Driver ‘made it to work’ after this 240km/h wreck

There are few who can claim to live at the foot of a race track, let alone one of the most well-known circuits in the world.

That’s the reality for resident Bathurst revhead Brad Schumacher, who grew up idolizing Peter Brock and The Mountain he can now call home.

Schumacher spent his childhood just two kilometers from the circuit he adored, Mount Panorama. However, he didn’t start racing until his late 20s.

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A second-generation electrician, his business exploits funded his start in the sport which began with karts and quickly progressed into cars.

Soon enough, he was racing at the circuit he once sat on from the sidelines watching his V8 idols.

It has, however, been a bit of a one-sided relationship. As he discovered, The Mountain wasn’t Schumacher’s friend, to begin with.

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In 2018, while competing in a club event, a crash behind the wheel of a Lotus Exige at 240km/h threatened to take his life.

Looking at the wreckage, he was hard to believe that he could have walked away.

It left him heavily bruised and with a torn tendon in his knee and another small tear in his liver.

“It was huge. I’m lucky to live, and I walked away from it,” Schumacher told Wide World of Sports.

“The thing with Mount Panorama is that it doesn’t take any prisoners. Anywhere on the circuit that something goes wrong or a driver makes a mistake, the consequences are detrimental.

“On the last session of the day, just into the braking zone, I hit the brakes and the car just erratically lost the rear end and headed into the right-hand-side wall.

“It was a section of the wall that goes into a property, so it basically had a head-on at 240km/h. I remember the entire thing. It happened so quickly that there was nothing I could do.

“Our data logger reported back an impact of 58g. So the car hit the wall, flipped, and ended up on the outside wall where the tire bundles are.

“Fortunately, I walked away. I got out of the car on my own two feet, got to medical, was released, and didn’t have to go to the hospital.

“That was Sunday, and I made it to work on Monday.”

It was later discovered a left rear rotor had failed and caused the brakes to jam, spearing him across the road at the second fastest point on the circuit.

Obviously, it was no deterrent for Schumacher, who continued to race there and later bought a section of land to build a house next to the circuit.

“Now, I live on Mount Panorama because I love Bathurst,” the 35-year-old explained, who moved in 2020.

“I don’t picture myself residing full-time anywhere else. I love Bathurst as a place to live and the people here and I love Mount Panorama.

“It’s an amazing view from my house up over Bathurst from where I am. I can’t get enough of it. I couldn’t be happy.

“For me, it’s like the Vaucluse of Bathurst. That’s the best way to explain it. I’m very happy to be residing where I am out in Bathurst.”

Schumacher’s devotion eventually paid dividends.

Three years after his crash, and despite flirting with death once again when he spun at 250km/h down Conrod Straight after a tire exploded, he won his class in GT World Challenge Australia.

“I’ve been fortunate to race across circuits all over Australia and there’s no doubt that Bathurst is by far my favorite circuit to race at,” he added.

“The feeling you get as a driver when you get it right is honestly better than sex. It’s just hard not to go back again and again after something like that.

“I’m really glad that I did because I’ve had so much success since then that it’s well and truly outweighed that disastrous incident.”

If you’ve made it this far, and have any semblance of interest in motorsport, you’re probably wondering about the name.

It’s one that every Formula 1 fan will know, but the name and sport are where the similarities stop.

While the Bathurst-born driver bears the iconic surname, as far as he’s aware, he’s no relation to the great Michael.

It has, at times, been to his benefit though.

“It’s spell exactly the same,” said the electrician.

“I have people asking me all the time. The truth of the matter is, I’ve never met Michael Schumacher or his close family.

“There are not a lot of Schumachers in Australia and we did descend from Germany. So, potentially there’s a distant relation, but nobody in my close family has completed a family tree to work it out. I’m happy to claim it if anyone will believe it.

“It’s actually funny. I’ve been all over Europe and in particular Germany a few times. It’s like royalty over there.

“You book into a hotel under the name ‘Schumacher’ and when you get there they’re like ‘We can’t wait to see you’ and ask if you’re related and are like ‘We’ve upgraded your room’ all that kind of stuff.”

Now, just a few years into his racing journey, Schumacher finds himself on the brink of a big scalp.

Having nearly won the Bathurst 12 Hour this year with South Africa’s Kelvin van der Linder and Nathanael Berthon of France, Schumacher is keen to make amends for a basic mistake.

Limits are enforced on how long a driver can be in the car. Schumacher exceeded his threshold, which resulted in a pit lane penalty and their chance to win was gone.

Come November 11-13, he’ll contest the Bathurst International and the final endurance round of GT World Challenge Australia where he’ll hope to redeem himself.

“It’s important for us to perform well at this race to hopefully clinch a championship, but to also fly the flag for Audi after we performed so well at the Bathurst 12 Hour but just fell to bad luck with exceeding our driving time,” said Schumacher , who sits second in the standings.

“I, as the amateur, was left in the car too long and therefore gave us a pit stop penalty which ultimately cost us the race.

“It would be nice to get back and take back some glory hopefully, but we’re happy with any result, as we all know, Bathurst can throw anything at you at any time.”

GT World Challenge Australia will take in a single, three-hour endurance race at Mount Panorama as part of the SpeedSeries season finale.

Schumacher will be joined by Supercars driver Tim Slade in an Audi R8 LMS GT3.

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