accident at the Nürburgring last week, we naturally feared for the worst. Liam’s 600+ bhp Nissan GT-R had left the circuit and backed into the tyre barrier. The car was a write-off, but thankfully Liam walked away with just a few cuts and bruises to show for his ordeal.

Ironically on the same day, Liam’s sponsors, Monster Energy, sent us his latest promotional video (below) in which he says he learned during 2011 that “..he needs to try and keep it on 4 wheels”, so we were keen to find out how he processed this latest and whether it would affect his mindset during the 2012 season.

This year, Liam will be contesting the European Rallycross Championship as well as the US-based Global Rallycross Championship (including X-Games), so cannot afford some of the setbacks experienced in 2011.

When we interviewed him a few days before his Nürburgring crash, Liam was super-positive about his new Citroen DS3 RallyX supercar and looking forward to competing against WRC veteran Marcus Grönholm and other top drivers during the season ahead.

We were keen to hear from Liam, what really happened on his fateful visit to the Green Hell, and see him testing his new DS3 at Lydden Hill, so once again Adnan from Car Throttle paid a visit to the Rallycross star and asked the challenging questions.

Liam Doran talks with Adnan Ebrahim at Lydden Hill

Before we share Liam’s words with you, take a look at the following video from Litchfield Imports and Forge Motorsport, after the crash, as Liam shows how his 630bhp Stage4 2008 Nissan GT-R used to perform. Liam certainly lives by his motto, “Fear nothing, risk everything”..

Adnan: How are you feeling today going into your first practice session with the DS3 here at Lydden Hill?

Liam: Really excited, because it’s been a long time coming. We’ve done a lot of hard work over the winter with the new car, so we’re really excited to get out there finally and see whether the hard work has paid off or not! The car, the technology we’ve used, the team, everything is completely different this year so it’s gonna be a good test this weekend. It’s sort of a shakedown for me and the whole team.

Adnan: Now about the ‘Ring incident, talk us through what happened.

Liam: There’s been a lot of negative feedback on the internet about what happened obviously because of my reputation and what I do, I’m supposed to be a professional driver and then go to a track like that in my own road car and make that kind of mistake. You know, mistakes happen in motorsport.

I’m massively upset at what’s happened, it was my own personal car and I’m at a huge loss with it now. I worked a long time to get that car, it was my dream to have and now it’s gone. More important than that, I was in the car with my cousin and so me and him both got out of the car with just scratches and bruises. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if anything happened to either one of us.

Adnan: Was it just a lapse in judgement?

Liam: Basically we were filming, so I was out there for a promotional thing and I spent the whole day on the GP track. I only ran one lap of the actual Nordschleife track with Ben Wallace and we did more filming on the GP track because it’s safer and there’s more space to show-off and it’s more impressive.

We stopped the filming and then my cousin Jake said that he hadn’t been round the track and could I take him out? So we went round the ‘Ring and I don’t like it because I’m quite an aggressive driver and to go well at that track you have to know the place like the back of your hand. I don’t like going round there because I always find myself pushing too hard and have to slow down and then I find that I’m not going fast enough.

Anyway we went round there, I did a 7-minute lap which in most people’s eyes is a really fast lap – standard GT-R times are 7 and a half minutes so I was happy with that and seeing how I’ve only been round there five times.

What’s happened is we’ve come off of the ‘Ring lap back onto the start of the GP circuit. Not a lot of people will know as you don’t really get to drive on the GP circuit but you come off of the end of the full straight of the ‘Ring with one corner then back on the GP straight.

Where the brakes have got so hot around the ‘Ring lap and the distance I haven’t braked for has been so long that everything has cooled down and reduced in size, so they’ve basically stopped working.

I didn’t brake too late, I’ve got video footage of me braking really early actually but there was absolutely no pedal – I pumped it two times, three times, four times and I just called it really. I’ve got a lot of driving experience and I knew I wasn’t going to stop; I think we got the car down from 160mph to 130mph for a corner where you’re supposed to be doing 40mph and at that point I called it and said that it was my decision on how we were going to go in.

So I just flicked left, flicked right and then put it in backwards across the gravel trap straight into the tyre wall and that saved our lives. If we had gone in forwards, me and my cousin would have been gone; broken our necks, engines on our laps, who knows. Because I put it in backwards it’s written the car off but we’ve both got out with scratches and bruises.

Adnan: Has something like this affected your confidence going into the season?

Liam: Look at it from a driver’s point of view, the only time it’ll ever knock your confidence is if you know you’ve messed up. I know that there was no mistake, it’s an unexpected situation – maybe if I had a lot more experience around there I would have known about the brake fade before – it caught me out and maybe stupidity taking a roadcar to the track? It’s not knocked my confidence.

You don’t get fear through crashes, you get fear through why you crash. I even went to the point of getting the car into control and setting us up to crash. It’s massively knocked my ego but it happens and I’ve gotta get on with it.

Adnan: So going into the season, what would be the ideal end result?

Liam: America is a massive thing for me; for promotional and making my brand and name bigger. But the only dream I haven’t actually met now is to win the European Championship. People say, why would you want to carry on doing that? It’s because it’s been my passion since I was a child – I followed my Dad [Pat Doran] around doing it and it was always his dream to win it and since then it’s been my dream to win it.

I know I can, I know my team can and I’m at the level where I need to stamp my authority and say “I’m gonna win this now” and unlucky to everyone else that’s trying!

About Adnan

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of motoring website, Car Throttle, Adnan is an economics graduate from University College London and was Virgin Media’s “Pioneer of the Week” in December 2011. Adnan is passionate about performance cars and is successfully building a community of young automotive enthusiasts.

Photo credits: Adnan Ebrahim, Rich Sams Photography.