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Japan's Costliest Road Crash ruined $4 million worth supercars

Eight Ferraris and a Lamborghini — plus a Toyota Prius — were among the 
vehicles involved in the crash.
Eight Ferraris and a Lamborghini — plus a Toyota Prius — were among the vehicles involved in the crash. Photo courtesy: AFP

On 05 December’11, World witnessed what is believed to be Japan's most expensive road accident ever, with $4 million-worth of supercars ending up in a crumpled heap. The accident happened along the Chugoku Expressway in the southern part of the Yamaguchi Prefecture near Shimonoseki, Honshu while they were heading towards the supercar meet-up in Hiroshima. The crash involved 14 vehicles including 8 Ferraris, a Lamborghini, and a Toyota Prius. The debris was spread over 400 metres along the highway. No casualties from the crash were reported.

Factors contributing to the crash

Speed: Multiple sources and eyewitnesses confirmed that the cars were speeding with a speed approximately "140-160 kilometers per hour". The speed limit on that section of the highway was 80 kilometres per hour.

Weather: Witnesses described the road as slick, but local weather reports indicate it wasn't raining.

The Road: Chugoku Expressway is a winding toll road that connects Honshu to Fukouka. The road narrows into a long and tight two-lane section with almost no shoulder which could make the stretch quite tight.

RWD Sports Cars/Exotics: Fast, RWD sports cars are not always easy to drive and a few of them are old enough that they lack more advanced traction-control systems. This is one of the reasons why there are so many wrecked exotics.

Traffic: On the morning of the crash there were other vehicles on the road increasing the traffic density.

Road map to the accident site.
Road map to the accident site.
How the crash happened

Combining all the reports from various sources, the accident is expected to have happened as follows:

The drivers of the Ferraris were lined up with one another as driving in "couples" when they rounded the Chugoku. Most of the Ferrari drivers didn't know each other and instead organized the drive on the Internet.

The lead driver was the Ferrari F430 Scuderia, which was driven by a 60-year-old businessman from Fukuoka. He came across a slower moving car (probably the Prius) and attempted to pass. While doing so he spun out. "The front car crashed into the left embankment and bounced off towards me.", an eyewitness reported. Driving in such close formation the cars behind him all reacted, but their proximity created a chain reaction. The white Ferrari 512 hit the back of the black Mercedes and crashed into the guardrail. The other F430 in the group managed to avoid the accident but the two red Ferraris (an F355 and a F360) behind weren't so lucky. Then the next Ferrari F355, attempting to avoid the accident, also crashed into the guard rail. Other cars did the same until there were a total of 14 damaged, including a pair of bystanders in Toyotas who had nothing to do with the convoy.

4 wheel breakdown - supercars traveling in parallel ends up into a chain!
4 wheel breakdown - supercars traveling in parallel ends up into a chain! Photo courtesy: AFP

Rarely do we see such accidents where the loss is only of money. Hurry is not gonna take us anywhere except close to unfortunate disasters. The thrill of adrenaline last for few minutes but the repercussions last for ever!

I would say 'Better safe then sorry', what would you say? Share your views below.


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