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zappiachutes

The fourth round of the WA Summer Slam Series saw a heart-stopping finish on Saturday at Perth Motorplex as veteran racer John Zappia’s braking parachutes failed at over 400kmh.


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Zappia had just completed a 5.70sec. final round run and deployed his parachutes only to have them separate from the car, leaving him unable to stop the car before the end of the braking area. He went into the emergency sand trap still travelling at high speed, where he thankfully stepped out unhurt.

“I felt the chutes hit initially and then felt them leave the car,” he said. “I got on to the brake to started pulling it up and I let the clutch out to let the motor turn over. Before I knew it I was out of bitumen and into the sand. When the dust cleared I was only about 20 metres away from the catch net. The sand worked exactly how it was supposed to and washed the speed off very fast. I didn’t have a scratch or bruise on me.”

Damage to the car was fortunately limited to the front end bodywork, which Zappia will repair in time for the next round of the series at the Westernationals in just over three weeks.

Check out the wild on board video below, and below that is the video from Perth Motorplex of the chutes coming off the car.